FAQ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT START-UP BRASIL
Who is entitled to receive grants?

Grants apply to entrepreneurs (founders, co-founders, partners, etc) and professionals who are not formal employees as long as they meet criteria for the grant in question and are fully dedicated to the project. Graduate students can apply as long as they do not receive grants from the educational institution. Individuals who are currently being paid grants cannot receive both (Start-Up Brasil and institution). Employees can participate in the project but will not be eligible for grants.

Are grants valid only for technology professionals? Can professionals of other areas receive grants? What is the criteria for grant approval?

According to the rules (specified in the call for projects and RN-016/2013 by CNPq) professionals can have background education in any area of interest. However, work experience must be related to software development and computer systems or in areas directly related to the innovation process described in the project submitted to the program and CNPq. It is essential to illustrate the importance of the individual for the project / startup innovation process.

Grants apply to professionals with different experience and education. Grant requirements and their amounts are described on the call for projects or here: http://cnpq.br/web/guest/view/-/journal_content/56_INSTANCE_0oED/10157/983903.

What are the amounts to be paid as grants by CNPq to those applicants indicated by Project Coordinator? Do taxes apply?

Individual grants range from R$ 2,500.00 to R$ 8,000.00 per month depending on academic qualification and professional experience. Grants are governed by specific regulation and taxes or fees do not apply, meaning they are paid in full to the grantee with no deductions. The complete grant chart is available on the Call for Proposal available at: http://startupbrasil.mcti.gov.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Call-Startup-Brasil_Apex_ENG_01_2013_vfinal01.pdf

Which documents will be accepted as proof of experience? And education?

CNPq  will accept as proof of professional experience legally binding documents such as formal employment contracts, documents which confirm individual worked as self-employed, with contribution being paid to government (INSS equivalente). DTI and EV grants in Technological and Industrial Development projects can also be used as proof of professional experience. Other documents will be evaluated on a case by case basis. To prove educational titles, it is necessary to have a diploma or a statement from university.

Is the project coordinator eligible to grants?

There is no restriction and the Project coordinator can be considered eligible to grants as long as he or she qualifies according to the criteria set forth in the call for projects and is exclusively dedicated to the project.

Is it necessary to enlist the team members when submitting the proposal?

No. It will be up to the startup coordinator, responsible for submitting the proposal, to sat the names as soon as the coordinator signs the term accepting the financial support. This term will be signed after the startups are selected and they sign a deal with one accelerator. The project may be altered by the startup through the CNPq online platform as about including, excluding or altering the grants to adapt to a new reality, as much as it stays inside the global amount contracted for the project. It is important to notice that these alterations might take at least 30 days to be implemented (be effective). The team members who are to receive grants must have their resumees enlisted at the CNPq platform, and the coordinator must list an action plan for the person (activities to be done alongside the acceleration process).

How much will be granted?

Each startup will be offered up to R$ 200 thousand per year, in the form of scholarships for research and development, granted by CNPq. These scholarships will be awarded to professionals appointed by the startup and monthly amounts will be deposited directly to their bank accounts. In order to be eligible to receive the scholarship, applicants will need to meet the criteria of academic and professional experience specific to the category of the intended scholarship. These criteria are detailed in the public call for startups.

How will grants be applied?

Grant requirements and their amounts are described on the call for projects or here: http://cnpq.br/web/guest/view/-/journal_content/56_INSTANCE_0oED/10157/983903.

After grantee approval, how is grant payment made?

Grants are paid to the grantee via bank deposit in grantees personal and individual bank account in any agency of Bank of Brazil, by the fifth calendar day of the month following that in competence. Not being the holder of an individual bank account at Bank of Brazil, the new grant should inform the agency number/code of Brazil’s Bank of your convenience to receive the tuition grant. If it is necessary to open a new bank account and we recommend grantee resources to those agencies inside university campuses, given their experience in dealing with research grants.

Is there any restriction for grant usage?

Grants are paid to the grantee via bank deposit in grantees personal and individual bank account in any agency of Bank of Brazil, by the fifth calendar day of the month following that in competence. Not being the holder of an individual bank account at Bank of Brazil, the new grant should inform the agency number/code of Brazil’s Bank of your convenience to receive the grant. If it is necessary to open a new bank account and we recommend grantee resources to those agencies inside university campuses, given their experience in dealing with research grants.

The payment of grants will be made by deposit on the grantee bank account. After receiving the grant, there is no restriction on how Money is applied.

How will reporting on grantee’s work take place?

Reporting should be submitted to CNPq within sixty (60) days after the expiration of grantee’s term. This provision will be made by electronic form and shall indicate the performed activities by the grantee during the project.

(Português) Minha startup é brasileira, mas temos sócios ou profissionais estrangeiros. Eles podem receber bolsas? Existe auxílio na concessão de vistos de permanência no país para estes profissionais? (Nacionais)

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EXECUTING INSTITUTION
Who can submit proposals?

Brazilian or foreign companies with up to four (4) years of incorporation, who had developed an innovative solution making use of software, hardware or IT services as a key-component of this solution.

To submit a project as a foreign startup, the entrepreneurs, be them brazilian or foreign, must be legally living in another country for at least three (3) years.

Important: companies who have already firmed an acceleration contract with any of the accelerators qualified for the Start-Up Brasil program, according to Edital MCTI/SEPIN/Start-Up Brasil No 01/2013, or who have already been supported by the Start-Up Brasil program in past editions, are not eligible for this call.

Is it mandatory for companies presenting projects to be IT related companies?

This Call aims at supporting Research, Development and Innovation (R,D&I) projects, designed by non-resident aliens whose business proposals encompass the development of software or the rendering of information technology services. Applicants are also required to formalize their firm intent to set up a business in the Brazilian territory once their projects demonstrate to be technically, economically and financially viable.

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TEAM
Who must submit project as project coordinator?

For international projects, proposals must be submitted by a non-resident alien as project coordinator. Such coordinator will be required to stay in Brazil during acceleration process.

Can the same Project coordinator submit two proposals?

No, each applicant can submit only one proposal. In case two or more applicants submit identical proposals, all such proposals will be disqualified. For the purposes of this Call, “identical proposals” consist of applications which describe the same project.

Can the same professional participate in more than one Project?

Yes, as long as they do not propose 02 (two) projects as project coordinator. Nevertheless such professional will only be able to receive one grant.

(Português) No momento da submissão, quem deverá estar cadastrado na Plataforma Lattes? (Nacionais)

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(Português) FORMULÁRIO DE INSCRIÇÃO E PROPOSTA
(Português) Minha empresa não aparece na lista de Instituições Executoras. Como devo proceder? (Nacionais)

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Is there a maximum or minimum size for the proposal?

There is no restriction on the length of the proposal as long as it covers all mandatory item or selection criteria. Also, the project file shall be created outside the Online Application Form environment, and shall be attached (uploaded) to it in “doc”, “pdf”, “rtf” or “post script” formats, limited to 1Mb (one megabyte). If pictures, graphics, etc, are needed to enforce proposal’s argument, they must not compromise file’s capacity of up to 1Mb (one megabyte).

What should be the content of the proposal?

The proposal, preferably in PDF electronic file format, should contain the project identification, the description for the solution, product or service being developed and the proposed business model, following the nine blocks of the Generation Canvas Business Model methodology. It should also contain the stage of the solution’s development, i.e., whether it is in the concept phase, if there is already a prototype or if the solution is already functional and being marketed, etc. We ask that you report on your annual income, should you already have any. We suggest including a brief description of the entrepreneurs, indicating the amount of time that each one will dedicate to the project. Finally, the proposal must contain the indication(s) of Accelerator(s) with which the start-up has interest in joining with.

How should I present the Business Model topic?

The proposal, preferably in PDF electronic file format, should contain the project identification, the description for the solution, product or service being developed and the proposed business model, following the nine blocks of the Generation Canvas Business Model methodology:

1 – Customer;
2 – Business value proposition, that is, the product contribution to the market;
3 – Delivery channels, that is, how the product or service will  either be purchased or rendered;
4 – Customer relations, that is, how customer relates to the developed solution;
5 – Key activities;
6 – Key resources, including resources of financial, human and material nature, etc.;
7 – Key partners;
8 – Main costs;
9 – Revenue sources.Applicant can present this information in any way he or she sees as best.

Can I insert in proposal links referring to the startup or Project (links to audio visual material or social medias)?

Yes, applicant can add relevant information to the proposal. However, judging committee will rule based on proposal following the call for proposals criteria:

II.2.2.2 – Proposals must be submitted in the form of a project for technological development and innovation. To qualify for further assessment by the Judging Committee, it is mandatory that the project addresses the items listed below. Please note that failure to meet this requirement will result in the disqualification of the proposal. The items are as follows:

a) Identification of the proposal;

b) Description of the product or service to be developed;

c) Team;

d) Business Model covering the following points:

  1. Customer;
  2. Business value proposition, that is, the product contribution to the market;
  3. Delivery channels, that is, how the product or service will  either be purchased or rendered;
  4. Customer relations, that is, how customer relates to the developed solution;
  5. Key activities;
  6. Key resources, including resources of financial, human and material nature, etc.;
  7. Key partners;
  8. Main costs;
  9. Revenue sources.
  10. Description of the current stage of development of the project (project concept, prototype, commercial-scale production, etc.).
  11. Applicants must indicate, in order of preference, the accelerators with whom they are interested in associating their project.

The available startup accelerators are listed in the Program´s platform at http://startupbase.net/arena/startup-brasil.

(Português) Até que dia posso me inscrever na 1a Rodada de 2014 – Turma 03? (Nacionais / Internacionais)

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ACCELERATORS
Does my startup need to be associated with one of the accelerators in order to apply?

No. The company does not need to be associated with an accelerator to apply, but must subsequently make come to an agreement with one of the accredited accelerators in order to be part of the program once selected. Grants will only be paid to those startups which have established an agreement with an accelerator. Also, at the time of the application, the startup must indicate which of the accelerators – in order of preference – it intends to join.

What are the accredited accelerators for the Start-Up Brasil Program?

For this call of proposals (rounds 3 and 4), the 12 (twelve) accredited accelerators are:

21212 (Rio de Janeiro); Acelera Cimatec (Salvador); Acelera MGTI (Belo Horizonte); Aceleratech (São Paulo); Baita Aceleradora (Campinas); CESAR LABS (Recife); Pipa (Rio de Janeiro); StartYouUp (Vitória); Techmall (Belo Horizonte); Ventiur (Porto Alegre); Wayra (São Paulo); Wow (Porto Alegre).

You can find details on each at: http://startupbrasil.mcti.gov.br/quem-aceleradoras/?lang=en. Applicants can contact accelerators directly for further information if they’d like. In no manner will Start-Up Brasil Program, the Ministry of Science , Technology and Innovation, CNPq or Apex-Brasil intermediate such contact.

How should I choose my accelerators?

The accelerators accredited for the program are listed on our website, in the section “The Program” > “Accelerators” (http://startupbrasil.mcti.gov.br/en/the-program/accelerators). There you will find summarized information on the operational focus of each accelerator, their location and basic conditions for financial investment and intended ownership value of the startup. In addition, there will be a link to access each accelerator’s website. We suggest that you visit the sites and do your research to learn about them in order to choose those that best match with your startup.

Will my startup get funds directly from the accelerator?

Yes. Depending on what type of negotiation was carried out directly between the startup and the accelerator, the later can invest additional resources in the startup, which range from R$ 20,000 to R$ 1 million, depending on the accelerator and project development stage. These resources are in addition to the R$ 200,000 offered by the government in the form of grant for research and development. The conditions for these additional investments will be negotiated directly with the accelerator and can be linked to performance criteria, among many others.

What will my relationship with the accelerator be once my startup is selected?

The selected companies will negotiate directly with the accelerators, within the limits of investment and share ownership proposed by the accelerator and published on the Start-up Brazil program website. Once associated, the startup will participate in the respective accelerator program, which can last between 3 and 12 months and must yield to the accelerator a percentage of ownership in return. The legal association model may vary according to each accelerator.

How will the accelerator for my project be determined?

During application each startup must inform which of the accelerators – in order of preference – it would like to join. The definition of the accelerator will occur according to the ranking of the projects submitted, respecting the stated intention declared by the start-up in the informed order of priority, conditioned to the number of vacancies offered by the accelerator and their acceptance of the project.

None of the accelerators is in my city. Can I participate anyway?

Yes. Startups from all Brazil and the world can participate, independently of where they are. Upon being selected, the company must move at least part of its founding team to the city of the accelerator with which they have firmed contract, during the acceleration program. Being locally present is important for the effectiveness of the acceleration process.

What happens if the accelerator I chose is not interested in my project?

If the first option of accelerator indicated by you is not interested in the project, it will be offered to the accelerator indicated as second choice and so on, until an accelerator shows interest in the project. The acceptance by the accelerator depends not only on the quality of the project, but on the alignment between them and the project profile, as some accelerators specialize in certain industries or business phases. The accelerator can also already be accelerating a similar business, for example, among other reasons for not accepting a particular project. An agreement between the company and the accelerator is a prerequisite for a startup to participate in the Start-up Brasil program.

PARTICIPATION OF FOREIGNERS
Me and part of my team does not speak Portuguese. Can we still apply?

Yes. We would recommend you and your team try and learn some Portuguese which will be important for your acceleration process and establishing a business in Brazil.

I am an international applicant (non-resident alien) and do not have a visa to be in Brazil. Will the program support me in getting the appropriate visa once selected?

Yes. Team members who will join the program will be granted a visa with the help of the program for the 12 months (maximum period for acceleration). In some cases it will be necessary for applicant to leave and return after the initial six months so that the visa can be renewed. International applicants will be granted a VITEM I – Temporary Visa I.

I am an international applicant and have no established company in Brazil. Can I apply?

Yes. Applicants are required to formalize their firm intent to set up a business in the Brazilian territory once their projects demonstrate to be technically, economically and financially viable.

In the case of international projects, is it mandatory for project coordinator / leader (as per application) to be in Brazil for the acceleration process?

Yes. The international applicant submitting the proposal as coordinator must be involved and physically in Brazil during acceleration process. Team members could be absent for no more than 15 (fifteen) calendar days in the same month during acceleration process.
In the case of the grantees, if this deadline  is not respected, CNPq can cancel the grant.

SELECTION CRITERIA
What is the selection criteria?

The criteria is (1) Qualification of the presented solution, (2) Qualification of the entrepreneurs, (3) Quality and consistency of the proposed business model, and (4) Alignment with the Start-up Brasil and TI Maior programs. Details on the criteria and their weights can be found in the public call for applications.