Brazil-Ireland Chamber of Commerce launches to strengthen commercial relations

Fernanda Hermanson with Ambassador Marcel Biato

New report shows 1,300+ Brazilian owned businesses now operate in Ireland generating €99m in annual revenue – and 82.4% of Brazilian entrepreneurs in Ireland are female



30 March 2023

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A new Brazil-Ireland Chamber of Commerce has been unveiled to create a business network with the aim of strengthening commercial relations between Brazil and Ireland.

With approximately 70,000 Brazilian nationals now living in Ireland, a 513% increase since 2016’s figure of 13,640, the aim of the organisation is to promote trade between the two countries and act as a first point of contact for Brazilian owned companies based in Ireland, Irish companies keen to expand to Brazil and Brazilian companies interested in exporting to Ireland.

The move comes as a new report shows that there are now approximately 1,330+ Brazilian owned businesses in Ireland generating an annual revenue of €99m+. This figure is estimated to rise to €199m+ by 2025. The existing businesses employ 2,200+ people, and with 81.4% of the companies expecting to hire employees in the next three years, the report states this figure could rise to 6,500+ by 2025. The research also reveals that 82.4% of the 1,300 Brazilian businesses in Ireland are female led and that most of the entrepreneurs came to Ireland to improve their English (62%).

Conducted by Unleashe, a business consultancy firm specialising in supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, the report states that Brazilian entrepreneurs say their main issue is understanding local legislation related to the running of their business (51.8%) while the topic of business formalisation was the second issue encountered, with 45.1% finding it very or extremely challenging. In contrast, discrimination, visa, cultural differences and language were considered only slightly or not challenging at all.

When asked if they received support from entrepreneurial support institutions, over 83% said they did not engage with any organisation. Out of these, about half (50.6%) say they did not look for or never needed help, while 28.2% did not know how to find help or did not know any organisation that provides support.

Role of the Chamber of Commerce

To address these issues, the new Brazil-Ireland Chamber of Commerce will support members with the information required to set up and run businesses in the two countries. It will also offer best practice information and support on a range of topics such as customs, financing, accountancy, tax, business laws, grants, property leasing, and sales and branding strategies. In addition, the organisation will act as a political advocate to encourage change in laws and policies to positively impact the climate for business and drive economic growth.

The Brazil-Ireland Chamber of Commerce will also create and run a series of events each year for members including:

  • An annual Brazil Showcase where companies from various sectors can highlight their products and services
  • A bi-monthly ‘Early-Stagers’ meetup between early-stage entrepreneurs and senior business owners to share knowledge and industry insights
  • A Business Roundtable every three months on key issues affecting Brazilian-Irish businesses
  • A Leaders’ Brunch twice a year that is aimed at strengthening business relations between the two countries.

Key organisations involved in the chamber include the Embassy of Brazil in Dublin, Unleashe and Apex-Brasil. Apex-Brasil works to promote Brazilian products abroad and attract foreign investment to strategic sectors, currently supporting around 15,000 companies in approximately 90 sectors of the Brazilian economy. Between 2019 and 2022, the organisation served more than 800 investors and more that 120 projects worth €26.7 billion in investments announced in Brazil.

Value of imports and exports

The latest CSO figures show that total imports from Brazil to Ireland for 2022 were valued at €444 million, and the total exports from Ireland to Brazil were valued to Brazil worth €367 million. The top three imports from Brazil consisted of cereal and cereal preparations (€162m), vegetables and fruit (€76m) and metalliferous ores and metal scrap (€69m). The top three exports to Brazil consisted of Medicinal and pharmaceutical products (€147m), office machines and automatic data processing equipment (€51m) and essential oils, perfume materials and toilet preparations (€32.8m).

“We believe that by creating a network through the Brazil Ireland Chamber of Commerce, we can provide a solid foundation for businesses to grow, perpetuate and prosper,” said Fernanda Hermanson, founder of Unleashe, and the president of the Brazil Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

Ambassador of Brazil to Ireland, H.E. Mr Marcel Biato, also welcomed the new Chamber of Commerce as “a pioneering initiative that unites Brazilian talent and dynamism with the successful Irish model of doing business and fostering innovation. As a result, it generates excellent prospects for trade and investment between the two countries”.

AT A GLANCE: Other key statistics in the Unleashe research shows that:

  • Over one quarter (25.8%) of Brazilian businesses in Ireland are Manufacturing related, predominantly in the bakery and food products sector. This is closely followed by ‘Other Service Activities’ (24.5%) which includes physical well-being activities, hairdressing and other beauty treatments. Businesses in ‘Human Health and Social Work Activities’ account for 9.8% and this includes medical and dental practice activities, residential care, child day-care and social work.
  • Over 96% of Brazilian businesses operating in Ireland fall into the micro enterprises category, while 3.6% are considered small businesses and 0.3% are classified as medium sized. One third (66.3%) of the surveyed Brazilian-owned businesses have no employees, and another 20.6% employ between 1-3 people.
  • Over three quarters (76.5%) of those surveyed lived in Brazil’s South East and South region before moving to Ireland. 44.8% of the respondents are from São Paulo, followed by 8.2% from Rio de Janeiro. In Ireland, a vast majority (68.3%) are living in Dublin, while 5.6% live in Cork, and 4.6% live in Kildare.


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