Recife is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Brazil and the capital of Pernambuco, a state in the northeast of the country. The city clings to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and is known among Brazilians as a top destination for holiday. But increasingly that’s not all Recife is known for – it’s also becoming a start-up hub, supporting technology innovators of all kinds, including socially-minded ones.
Recognizing this, eBay Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) chose Recife as the location for the first of two events focused on technology for the base of the pyramid in Brazil. The program focused on technology-centered business ideas that serve and positively impact the country’s low-income community and, more specifically, how to spur even more innovation of that nature. In a country with tens of millions living below the World Bank’s national poverty line and some of the highest income inequality in the world, new ideas and approaches to creating economic opportunity are clearly needed.
The event featured a diverse set of partners and like-minded organizations from around the country and the world. Grameen Foundation, a strategic partner of eBay Foundation, provided a broader view of how technology is already being applied in innovative ways to ignite opportunity for base of the pyramid populations around the globe. VOX Capital, Brazil’s leading impact investing venture capital firm, outlined the latest demographic and development trends, describing a country at the perfect nexus of need and opportunity. And the Office of Development Policy, part of the Pernambuco state government, and other local institutions shared their work to foster innovation and collaboration in the region, as well as their perspectives about how other players (like eBay Inc.) can help catalyze these efforts and take them to scale.
From these and all the other presenters and participants, we were able to learn about the current landscape of networks and supports, as well as identify challenges and opportunities for impact. And – perhaps most powerful of all – we connected with social entrepreneurs and innovators actively working to harness the power of technology to empower all citizens. We’re already looking forward to the next gathering in São Paulo at the beginning of next year.
As eBay and PayPal continue to grow their presence in Brazil, we’re committed to identifying and pursuing opportunities for social impact through our core business and our Foundation efforts. These events are an important first step in our process – stay tuned as we continue to move forward in Recife and beyond!
(Photo: eBay Inc.)