Russell reflects on his speaking opportunity in Brazil

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February 2019

In this popular article, Russell reflects on being invited to speak at a conference in Brazil and shares his insights from spending time in this beautiful country. To read (and share) the original article, follow this link:

One “Yes” and I’m in Brazil

By Russell Dalgleish

I had the pleasure to make my first visit to Brazil this month and to share my thoughts on leadership, to a diverse group of Execs and Entrepreneurs, at the MetaForum conference near São Paulo.

I decided many years ago that when presented with an opportunity I would always try to say “yes” and here I am now in front of twenty delegates, with a translator by my side, re-interpreting my every word into Portuguese.

(My interpreter Rodrigo Minozzi was concerned that when he heard I was Scottish that I may have an accent as strong as Conor Mcgregor so he was much relived to hear my lilting Borders brogue).

I received much advice regarding Brazil, most of it based around personal safety, which appears to be a rather unjust reputation Brazil has developed. Brazil is viewed by the UN as a relatively safe country and ranks at 76 on the “Worlds safest countries” table, where interesting the UK ranks only at 35 and Portugal at 68.

So what were my key takeaways from my trip to Brazil?

- As a country of over 200 million citizens Brazil is the 8th largest economy in the world but has historically proved a hard market to crack for all but the most adventurous Scots. The election of the new President, Jair Bolsonaro, may start to change this with plans to encourage more international trade and an easing of bureaucracy.

- At no time during my trip did I feel unsafe but then again, I’m a frequent traveller and hence well versed in avoiding potential trouble spots.

- Scotland and the UK are not well known in the region (excepting London) and as a country of this size, with deep roots into Europe, Brazil must represent a target market for us in the future.

- We Brits are famous for one thing in Brazil – Brexit. Not a subject I enjoyed trying to explain 😊

- There is a growing tech ecosystem of Start-ups, Scaleups and developing Unicorns in Brazil, heavily influenced by US culture.

- The time difference to Brazil from the UK is typically two hours and the weather was just touching 32 degrees mmmm nice.

- Leadership is as highly valued in Brazil as in most countries and there is a real desire to learn more from countries such as the UK on how to improve a leader’s ability to lead.

- There are small enclaves of Scots in Brazil who I will now be reaching out to over the coming months, hopefully we will deliver a Scottish Business Network event in Brazil one day.

- Watch out for a huge expansion of opportunities in the Amazon Rainforest to attract those seeking experiential vacation experiences.

- Brazilian’s are the most generous of people with a real entrepreneurial spark and international perspective hence I’m delighted that a number of those a met will be visiting Scotland before the summer.

- On the travel front I took a flight direct from Lisbon on Brazilian Azul Airlines – new plane, very economical, excellent service. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

If you are interested in examining opportunities in Brazil these resources may prove useful:

There is great support from Scottish Development International, Department for International Trade and the British embassy and consulates in Brazil.

I definitely hope to become a more regular visitor to Brazil and hope to build on some of the leads I developed during my short visit.


- Russell Dalgleish

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