Wilson Faure keynoted a "Succeed in Brazil" seminar held at the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Brazil can be a daunting country for foreign companies to invest in, which is why the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast has commissioned a three-part “Succeed in Brazil” seminar series designed to help U.S. companies enter the Latin American country.

The Brazilian-American Chamber kicked off its first seminar Aug. 8 with an hour-long discussion with Wilson Faure, president of the Brazilian consulting group Advanced Global Partners, at the downtown offices of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Mr. Faure highlighted several barriers for American companies seeking to enter into the Brazilian market, including the language difference, complicated regulations, bureaucratic inefficiencies and a complex tax structure, among other obstacles to doing business.

However, that doesn’t mean the world’s sixth largest economy by nominal gross domestic product isn’t ready for new investment, Mr. Faure said.

“Almost 200 million people in the past decade [in Brazil] have developed this incredible, incredible buying power,” he said. “That’s where your product, your service will be provided.”

For companies to be successful, though, Mr. Faure said they need to do market research on their product, analyze the impact it will have and develop a long-term action plan for profitability.

And because no company is the same, he continued, each action plan will be different depending on the prospect’s product lines and customer base. 

Indeed, the danger for many companies is falling into the trap that Brazil is like many other Latin American countries or even much like the United States, the speaker said.

“You need to be very careful what you’re going to sell in Brazil,” he said. “For example, Exxon-Mobile changed their name for the gas stations because if you say what “Exxon” [translates into Portuguese,] that’s like a voodoo entity in Brazil.”

Still, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics swiftly approaching, there are many opportunities for savvy investors, particularly in the service, retail and information technology sectors, Mr. Faure said.

The session begain with a brief welcome by Ric Hubler, director of global business for the Metro Chamber, followed by an intoduction to Mr. Faure by Lucia Jennings, president of the BACC-SE. Ricardo Barros, the newly arrived deputy consul for the Brazilian consulate in Atlanta, also briefly addressed the small crowd of around 40,

Although the Aug. 8 seminar discussed market entry strategies in general, subsequent seminars Sept. 20 and Oct. 17 will give participants a deeper knowledge of more focused topics, such as Brazilian labor laws, regulations and taxes, said Fabiana Di Pietro Xavier, the Brazil-American Chamber’s executive director.

“It’s very important that companies have a firm grasp on these concepts before entering Brazil,” Mrs. Xavier said. “People have to be prepared because otherwise they are not going take full advantage of [opportunities in Brazil] and they may fail since they did not … take the time to learn about the market and the strategies they should have put together.”

To reach Mr. Faure, go here