In order to encourage economic and social growth in the municipality of Bento Gonçalves, 109 kilometers away from Porto Alegre, capital of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, by means of an increased tourist flow and the valuation of trade, 34 businessmen will learn English.
English language learning turned to customer service is part of a project called 'Viva Bento' (Long Live Bento), which intends to bring businessmen in the are a series of new qualifications.
The plan kicked off last week, at the head office of the Chamber of Store Managers (CDL) in Bento Gonçalves. The 'Viva Bento' group is supported by the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) in Rio Grande do Sul, by means of project 'Points of Sale in the Trade Hub of the Rio Grande do Sul Mountain Range.'
Sebrae is working in partnership with the Center of Industry, Trade and Services em parceria com o Center for Industry, Commerce and Services (CIC), other organizations and teaching institutions.
The first class, which counts on 12 students, is already full. A new group of 13 businessmen will be able to engage in the activities further on. In all, there should be 32 class-hours, divided into weekly two-hour meetings, for each of the two student groups. The date of the first class for the second group has not yet been defined.
Partnering owner at Globo Moda Homem, Zélia Maria Santos, has very high expectations regarding the classes. "We are conducting an in-depth exploration of the tourism issue, and we need to bring that into our commercial establishments. To that extent, speaking another language is essential, so as to provide tourists with special services and, consequently, increase our sales," she explains.
According to Noeli, forecasts for the months to follow include classes in other languages. "We started out with English because it is the most widely used language among foreign customers visiting the Rio Grande do Sul Mountain Range. However, we already have plans of teaching Spanish lessons to the group," she asserts.
In addition to language training, the group should invest in improving the physical structure of its enterprises in 2008. In order to do so, recently they visited Florida Street, a trade center that is a reference in terms of commerce in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.
The actions carried out by businessmen and the government aim to highlight the culture of the region and to revitalize Via Del Vino, the main trade spot in Bento Gonçalves.