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A Brazilian Dream

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A Brazilian Dream

What do patience, leadership, frustration, persistence, delegation, organization, apprehension and trust have in common?  They are all characteristics of every student’s favorite assignment: group projects.  A group of eleven students are teamed up to present a business plan on Brazil, a country most of them are none too familiar with.  Initially many of these team members talk a good game but as the semester progresses it is quickly learned whose slack will have to be made up.  The biggest obstacle faced was participation and was not easily overcome. Excuses are a dime a dozen and fall on deaf ears when everyone has a life outside of Texas Wesleyan University. This experience taught us invaluable lessons about how to approach and tackle group projects in the future and how to address issues that appeared early on in the research process, which should have been vocalized and instead were ignored until the last minute. Communication was not something that was utilized by many within the team, and it is something that is a main ingredient to any recipe for success.  My confidence in most of my fellow students has decreased since the middle of August.  I found that I gravitated towards people similar to myself, the students who were key factors in the success of the presentation.  These are the movers and shakers of this university, the students that care about work ethic, good grades, and strive for a bright, opportunistic future.

        Brazil is a country full of culture and diversity. It contains a large population slightly fewer than two hundred million people in 2013 according to the World Bank Group.  Out of those two hundred million, 55% of the population identify as Caucasian, 38% are ‘mestizo’ which is a person of mixed race typically of Amerindian and European descent and the remaining 7% are comprised of Asian, Amerindian and Black.  The official language spoken by most of the country is Portuguese and is an important part of the culture since Brazil is one of the only Latin American countries that speak this language ("Brazilian population 2013”, 2013).          The country is similar to the United States structurally; it is comprised of twenty-six states and is currently being presided over by Dilma Rousseff.   Religions primarily consist of Catholicism, and Protestant.  The demographics cause little to no disruption in a firm operating in this country, unlike more of the political or legal issues surrounding Brazil.  American based firms should take note the strong focus Brazilians place on building relationships.  “Everything isn’t all business, even during meetings, where the ability to discuss popular topics such as soccer, literature, culture or your hometown is very useful to ‘break the ice’.” (James, 2011).  Failing to understand and relate to the natives in a foreign country can lead to the collapse of a good business plan.  One thing Americans do well is assuming that other countries and their cultures are much like their own.  These assumptions are hard to recover from if trust and understanding are not established initially with Brazilians.

Getting a company up and running in this country is not an easy feat. According to data from the World Bank, Brazil ranks 118 out of 189 countries in relation to the overall ease of doing business which includes rankings on start-up, construction permits, payment of taxes, trade and registration regulations with federal and state agencies (World Bank Group, n.d.).  There are a couple factors that contribute greatly to this ranking that puts Brazil in the lower percentile; overall time that is invested to ensure an organization is operating legitimately, heavy regulation within the private sector, and lastly labor regulations that carry repercussions if not followed appropriately.

The World Bank estimates that it takes around three and a half to four months to get registered and proper documentation in Brazil but can take up to five to six months to complete a 13-17  step process.  This is mostly in part to filing requirements that are spread out over the federal and state levels which draws out and complicates the process (Nair, 2011).  

To get an idea of how drawn out some procedures are, Brazilian firms spend around twenty-six hundred hours preparing and files its taxes, where a Mexican firm spends over six times less at a mere four-hundred hours (Nair, 2011).  It is recommended that a Brazilian attorney be involved if the company is not Brazilian based, it is more costly but ensures that forms are correctly submitted so time is not wasted.  The fees for permits and licenses cost around $2,000 U.S. dollars which in today’s time equates to two and half times that in Brazilian reals (World Bank Group, n.d).   Due to regulation both at the state and federal levels, this contributes to the cost as well as the amount of time expected to acquire the necessary documentation.

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