The businesses, which completed the programme's enterprise training modules over the past year, received their 'Seal' awards at special presentations in Macaé (Rio de Janeiro) and Vila Velha (Espírito Santo). The events also provided the opportunity to provide funding awards totalling US $11,520 to six outstanding start-ups selected by an expert panel of judges, and two enterprises chosen by the public.

Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora encourages and supports entrepreneurs of any age to develop sustainable business opportunities in the oil and gas industry in Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo states, where the industry – including Shell – is most active.

In order to achieve the 'Sustainable Development Seal', the entrepreneurs had to successfully complete the 12 month Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora enterprise development programme. The entrepreneurs must also demonstrate that they have built sustainable principles into their business models, including: respect for the environment; socially responsible practices; and, ethical business operations.

By receiving the programme's Seal certification, each of the entrepreneurs has demonstrated that they have an economically viable business model and that their companies are environmentally and socially responsible.

The 31 new businesses will now join the programme's Sustainable Enterprise Network which represents a huge opportunity for the new entrepreneurs to benefit from the knowledge, expertise and contacts of the existing business members, as they seek to establish themselves in the marketplace. They will also receive support to develop their businesses in the form of access to capital and in approaching various stakeholders.

In Macaé, the top Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora award of US $2,300 went to Gustavo Ribeiro and Juliana Barcelos, whose company IDEA Petroleum, provides innovative and integrated solutions for the Oil & Gas industry, focusing on training and consultancy. Élida Ribeiro received the runner-up award of US $1,700 for her visual communications agency, Élida Bodart. The third place award of US $1,200 went to Fabiana Kopper and Keilla Boehler of engineering consultancy, HOFEN Consulting Engineering Ltd.

Anderson Souza, whose company, Inffinity, specializes in providing staff ID badges and employee access control cards, won the main award of US $2,300 at the Vila Velha event. Second place and US $1,700 was awarded to Mônica Boiteux and Jud Mattos. Their company, Identidade Capixaba, creates illustrations to celebrate the cultural diversity of Espirito Santo state. Rafael Destefani collected US $1,200 for his filming and photography drone company, Vixfly Aerial Images.

Two businesses each received an award of US $560 after winning the most votes from the public at their respective events. In Macaé, the winner of the public vote was Marcela Botteri, whose company, Natureba Cooking Fit, specializes in producing healthy sweets. Meanwhile in Vila Velha, the public vote was won by Allessandra Bernini who produces a range of handmade crafts, including souvenirs, invitations, notebooks and briefcases. Allessandra also gives workshops in partnership with teachers, to disseminate craft techniques and provide income opportunities within the local community.

Commenting on his award, and reflecting the feelings of all of the winners, Anderson Souza of Inffinity said, "Winning the Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora award is the best feeling. After much work, and overcoming many obstacles, the prize is ours. I would like to thank everyone who directly, or indirectly, contributed to this achievement."

Leise Duarte of Shell Brasil Social Investments and Programme Manager for Shell LiveWIRE in Brazil, said, "It's a great honour for Shell to present 31 sustainable seals to Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora participants. It confirms that the programme is achieving its goal of disseminating sustainable development practices among local entrepreneurs and thereby fostering the growth of fair social and economic relations in the region.”