Joseph J. Sherman
Business Development Representative - B2B SaaS

Business talk with Jonathan B. Bittencourt

Oscar Niemeyer Museum
The Oscar Niemeyer Museum is a Brazilian landmark. The museum is located in Curitiba, the capital city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. (Courtesy Martin Skariny, Pixabay)

What are the trade and investment possibilities for Israel, Brazil, and Tanzania?

Tanzania, Brazil, and Israel are connected through embassies, consulates, trade, and investment promotion agencies. Consulates, according to the Viena Convention for Consular Relations, aim to further the development of commercial, economic, cultural, and scientific relations between the sending State and the receiving State and otherwise promoting friendly relations between them. To understand some of the business opportunities and future possibilities, I turned to Jonathan B. Bittencourt.

Jonathan B. Bittencourt is a Co-Founder at Norten Advisors specializing in international business development and business research. He is also the Honorary Consul of Tanzania in Paraná, Brazil. 

Jonathan B. Bittencourt (Courtesy)

What do you do at Norten Advisors?

I am one of the firm’s founding partners. I am responsible for developing relationships with potential clients, cultivating relationships with the current ones, and executing some of the mandates, especially those related to international business development.

It means that, in general, I am the one who is always traveling and looking for new business opportunities for Norten Advisors and our existing clients.

Where do you see strong potential for trade growth between Brazil and Israel?

According to the Brazilian Government, Brazil is Israel’s biggest trade partner in Latin America, responsible for 90% of the Israeli exports to the region.

In 2019, Brazil exported US$371,83 million to Israel and imported US$1,205 billion. In general, Brazil has been exporting commodities such as meat, soy, and corn to Israel and importing fertilizers and pesticides from Israel.

Even though both countries have a significant trading number, surpassing US$1,5 billion, Israel represents only 0,16% of all Brazilian exports, and Brazil represents only 2% of Israel exports.

That means that there is a vast potential for growing the commerce on the products already being traded and the possibility of looking for new business opportunities, especially those involving technology.

As the honorary consul of Tanzania, you have many influential people, including the consul general of Israel, Mr. Alon Lavy. What did you speak with Mr. Lavy about? 

I met the Consul General of Israel, Mr. Alon Lavy, when he visited Curitiba, in the State of Paraná, located 400 km south of Sao Paulo. Paraná is part of his jurisdiction as Consul General of Israel in Sao Paulo. I had the opportunity to meet him and discuss ways of creating business connections between Israeli companies and the Brazilian markets. 

Israel is known in Brazil as a tech hub in several fields, such as IT, irrigation, and defense.

Since Norten Advisors helps international companies accessing the Brazilian markets and Brazilian companies access global markets, being close to Ambassadors, Consuls, and investment promotion agencies, such as the Brazilian APEX, is an important part of our job. It means that meeting Consul Lavy was a pleasant moment both as a colleague and businessperson.

What are your goals as the Honorary Consul of Tanzania? 

According to the Vienna Convention, a Consul must give support to his citizens, which is a priority, and work on promoting the business opportunities entrepreneurs can find when investing in his country. These are two of the main goals I have as Honorary Consul of Tanzania in Paraná-Brazil. Another important goal, as Consul of Tanzania, is presenting the main destinations tourists can choose when planning to go to Tanzania, such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Selous, Mount Kilimanjaro, or Zanzibar.

To accomplish this last goal, I had the opportunity to take two Brazilian TV shows to Tanzania. One of them, called “Pedro Pelo Mundo,” which means “Pedro Around the World,” having Pedro Andrade as Host, was broadcast at GNT in 2018. The second one, called “50 por 1”, with the Brazilian Host Alvaro Garnero, was broadcast on Record TV in 2019.

Do you see the potential for three-way business opportunities between Brazil, Tanzania, and Israel? 

I definitely do. There are business segments, such as agriculture, where Israeli investors could use Brazilian technology to develop business operations in Tanzania.

Eventually, Israeli investors could partner with Tanzanian entrepreneurs on the gems field, focusing on selling to Brazilian luxury retail brands, such as H. Stern, which has operations in Brazil and Israel, or Bergerson based in Brazil. There are many business segments where all the different expertise could be put together, aiming at creating win-win business relations for all the parties involved.

Are there plans for Norten Advisors to have operations in other regions of the globe?”

We are close to open our first operation in the United States and Portugal. In both of them, we will have commercial offices to support foreign companies entering or growing in that market.

We are also evaluating the possibility of having a second office in Europe, based in Switzerland, especially because one of the co-founders of Norten is a Swiss national.

About the Author
Joseph has extensive experience in business development, sales, and marketing with tech start-ups and scale-ups. Joseph holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the KEDGE Business School in France, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. In addition, he has studied at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico and received a fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley.
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