Two high-impact start-ups under the PPA Acceleration Program attract new business at São Paulo design show

Francisco Samonek, manager of Encauchados de Vegetais da Amazônia, was apprehensive about his participation in InspiraMais, a design and innovation fair that attracted over 7,000 visitors in the first week of June in São Paulo. He didn’t expect “such a huge demand for sustainable products from big companies.” Encauchados is an Amazon-based impact business that uses sustainable community-based rubber to make unique products.

“What I heard from the shoe industry is that companies that don’t focus on sustainability will be left behind.”. He was positively surprised with learning that sustainability is highly valued, and with the event, overall, which aimed to connect Brazilian and foreign companies dealing with shoes, accessories, fashion and furniture with truly innovative Brazilian businesses. 

Encauchados was one of two start-ups supported by the Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA) that attended InspiraMais. Samonek left the event with two new deals in the pipeline: “A high-end store decided to include our sandals in their next collection, and a big company wants to use our latex soles for their new line of shoes. They have already scheduled a visit to our factory in July”. 

Samonek estimates that the shop’s order might take up half of the productive capacity of his Castanhal plant, in the state of Pará. The company has signaled it might even be interested in investing in the expansion of their production. Encauchado is the name of the rubber produced by traditional and indigenous communities from native rubber trees in the Amazon. It involves a simpler vulcanization process and manual handling of the latex.

The other PPA start-up that was present at the event was Da Tribu, which produces jewelry and fashion accessories from native Amazon materials. This was the second time that the company has attended the fair. Tainah Fagundes, Da Tribu’s Head of Marketing and Communication, explains that she submitted some of their recycled paper accessories to Conexão Criativa, one of the InspiraMais projects focused on showcasing the work of pioneering Brazilian companies that use innovative production inputs and materials. “The event ́s curator acts as our liaison with wholesale markets. After the fair, he put us in touch with five companies interested in our products, and we are now negotiating with them,” says Fagundes. 

She was also celebrating the fact that Da Tribu is one of the 15 start-ups selected among 900 to join the Red Bull Academy acceleration program: “This will add to the many benefits we have gained from the PPA acceleration program. I am delighted to learn that they will be investing in the entrepreneurs themselves,” she added.

Last year, Da Tribu made eight commercial links during the event – all interested in their latex accessories, ranging from beach fashion to vegan shoes. She explains that InspiraMais can result in exclusive collection deals, or contracts for the creation of fashion accessories.  

The PPA Incubation and Acceleration Program is coordinated by IDESAM, one of the PCAB implementing partners.