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Rio de Janeiro energy startup acceleration program to invest US$60mn

Bnamericas Published: Friday, November 18, 2022
Rio de Janeiro energy startup acceleration program to invest US$60mn

The founders and partners of MIT Reap Rio will invest 330mn reais (US$60.4mn) over the next two years in training, acceleration and other support measures for energy and sustainability startups, the head of the program, Hudson Mendonça (pictured), told BNamericas. 

The goal is to develop a methodology for structuring and governance of an energy and sustainability innovation ecosystem (iEcossystem) in Rio de Janeiro, using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s regional entrepreneurship acceleration program as a base.

MIT Reap Rio brings together government, university, corporate, and startup representatives and venture capitalists to ensure effective capacity building, development and implementation of the ecosystem.

“It’s not a governmental program, but a multi-stakeholder one, with decentralized governance,” Mendonça said. 

According to Mendonça, Rio de Janeiro was chosen because it has the potential to become a Silicon Valley of energy and sustainability. 

“Rio is home to major energy companies on both sides of the energy transition, from oil and gas to electric power, such as Petrobras, TotalEnergies, Shell, Eletrobras, Enel and Energisa,” he said.  

The city also hosts several academic institutions, like UFRJ, PUC-Rio, engineering military institute IME and federal technology education center Cefet, financing agents such as BNDES and Finep, and hosts the headquarters of oil and gas watchdog ANP

Among the founders of MIT Reap Rio are Petrobras, Vibra Energia, Eletrobras’ Furnas, Coppe-UFRJ and MSW Capital. 

Participants found that Rio de Janeiro produces highly skilled human capital but lacks means and actions that result in energy businesses and startups.

Next January, MIT Reap Rio will launch an institute that creates transversal actions of the ecosystem, such as mapping, reports, complementary training programs and a public database for entrepreneurship.

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