BNDES Banks on Brazil’s Creative Economy with US$4.3 Million Portomídia Investment


Porto Digital’s creative economy nucleus Portomídia will soon be moving to a new space, thanks to a US$4.3 million (R$8.8 million) investment from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

A historical building in the center of Recife known as Convento will serve as Portomídia’s new home, with Porto Digital utilizing the BNDES funding to renovate and equip the space. The building’s façade will be restored and its interior rebuilt with exhibition spaces, a training center, a business incubator and production laboratories, spread out over three floors totaling 1,500 square meters. Neighboring buildings will be temporarily adapted to accommodate renovation efforts.

Once construction is complete, the space will house projects incubated by Portomídia as well as labs that empower entrepreneurs and serve the local market. The BNDES investment will account for 60% of the total project cost.

 “This project is a virtuous combination of our policy of supporting the restoration of historic sites and the development of creative economy and technology,” remarked Luciano Coutinho, President of BNDES. He also highlighted the focus of this deal on Brazil’s Northeast region, which is often overlooked as a center of innovation.

This operation is part of a BNDES program for economic and cultural development (BNDES Procult). The Portomídia project has already created 41 jobs and is expected to employ 50 more professionals during construction. Upon completion, it will create an estimated 25 permanent jobs.

The Portomídia Project

Portomídia is the result of over US$10 million in investments from state and federal innovation agencies. Francisco Saboya, President of Porto Digital, elaborated, “Portomídia’s proposal is to support the creation and enhancement of a new and dynamic productive cluster in Recife, helping our city to diversify its activities and create new business opportunities for both startups and mature local companies.”

The Portomídia initiative is anchored in education, entrepreneurship, experimentation and exhibition and embraces games, cinema, video, animation, music, design, photography and multimedia. It provides training, incubation and infrastructure, including sophisticated tech studios and labs, a showroom and a digital art gallery.

At the moment, Portomídia is one of the most impactful initiatives supporting Brazil’s creative industries,” Saboya concluded.

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Emily Stewart

Originally from the United States. Degree in Comparative Literature & Society from Columbia University. Background in marketing and communications, including copywriting, translation, editing and content creation. Localization experience. Twitter @doblackshoe