Working at SERI

Sylvia Romanelli
Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, swissnex Brazil

What is your field of activity?
The mission of the swissnex network is to connect Switzerland to the most innovative hubs in the world. Working on behalf of swissnex Brazil, we aim to expand ties between countries and foster international cooperation initiatives in the area of education, research and innovation. Within this context, I’m in charge of promoting the exchange of knowledge between entrepreneurial ecosystems in Switzerland and Brazil. We also serve as a soft-landing platform for Swiss science-based start-ups, assisting them in their internationalisation activities, helping them to validate their solutions and building a market entry strategy for Brazil.

What do you particularly like about your work?
I like the fact that we have a bottom-up approach to developing collaboration. This allows us to co-create projects that take into account the needs of all players. This bottom-up approach involves obtaining a clear understanding of specific requirements and at the same time looking ahead together at how forces can be joined to create impactful solutions. Once the connection is made, it’s a win-win! And it’s gratifying when I realise that – by connecting the dots – I’m able to add value to our partners and stakeholders. It is a dynamic work environment where we deal with a diverse set of organisations (government, academia, private sector, civil society) from different innovation clusters.

What challenges lie ahead for you?
Brazil is a continental country and a key gateway to South America. It is home to large corporations, a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem, tech early-adopters, rich biodiversity and highly ranked universities. So there are a whole host of possibilities when you know what you’re looking for. The challenge is to continue to apply a close and empathic approach to our Swiss stakeholders so as to develop a deep understanding of their needs and – leveraging local expertise and a strong network – and to translate these into even more meaningful connections.