Your best business development ideas in Brazil

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Brazil is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Brazil? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.

Hi Priscilla!

Those are some good and challenging questions! Because of the structure of general life and the necessity of the very expensive Work Card Contracts (Carteira do Trabalho), coupled with the devaluation of practical skills (painting, plumbing, moving, cooking, etc.) there is a LOT that can be done here!

I have found that the people with the upper-class people often have very few practical life skills, so things that many foreigners are accustomed to doing themselves, they can get paid for here. This would include things like:

Dog walking
House keeping
General House Repairs
Basic - Advanced Plumbing
Being a sitter / care taker for older people
Being a sitter at hospitals (it is required that people in hospitals here have a person
         take care of them while they are there! Still not quite sure what the nurses do...)
Being a sitter for someone at home

A business minded person could easily make a decent living being a daily housekeeper for
multiple houses (diarista), or being any of the types of sitter that I have mentioned.


The challenge for foreigners would have to do with their ignorance about Brazilian culture (outside
of Rio and Sao Paulo), and how Brazilians think about work. They are extremely oriented towards
vacation time and long lunch breaks, and they often regard employees either as an enemy, or
a surrogate parent. As well, heirarchies are much stronger here than in other places, and
micromanagement is a necessity here.

Brazil needs just about everything one can think of! success or failure would really depend on
the quantity and quality of a person´s social network and personal contacts. Because people
here can so often be disrespectful or underhanded in business, if you can develop a good
reputation and hold on to your company for at least a year, the local population will do most
of the client acquisition work for you.

Also, here, one must also become a bit more classist (in my opinion) than they may be comfortable
with, due to the extreme class differences here.  One must spend much more time working on
relationships and friendships than simply being "good" at something. It is much more important here
for people to like you as a person than in many other places!


Lanugage companies are a good thing for foreigners - particularly if he/she is a native English, Spanish,French, or German speaker. Having a personalized service, rather than a brick and mortar
school reaps many more rewards with much less hassle!

Restaurants (large and small) that cater to the upperclass, and serve American food reallyseem to do well here in the Northeast.

Consulting in various areas is also becoming a thing here.

If you are proficient in Portuguese and English, there is TONS of work translating things here as well (but this relies heavily on personal recommendations). Translating and Proofreading scholarly works a nice niche here because there are so few native English speakers who a proficient in both languages WHILE most of the universities are trying to  increase the number of works they publish in international journals!

Pousadas/Bed and Breakfasts near hotels, with English speaking staff that cater to foreigners and Brazilians who dont want spend an arm and a leg on a hotel also seem to do well here in the Northeast.

Also, the further one lives from Rio or Sao Paulo, the greater his/her chances at success, as competion with other foreigners in the same area decreases exponentially!

People who participate in the selling of Black Market Electronics also seem to do very well here (:-) )

The most important thing here is to invest a lot of time going out and meeting other business people here so that you can learn about the opportunities available.

Where I live, the one type of business that seams to be doing quite well is construction, mainly houses, repairing them or building new ones, but the one thing ive found with the Brazilians ive dealt with, is that, if its cheap, then its going to be right,
but there now finding out that "cheap is nasty" 
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten

Well, agree with what have been said except the point from Bamabrasileira about Pousadas/Bed and Breakfasts in Nordeste. This is a very very competitive market and I wont't advice anyone to do that no.
Buy a place by the beach, in small town but not far from a capital (because you want people at least the weekend) is very expensive.  There is only 5% of foreigners in the Nordeste (except Bahia). So you can count only on national tourist. it means only a few holidays per year and weekend if you're lucky to be near a capital. Brazilian like more upmarket pousada than Europeans who travel to Nordeste like adventurer/kitesurfers.
A lot of Europeans from latins countries (Portugal, Spain, France and Italy) are doing that in Nordeste and only the ones who pick up the best place a long time are doing well. All the other are living miserably. Just enough to survive. And indeed these are the ones who are working 24H in couple, make work all the in law familly for peanuts, don't declare taxes, don't follow any regulation and escape controls...If you don't do this way, be sure your competitors do it. Tough business.
Actually these pousada's owners are all coming back home.  Fun when young, without responsabilities, no children, etc...but getting older, things change.
I am sure there a lot of beautiful pousada to sell in all Nordeste....

Interesting discussion. 

Just off the top of my head 2 things that I have recently found difficult to buy.... (which could mean there is an opportunity to produce/import)  are;
1 - Blu-Tac
2 - Shade sails.

Both pretty random items I know.
To be fair, I haven't really looked too hard to find blu-tac, but none of the locals seem to of heard of it when I ask them where I can buy it.

Shade Sails I've looked pretty hard for, and in the end was sent a link to a website in Australia and told to order it in myself, as nowhere I could find in all of Brazil stocks this item.

Anyway give me a shout if you want to go into the blu-tac importing business.


Brasil ,,such a beautiful country ,,its god gifted with resources!!!!

Brazilian people are very friendly towards foreigners,, they really treat outsoders as guest and greet them very nicely...

Coming to business, Never thought of doing business where man resource is required , you will hardly able to service due to lack of Portuguese. So ,plumbing ,house hold , and any other work where you need to interact people will hardly stand out.

Also Brazilian people is highly skilled in this activity at lesser cost.

What I felt when I lived there for a longer time and been to various states,,peoples are extremely exited towards technology which cost like diamond prices there.

The best common example. Mobile phone, you will find only well know company phone and also in double price because of taxes.

Mobile network- very much expensive.people use call facility whenever its really needed, Don't think of calling if you want just to call.

Mobile Internet - Expensive too.

Any Electronics ,,you have to pay almost double the price and even that also you have to search a lot the thing you want.

If you are thinking about hotels or restaurant,,, it will always run there also.

But what I think, There is very less competetion for technology stuffs , your business will grow more than you can think of.

I came here 3 months ago and i find good business in here Brazil:
Construction every kind
swimming pool
excercise club
laptop and cell sales
beauty parlours
massage centers
Meat buy and sale
open Marcado
Asian spiecy foods
supply see foods in centeral country
Buy products from Paraguay and then sale those in Brazilian markets
Import childrens cloths and sale here in local markets
Open all kind of repairing center
Car wash service
Mobile hair cutting (saloon)
Mobile ice cream sale
Supply mineral water
Motorcycle sale and repairing shop
Make dogs and cats food and sale
Open Veterinary clinic because its very incomeable
Gold business is very attractive if someone have funds because its sale in very high rates after finished jewlary as like brecelets, rings, and ladies items
Above all works are attractive here in Brazil it depends on that person who wants and who has experience.
Everything is possible here if you want it depends on you.

@aal.kak - have you actually started and/or currently running any of those business? or are you just randomly listing things that you can do here (or in most other countries for that matter).  Not sure how easy it is to just 'open a veterinary clinic'.  Although I must admire your optimism and enthusiasm. 


Hi Priscilla,

I am not an Expat in Brazil yet.
I am moving to brazil only during april next year, hence i dont have any information about your queries .


Thanks for bringing up such topic..
Yes i too would like to knoe about positive prospects of starting your own business in brasil and what are the best sectors

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