Wednesday (26 March 2014) I arrived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city and capital of the Minas Gerais region. I was there to represent our portfolio companies on the “Belgian Day”and was invited by the ‘Diário do Comércio’, the local financial newspaper, for an interview regarding Buysse & Partners plans in the region and our view on the Brazilian market and economy. To my surprise the interview made it to the front page of the Thursday edition of the newspaper. (http://issuu.com/diariodocomercio/docs/22606). You can imagine my surprise when I saw myself on the front page while getting breakfast in the hotel.
During the Belgian Day – organized by Henrique Rabelo, a Brazilian lawyer with strong links to the Belgian market – Buysse & Partners was one of the Belgian speakers that was given the opportunity to present it’s activities, next to Bekaert, Frisomat, the Port of Antwerp, Tractebel and some others. It was an excellent opportunity to create exposure for Blommaert (www.blommaertalu.be), Global Port Training (www.Globalporttraining.Com) and Bio Pharma Logistics (www.biopharmalogistics.com) and to identify new business opportunities in the region.
After a full morning of presentations and a formal networking event afterwards, Mr. Rabelo invited all Belgians for a cocktail party at his summer-house, in the hills surrounding Belo Horizonte. This was the ideal setting to share some ideas with the Belgian Ambassador in Brazil, the consul-general based in Rio, Belgium’s Chief Superintendent Officer, Brazil’s Flanders Investment & Trade representative and many Belgians with business in Brazil or looking to start a business here, while at the same time enjoying some of the various types of caipirinha that were prepared instantly. I’m not too big of a fan of cocktails usually, but I must admit that this weekend I might order some caipirinha’s while discovering the city!
Quick Fun Fact about Belo Horizonte: it is rumoured that for every man in Belo Horizonte there are 4 women. A quick glance at the official numbers indicate that it is slightly less impressive. Nevertheless, the overweight in female population (53%) has resulted in a law that makes it mandatory for hotels to provide a condom to each of its customers. Although I am staying in a “decent hotel”, this is how I was welcomed here… Must have been quite a thing, whatever it was that happened here that led the government to create this law…