The 2016 edition of Shell Iniciativa Jovem business fair, the Shell LiveWIRE programme in Brazil, attracted a record entry of 60 companies and the young entrepreneurs behind the businesses had an invaluable opportunity to pitch their ideas to over 500 visitors who attended the event.

The three major award winners, selected by an expert panel of judges, were: Noivas na Medida, a personalised slimming and wellbeing programme for brides to be; Tatim Papinhas, a healthy baby food brand; and, Blin, a purveyor of dehydrated snacks. Each of the three top businesses won R $8,000 (US $2,450); R $6,000 (US $1,800); and R $4,000 reais (US $1,200) respectively.

André Araujo, Shell Brasil Country Chair, visited the fair and highlighted the importance of young entrepreneurs in creating a better future, saying, “We can see a new perspective in a generation with so many ideas. Sustainability is made possible by these small businesses that make a difference to change the mentality in their spheres of influence.”

Celebrating its 16th edition, the annual fair aims to create business opportunities and promote interaction between entrepreneurs, investors and incubators. The programme also helps entrepreneurs with networking and the opportunity to work collaboratively and develop partnerships.

Commenting on the impact of Shell Iniciativa Jovem on her business, award winning entrepreneur, Marcela Paim, founder of Noivas na Medida, said, “I was working on the business for a few years, but I realised I needed to improve my business management skills. I am a physiotherapist and did not have that expertise.

“The skills and contacts I have developed through the programme are expanding and enriching the possibilities for my business.”

The judges selected five other companies to each receive start-up awards funding of R $2,500 reais (US $750) and these included: Nutrenato, makers of healthy isotonic drinks; Priscila Locações, events equipment hire; Plataforma Design, graphic design consultancy; Parents Like Me Brasil, a collaborative online child health platform; and, eco-friendly fashion accessories brand, Ecool.

A special award, voted for by the public, of R $2,000 reais (US $600) went to digital marketing agency Agência QI.

Speaking at the event, Glauco Paiva, External Relations Manager of Shell Brasil, said, “In 2016 we had more than 700 registered projects, and in the past five years, enterprises that have been supported by Shell Iniciativa Jovem have generated 650 jobs.

“These numbers show that the programme really changes people’s lives for the better and that is a great source of pride for Shell.”