The beginning of everything
Inovapucrs Network boosts coordination
PUCRS was prepared to provide a solid basis to its Science and Technology Park. Government initiatives contributed, and great companies became the endorsers, providing support from the beginning to this initiative. Thus, Tecnopuc came to life.
Also key in the development strategy of the park was the role of entities, in particular the Association of Brazilian Companies for Information Technology (Assespro), the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the Brazilian Association of the Electric Industry and Electronics (Abinee).
The biggest challenge is meeting the demands of society while preserving the sovereignty of the University in research and teaching”, says Gabriela, who has been at PUCRS since 2002. To create the Network, the director took advantage of her experience in research in the innovation area and of the analysis carried out in the institution.
Tecnopuc grew, as well as its connections to Academia, generating research and transferring innovation to business companies. This required more organization.
Internally, another step needed to be taken. This happened through the creation of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network (Inovapucrs), a mechanism to coordinate all fronts promoting the cooperation between the University, the private sector, actions and structures to encourage entrepreneurism and institutional connections.
Gabriela Cardozo Ferreira, Director of Innovation and Development at PUCRS, designed this concept and planned its implementation. She recalls that the design for this model should prioritize the transfer of knowledge generated in Academia, in relationships with companies, preserving the role of the teaching institution.
In 2006, Inovapucrs was officially created, adding existing units and redefining others. AGT was the pioneer, in 1999. Then came the others – Raiar Business Incubator, the Entrepreneurial Nucleus, the Institute for Research and Development (Ideia), the Microsoft-PUCRS Innovation Center (a partnership with Microsoft), the Electrical and Electronics Testing Laboratory (Labelo), the Technology Transfer Office (ETT), the Enterprise Management Agency (AGE), and the Innovation Management Support Nucleus (NAGI). Like Tecnopuc, most of these units compose the Office of Innovation and Development.
The new management was made official in 2012, after the reorganization of the Senior Offices of PUCRS, with the creation of the Office of the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Development (PROPESQ)
Inovapucrs Network was conceived and built with a bottom-up approach, and today it is a solid structure, gathering all operations, with Tecnopuc as a leader.
The rise of Tecnopuc and the role it plays today cannot be accredited single-handedly to PUCRS. On the contrary, it is a project done by the society of Rio Grande do Sul, resulting of its renowned scientific and entrepreneurial competence.
In the original project, the inception of the Park itself relied on important contributions from people representing different Brazilian institutions and organizations, such as Maria Alice Lahorgue and Benamy Turkienicz (UFRGS), Roberto Spolidoro, Elizabeth Ritter dos Santos (UFRGS at the time), Edemar de Paula (Unisinos at the time), José Aranha (Anprotec and PUC-Rio), Luís Afonso Bermúdez (Anprotec and UnB), Carlos Alberto Pacheco (MCT and Unicamp at the time), Roberto Lotufo (Unicamp) and Silvio Meira (Porto Digital and UFPE at the time).
Rio Grande do Sul has some of the top universities in the country. It also has a population with a high level of education according to Brazilian standards, and acknowledged entrepreneurial business people. From the standpoint of teaching institutions, the state is a benchmark, both in the public sector – for example, being home to UFRGS, a teaching and research institution of excellence that leads the national rankings among public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) – as well as in the community sector, with the Consortium of Community Universities of Rio Grande do Sul (Comung).
Besides, some of the best and most recognized innovation environments in Brazil are located in the state, like Tecnopuc itself and Tecnosinos (São Leopoldo Tech Park).
All of them rely on integrated action in this sector, with the coordination of the Network of Business Incubators and Technology Parks of Rio Grande do Sul (REGINP) and the state and city governments.
“The so-called triple helix is fully operational here, with universities, science and technology institutions and companies interacting to create new alternatives of socio-economic development”, says Eloni José Salvi, President of REGINP.
In 2015, Rio Grande do Sul had seven consolidated Parks and five in the process of consolidating throughout the state.
“By encouraging and supporting the creation of new businesses, through the development of innovative products and services, these projects stimulate the economy, as they create more competitive businesses and new markets. The effects of these activities are the generation of jobs and income”, he adds.
The challenge in all these cutting-edge initiatives is collaborating for the creation of a new model of development from innovation and entrepreneurism.
João Carlos Brum Torres, coordinator of the government plan of the elected governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, (José Ivo Sartori, who initiated his term in 2015), says that structures such as Tecnopuc are essential to the country, and, especially, to the state. Thus, they are considered a priority in government investments.
“Rio Grande do Sul needs to diversify its production matrix. Thus, here we have these new environments for international and institutional cooperation, where companies develop innovation from cutting-edge research carried out by our universities. This is a very important step toward rennovating and modernizing the strategies to attract new investments to the State”, says Torres, also a professor at UFRGS and the University of Caxias do Sul.