The Brazilian government intends to introduce 5,200 micro and small businesses in international trade by 2010, according to information from the government department in charge of supporting the segment.
"The goal is to increase the number of companies in the segment, which currently answer to 2.4% of total exports from Brazil," said Marta Campêlo, foreign trade consultant of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) in the state of Ceará.
Out of 3 million exporting companies in Brazil, less than 13,000 are micro and small businesses, according to the Sebrae, which is developing a program for the sector.
A survey commissioned by the Foreign Trade Studies center Foundation (Funcex) shows that the South and Southeast regions of Brazil concentrate 95% of micro and small exporting companies, with 82% of the total sales value. The state of São Paulo ranks first with 47%, followed by Rio Grande do Sul (16.2%) and Minas Gerais (8.6%).
In the Northeast, the states of Ceará and Bahia respectively answer to 1.4% and 1.2% of total foreign sales, according to the survey, which is based on data collected from 1998 to 2006, whereas in the North, the state of Pará answers to 1.9% of total exports.
The goal of the Micro and Small Business Internationalization Program, which is already underway in the states of Rio e Janeiro and Espírito Santo, and now arrives at Ceará, is to increase the segment's share of foreign trade "in a sustainable way."
"By encouraging participation in foreign trade, we are also making the companies more competitive in the domestic market," said Campêlo.
Promoted in partnership with foreign trade organisations, the program includes courses, consultancy in foreign trade and technology, market prospecting in Africa, the United States and Europe, in addition to facilitating the participation of companies in missions, fairs and business roundtables.
"Our main objective is to get to Portuguese language-speaking countries," said Campêlo, who is also the local manager of the program. He explained that the 90 micro and small businesses are expected to receive training in Ceará.
In the state of Ceará, the actions will include the sectors of handicraft, clothing, furniture, graphic arts, packaging, cosmetics, oil and gas, pisciculture, beekeeping, with an expectation of increasing participation in international trade by 10%.
"The rate is in keeping with the federal government's goal of expanding the number of Brazilian exporting companies," said Campêlo.