By Filipe Pacheco
Bahia is one of the cradles of Brazil. It was in this region of the country that the first European settlers arrived in 1500; where the first Brazilian capital was installed (Salvador) and where many roots of national culture have their origins. With a strong influence of slave culture of the colonial era, the region is to Brazil what Louisiana, in a sense, is to the United States. Despite its strong historical roots, this State did not stop in time and is preparing to inaugurate one of the most modern technology centers in the entire country.
The government, academia and the business sector have collaborated to create the “Technological Park of Bahia” or “Parque Tecnológico da Bahia” whose focus is the development of technologic products and processes that have positive regional impacts.
With the implementation coordinated by the Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of the State of Bahia, the project has set priorities in Biotechnology, Information Technology, Communication, Energy, and Engineering.
“It creates a new campus that adds advanced units of all institutions, which will boost the innovation system. All institutions are partners of the park and have an active role in the deployment process.”
The Technology Park is divided into three main parts:
- Innovation as a tool to attract businesses
- Technology, including support for the universities and enterprises relationship
- Science to strengthening scientific production
The project has an initial area of 581,000 square meters, but is expected to expand to 1.1 million square meters. The second stage will see operations of shared and specialized laboratories, which will allow for the optimization of equipment used by research institutions. Additionally, a School of Science Education and an interactive space called “Environmental Park” and World of Science will be created. Companies that decide to join the venture will have funding lines subsidized by the park.
With funding from the Government of Bahia and the Ministry of Science the Technology Park has received investment of more than $ 50 million for infrastructure and equipment. The Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Paulo Camera, highlights that the main building of the park called Tecnocentro, which is ready to be inaugurated soon. “We are already thinking about the second stage, which will begin later this year and has already secured funds of more than $ 38 million for infrastructure,” says the secretary.
Avenida Paralela where the park is located, is today one of the main trade routes of Bahia’s capital city Salvador. The city’s new public transportation system will go straight through it, also connecting the capital’s financial center to the airport.
Strategically, the park is not restricted to a specific institution and instead located at a neutral site that allows connection with all institutions in the country, “It creates a new campus that adds advanced units of all institutions, which will boost the innovation system. All institutions are partners of the park and have an active role in the deployment process,” says the official text of presentation of the project. The infrastructure of the park includes high-speed data connection to the National Research Network (RNP in Portuguese) with capacity of 10 GB / second.
Companies Already Confirmed
In April this year four new technology-based companies were selected through public bidding to join Technology Park of Bahia; Proquigel Chemistry, Softwell, Goshme Computing, and ZCR. Tecnocentro, the central building of the park, already has 25 institutions between companies and research centers set to begin work.
A public notice had previously selected four anchor companies to develop applied research in the area of Information Technology in the Park: IBM Brazil, Wise Experience Technology, Indra, and Portugal Telecom. In addition those companies, eight research institutes: UFBA / Fraunhofer, UNEB, SENAI / Climatec, IFBA, Bahiafarma, PRODEB, Cetene, and Bioinformatics will be housed within Tecnocentro.
An incubator with nine technology-based companies: NNSolutions, Brunian, Exa-m, Teledoctor, Mds Information Technology, Technical Compositec composites, MK Dentistry, Imago, and Maqhin is also part of the effort.
Softwell, a new entrant into the technology hub, is the creator of a unique platform for software development in Brazil – All Maker – and is recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the country. The company has been recognized for its development of technological solutions for the government and the development of solutions in a new field known as “smart city.” The company will develop applications for digital TV, interactive platforms and natural language processing, and sensory systems.