On November 1st at the Radisson Blu Hotel, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Major Events International (MEI) co-hosted a seminar on the opportunities for Scottish companies in the Brazil major events market and how to overcome some of the inevitable challenges. The event was highly successful with excellent presentations by Deloitte, Selex and Nabas legal. The speakers all demonstrated expertise in their individual specialisations and helped illustrate how small and medium sized companies can succeed with prior planning and preparation, and drawing on the full range of support services available.

major events The scene was set by Brazilian Dr. Sandro Carnicelli, Lecturer in Events Management, University of the West of Scotland who gave a very well summarised overview of the sheer scale and rate of development in Brazil and where there are areas of growth. The overriding message of the presentation was that given the scale of change and the rapid development of the country, Scottish companies have every right to be active in this exciting market. Dr Sandro also led a team of four of his students who gained experience of event management by helping with preparations and management of the seminar.

Dennis Mills, the founder and CEO of MEI then followed with an overview of not only the major events opportunities but also the related wider footprint which presents many opportunities for Scottish companies regardless of size and sector. As MEI has been in Brazil for over two years supporting companies enter the market, he concluded with some top tips to help companies succeed. The key messages were about preparation, an adequate continuous local presence and operating within a full thought-through plan supported by the right experts.

Roger Horwood of Deloitte introduced his section by reminding the attendees of the breadth and depth of Deloitte’s contribution to London 2012 and why they are committed to remain very active in this iconic market, including Scotland and Brazil. He then provided a fascinating tour de force of the key issues to be aware of when selecting the right geographic location within states and municipalities which have different tax rates which can significantly impact on the profitability of companies. He concluded by taking a similar approach to summarising some of the employment issues which new market entrants need to be aware of before recruitment is initiated. Roger had a similar message to other speakers in terms of lessons learned. The need for careful consideration and drawing on expertise may take time, but the risk reduction benefits and optimisation of financial success will be significantly enhanced if done appropriately.

Vitoria Nabas is a London-based Brazilian Lawyer providing support to companies throughout the UK. She gave a summary of the options and issues when forming companies in Brazil and things which must be avoided at all costs if there are not to be serious negative consequences. However, Vitoria’s key message was that entering the Brazil market is complex mainly because it is unfamiliar. She reflected her own experience when she first felt established her business in the UK. She concluded by warning that the UK Bribery Act means that any offers of “fast-track” issues, such as forming a company and submission of tax returns, could have major consequences and must be avoided.

The event was brought to a close by an address by Sir Brian Burridge of Selex, who provided the audience with a brief summary of company capabilities, its 2000 employees in Scotland and the huge reach and scope of capability provided by the company. This includes considerable investment in Research and Development and collaboration with companies in new markets such as Brazil where they have been highly successful in key sectors. Selex will continue to build on the successful delivery of major events such as the Winter Olympics in Turin with the focus now very much on the aspiration to make a significant contribution to the safety and security of Glasgow 2014 and the events in Brazil. During the following Q&A session Sir Brian reflected on the need to operate within teams which is especially important in the enormously high profile major events sector where successful delivery is the only thing which matters.

The attendees expressed their appreciation in the networking and informal one-to-one discussions with the panel of experts which followed. The Chamber and MEI are in discussions about repeating such events for both Brazil and other high growth countries to continue to support SMEs in particular to become more aware of why they can succeed in these export markets. Should you wish to contact the speakers please either contact the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Or MEI at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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