If I were 20 years younger, and not already dedicated to my publishing company, I would be all over this. The Minas Gerais State Government in Brazil (home of the local startup hub known as San Pedro Valley) has set up an accelerator program that is open to local or foreign startups. For teams that are accepted to SEED, the program provides living expenses, co-working space, startup capital (equity free!), and support for staying in Brazil (the announcement doesn’t state what the support is, but hopefully it involves helping with visas and other bureaucracy).
There is a deadline coming up October 17 for the next program, but there is also a late December deadline for the following session. Details are located on the official SEED website, but here are the most important elements from the announcement (I’ve also added the official infographic to the bottom of this post):
Seed capital, equity free, for each startup varies, approximately, between US$ 35,000.00 (for projects with two participants) and US$ 40,000.00 (for projects with three participants). Part will be transferred as monthly scholarships of US$ 1,000.00 for each project participant, to cover living expenses and guarantee exclusive dedication to their business while participating in the program. The remainder US$ 22,000.00 will be transferred to fund a high-potential prototype or a releasable version of a product or service.
SEED offers too exclusive mentoring program; an inspiring co-working space and connection to a global community of entrepreneurs.
Who can apply?
Participants must be 18 years or older, Brazilian or foreigners in condition to stay in Brazil for duration of the program (SEED will assist all foreign participants in meeting this condition). During their participation in the program, entrepreneurs must be willing to live in Belo Horizonte, contributing to develop the local startup ecosystem.
Startups can be from anywhere in the world and must be in an early stage, that is, planning or developing a high-potential prototype or a releasable version of a product or service
As I stated at the beginning of this post, if I were 20 years younger, I would apply in a heartbeat — and not just because Brazil and Brazilian people are so special. The financial support (no equity!) is important, as is the “cohort” experience of being with other like-minded startups from all over the world. But there’s something else: Living in a foreign country is not only a rewarding personal experience, it allows you to focus on activities and goals without the distractions and expectations of one’s home country. I spent most of my 20s living abroad, and was able to make connections and accomplish projects that never would have been possible if I had remained in Boston.
As it is, I am older now, and have a wife and school-aged kids and other obligations that prevent me from relocating to Brazil. In addition, while my In 30 Minutes venture leverages a number of e-publishing technologies to produce a Dropbox guide, a book that explains what Google Drive is used for, and the most recent release Twitter In 30 Minutes, it is not a pure tech startup, which is what SEED appears to be looking for.
SEED startup accelerator: Basic facts
The official SEED infographic contains more details: