The businesses, which completed the programmes’ enterprise training modules during 2017, are receiving their ‘Seal’ awards at special presentations in Rio de Janeiro, Macaé, and Vila Velha on the 18th, 23rd, and 30th of January respectively. By receiving the ‘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.

Of the 90 start-ups to receive the ‘Seal’, 43 were supported by Shell Iniciativa Jovem, the Shell LiveWIRE programme operating in Rio de Janeiro, while 47 benefited from its sister programme, Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora, which encourages and supports entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business opportunities in the oil and gas industry in Rio de Janeiro (Macaé), and Espírito Santo (Vila Velha) states, where the industry – including Shell – is most active.

In order to achieve the ‘Sustainable Development Seal’, the entrepreneurs had to successfully complete the programmes’ eight-month enterprise development training modules. These included small business workshops, coaching and mentoring sessions to enable the participants to research their business and produce a viable business model. Also, a business fair organised by the programmes, enabled participants to perfect their pitching and presentation skills, which is vital in developing market opportunities and in securing investment.

Sustainable practices

The entrepreneurs had to demonstrate that they have built sustainable principles into their business models, including: respect for the environment; socially responsible practices; and, ethical business operations. Each of the entrepreneurs presented their business model to a panel of sustainability experts, who had the final say in who receives the ‘Seal’.

The ‘Seal’ is an important accolade for the businesses, as it’s recognised by local markets and makes it easier for new businesses to enter the market and build strong partnerships.

The 90 start-ups, which cover a wide range of business sectors ranging from nanotechnology to sustainable fashion will now join the programmes’ Sustainable Enterprise Network which comprises over 300 alumni. Membership of the network represents a huge opportunity for the new entrepreneurs to benefit from the knowledge, expertise and contacts of the existing alumni, as they seek to establish themselves in the marketplace. As new members of the network, they will be audited each year to enable them to develop their businesses in line with best practice.

One of the entrepreneurs supported by the programme is Rafael Bokor whose business, ‘Rio – Casas & Prédios Antigos’, aims to create a living archive of Rio’s architectural heritage through pictures, stories and lectures, said, “Shell Iniciativa Jovem enabled me to enhance the social, ethical and sustainable practices of my business.”

Another entrepreneur Leila Pinho, whose business, ‘Na Mosca Midias Sociais’, provides digital solutions for social media, is also thankful for the support she received from Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora, saying, “I’ve learned so much! I’ll take all the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired from the Shell Iniciativa Empreendedora and apply it for the rest of my life.”

Commenting on the seal awards, Pâmella De-Cnop, Social Performance Manager, Shell Brazil, said, “The record number of sealed businesses reflects the evolution and impact achieved by the programme. Shell is very proud to have supported a new wave of sustainable start-ups that will have a positive impact on our society.

“The creation of new markets, new jobs and the spread of the sustainability concept will be facilitated by the energy and drive of these young LiveWIRE entrepreneurs, who will go on to achieve even greater success in their respective markets.”