NASBITE Conference Speaker Nate Monosoff: Lessons Learned in Brazil: Strategies for Success

There were many great presenters, workshops and key-note speakers at the 25th Annual NASBITE Conference held last week, April 2012, in Portland, Oregon.

Some of them include: Dario Gomez, Associate Administrator for International Trade at the U.S. Small Business Administration; Michael Irwin, Federal Security Director;  and John Priecko, President and Managing Partner, Trade Compliance Solutions.  There were many International Business consultants, Trade Specialists, College Professors, Trade Program Directors, Economists, Business Managers and more.

Nate Monosoff

One of the highlights of the conference was the lunch presentation on Wednesday, April 19th by Nate Monosoff. Nate is a consultant for  CH2MHill. Established in 1946, today CH2MHill is “a global leader in consulting, design, design-build, operations, and program management.” They have 264 combined office locations around the world.

Nate talked about lessons he learned from working in Brazil. He has traveled extensively to Brazil for personal and professional reasons since 2003.  He has done public and private sector planning, engineering and consulting.  He has worked with the Ministries of Development, Industry and Commerce (MDIC), Treasury, Communications, Science and Technology, the Brazilian National Economic Development Bank and the Brazilian Industry Development Agency.

So why work with Brazil?  There are strong macro economic conditions there, says Nate.  Economic growth, a strong domestic market, natural resources, growing population, energy resources and technology, and democratic and economic institutional stability to name a few. The new middle class is projected to represent 56% of the population by 2014. Nate also says that “fiscal policies and domestic demand are forecast to keep Brazil growing sustainably…”

What are the challenges of working with/in Brazil?  One challenge is that it is not an easy market to enter into.  Secondly, the way they do business in Brazil is different from what we are used to.  Other factors are:

  • Credit can be very difficult to get and is very expensive
  • Taxes are complex and expensive
  • Enforcing contracts is not easy

Capoeira demo

Nate told stories of real experiences to illustrate the things to remember when dealing in Brazil:

  • Relationships are everything
  • Local knowledge is key
  • Language is critical
  • Time is flexible
  • Change is common
  • Rules are not always rules
  • The culture is risk averse (except when traveling on the back of a motor scooter holding a large suitcase)
  • Taxes are a big deal

Nate finished his presentation with a group demonstration of Capoeira which is a Brazilian Dance and Martial Art. He is an instructor of this amazing cultural form.

You can contact Nate at

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