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Joaquim Cartaxo (Sebrae/CE): An infinite asset

18:34 15 de November de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica

Joaquim Cartaxo, Superintendent Director of Sebrae/CE

With the objective of contributing to the development of creative businesses and increasingly expanding the participation of this segment in the generation of employment and income, the nine state units of Sebrae in the Northeast region, in partnership with Sebrae Nacional and the Brazilian Association of State Sebraes /Northeast (Abase/NE), lead the Northeast Regional Project of the Creative Economy Value Chain. In this interview, Joaquim Cartaxo, Superintendent Director of Sebrae/CE, details the initiative’s actions and explains why Ceará’s Creative Economy is an excellent investment opportunity.

How is Ceará positioned within the Creative Economy Value Chain?
Worldwide, in recent years, the Creative Economy is one of the fastest growing sectors. Today, it accounts for between 3% to 7% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Brazil, it is also a prominent sector of the economy, which brings together a very wide range of economic activities, ranging from cultural heritage and popular festivals to the development of electronic games and software. But it is also a segment still very marked by informality, where, often, its main actors do not see themselves as economic agents. And Ceará is inserted in this context of the Northeast Region, which presents itself as a center of this creative and cultural potential for its multiplicity of manifestations. Within this creative melting pot, Ceará is a regional reference, both for the strength of its various economic segments that are part of the Creative Economy, as well as for the intersection of a good part of these creative segments with the Tourism sector, where Ceará also has an outstanding performance at the national level.

What are the sectors of Creative Economy with the greatest potential in Ceará and why?
Ceará has a very wide range of creative activities being developed and contributing to the generation of employment and income throughout the territory. But as a highlight I can mention some activities where the State already has a strong tradition, such as Fashion, Handcrafts and Gastronomy, mainly in the association of these activities with tourism. On the other hand, the participation of new creative economic segments is also growing significantly in Ceará, such as startups and games development companies. Two areas in which Sebrae/CE has been strongly contributing for the promotion and development of business. Another creative segment that has been growing in the state is Design. It is no wonder that the city of Fortaleza was chosen in 2019, to join the Network of Creative Cities of Unesco, as Creative City of Design. This choice was the result of all the work developed by several public and private institutions, such as Sebrae/CE and the Fortaleza City Hall. Still as an example of the strength of Ceará’s Design, I can cite the example of the designer Leo Ferreiro, who was supported by Sebrae/CE through a public edict. A chair developed by him won national awards such as the MCB Design Award (2021), promoted by the Museu da Casa Brasileira, and the Brasil Design Award 2021. And now, he is competing in one of the most important design awards in the world, which is the IF Award 2023, to be held in Germany.

What are the main goals of the Northeast Regional Project of the Creative Economy Value Chain?
This project is an integrated and collaborative action of the region’s nine state Sebrae units, in partnership with the National Sebrae and the Brazilian Association of State Sebraes/Northeast (Abase/NE), aiming to contribute to the development of creative businesses, in order to increasingly expand the participation of this segment in the generation of employment and income. For this, we work to enhance the ecosystem of the value chain of the Creative Economy in the Northeast region, stimulating a favorable environment for digital transformation and entrepreneurial sustainability of creative businesses through qualification in management, innovation and access to new markets.

What are the main actions that encompass the Project in Ceará?
The Sebrae Creative Economy project in Ceará has a very broad scope, which is segmented into four large groups of actions, divided into the areas of Environment, Management, Innovation and Marketing. In the environment area, we develop actions to promote public policies that favor the generation of Creative Economy business and the associated production of these segments with tourism, through the qualification of entrepreneurs and promotion of good practices in the territories of the Northeast region. It is in the area of ​​management that trainings are included, which aim to increase the competitiveness of creative businesses. In them, we work on activities and skills related to business management, such as pricing, entrepreneurship, associativism, finance, marketing, among other knowledge, important for those who develop entrepreneurial activity. In the area of ​​Innovation, we seek to support these creative businesses in promoting and providing access to innovation, with the launch of public notices to encourage creative entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into businesses, that is, helping to strengthen the creative process as a competitive and sustainable business. We also encourage the inclusion of Creative Economy sectors in innovation programs. Finally, in the marketing area, this is where we work on the commercialization of creative products or services, based on the promotion of preparatory actions for access to new markets for creative entrepreneurs. We also support the dissemination and production of goods and services from the various segments of the Creative Economy in the Northeast region and creative territories, through commercial promotion tools such as shows, business meetings and exhibitions.

What is your assessment of these actions?
I consider them to be extremely positive. A great indicator of this is the renewal of this project by National Sebrae, for another two years. In this first edition, the project enabled the opportunity to place the theme of Creative Economy among the priorities of Sebrae/CE. Before, this theme was carried out occasionally, in a fragmented way, related to creative sectors that were already more organized, such as Music, Craftsmanship, Audiovisual, among others. With this project, we could establish oriented and articulated actions to strengthen the creative businesses in all the regions of Ceará. One of the fruits of this work was the launch of a Call for Proposals to support creative businesses in the state, which allocated a total amount of 280 million Reals (about 52.8 million dollars) to support 28 selected projects. Moreover, an important partnership between Sebrae and the British Council enabled the training of creative and social entrepreneurs from vulnerable groups in the cities of Fortaleza, Juazeiro do Norte and Sobral. I also mention as an initiative of this project, the survey and analysis done on the approaches and experiences in the Sebrae Northeast for the development of creative territories, in order to align the most effective approach method to be adopted in the states. After this analysis, a training session was held for the managers of the Creative Economy of the Northeastern Sebraes, which also resulted in the publication of the book Creative Territories – Paths to an effective practice. A survey of data and information was also carried out to study the Creative Economy productive chain in the State of Ceara. Through this work, an analysis was made of the development of the Creative Economy sectors over the past 20 years. This variety of activities gives a little of the dimension of the impact of the Sebrae Project on the entire productive chain of the State’s Creative Economy.

What are the biggest challenges of the Creative Industry in Ceará?
I believe that the challenges of the creative industry in Ceará are the same as in other places. Ceará is a state that has a great creative potential, and we can add to this the existence of a whole environment that has been constituted in the region, especially to stimulate innovation and creativity. What we lack, as in other places, is to transform this potential and this creativity into creative business, because when we talk about the Creative Economy, we are necessarily talking about the generation of business. And that is where Sebrae comes in, trying to help these creative professionals to also see themselves as entrepreneurs, capable of transforming their creative craft into a competitive and economically sustainable business.

What would you say to potential investors in the sector as a way to attract them to Ceará?
First of all, I would say that to bet on the Creative Economy is to bet on a segment that has as raw material an infinite asset, which is the human capacity to create, to transpose ideas. By itself, this says a lot about the potential of the Creative Economy, which is pointed out by many scholars as the Economy of the 21st century. And Ceará, besides being this great source of creativity, which hosts countless artistic-cultural manifestations and a wide range of professionals who work in activities related to the Creative Economy, is also a State that has sought, through various actions of the government and institutions such as Sebrae to build a favorable environment for the development of this creative and innovative business, see for example, the Data HUB, with the international fiber optic submarine cables, which, together with the Digital Belt, place the state in a privileged situation regarding connectivity and innovation.