Startup & Innovation Project Manager


Swissnex in Brazil: Connecting Tomorrow in Science, Education and Innovation

Swissnex’s mission in Brazil is to nurture the Swiss innovation ecosystem with ideas, concepts and contacts to help Switzerland maintain and strengthen its competitive edge. We foster dialogue and enable collaboration among opinion leaders, researchers and practitioners in education, science and innovation between Brazil and Switzerland. Structured as a public-private venture, Swissnex works with sector partners, sponsors and donors who are equally committed to furthering Switzerland’s leading position as an innovation nation, under the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) scope of work.

Job Description

Swissnex is looking for a dynamic Start-ups & Innovation Project Manager based in São Paulo with experience in working with startups and innovation for its multi-faceted, transdisciplinary, creative and international activities.

As one of the members of the Swissnex team, you are expected to take full ownership for accomplishing different requests and projects from Swiss and Brazilian stakeholders; to identify and explore opportunities to shape a sustainable portfolio of future activities, and to expand and deepen our relationships with Brazilian and Swiss partners.

Our office infrastructure enables hosting different kinds of activities as well as welcoming residents to explore opportunities in Brazil. You will get the opportunity to be part of a creative, international and innovative venture with a special focus on projects in entrepreneurship and innovation; interact and collaborate with high-level representatives of both Switzerland and Brazil; expand your skills and update your professional knowledge.

Key Responsibilities

Reactively and proactively work with the CEO of Swissnex in Brazil and the core team to accomplish tasks and respond to requests; take full ownership of the professional implementation of projects; take a leading role in projects; and contribute new ideas and initiatives to further Swissnex’s unique mission and objectives.

The Start-ups & Innovation Project Manager is a hands-on connector and startup coach with a passion for entrepreneurship and a high level of curiosity for new technologies. The position reports directly to the CEO and, in close coordination with the São Paulo Office, has the following primary responsibilities:

  • Startups & Innovation Projects: take a leading role in further expanding activities and services geared towards startups and innovation actors;
  • Networking & ‘Connecting the dots’: proactively reach out to relevant contacts, stakeholders, and act as a connector between people and ideas;
  • Partnership Development: identify locations and form lasting partnerships with leading local institutions for São Paulo-based projects;
  • Event Planning & Management: planning, implementation and evaluation of events, training and delegation visits with a focus on innovation/entrepreneurship;
  • Research: on- and offline research on specific themes as requested by stakeholders.

Startups & Innovation Projects

  • Conduct the Innosuisse Market Entry Program in Brazil: identify and manage Swiss technology and science-based startup pipeline in close coordination with the Rio de Janeiro Office team. Build a strong network of local coaches and partners, implement the program including communications, reach out, logistics, reporting, etc. Support any other activities related to the implementation of the Innosuisse Market Entry Camp in Brazil, collaborate and exchange with other Swissnex Global Offices project managers;
  • Support the planning and implementation of the Academia Industry Training (AIT) program in Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo;
  • Advise Swiss technology and science-based startups regarding Brazilian market activities/opportunities;
  • Organize individual and group startup camps;
  • Identify and consult on opportunities for startups and innovative companies, including responding to requests from startups interested in entering the Swiss / Brazilian market;
  • Develop residency/training program for Swiss startups coming to Brazil, including the definition of target groups, partners, budget, funding sources, etc.

‘Connecting the dots’ & Networking

  • Build local know-how and trusted relationships with prime local representatives of science, technology, innovation and business;
  • Maintain a strong network in the São Paulo’s startup and innovation ecosystems and in Switzerland;
  • Attend and host meetings, events and conferences as a Swissnex representative, and share contacts, findings and learnings with the Swissnex team in Brazil;
  • Reactively and proactively promote collaboration between people and organizations in Switzerland and Brazil.

Partnership Development

  • Identify and onboard leading, value-adding local partners for projects in general;
  • Identify and onboard key opinion leaders, experts, mentors, coaches, speakers and partners for the Academia-Industry Training (AIT) and Innosuisse Market Entry Program;
  • Proactively identify and pursue opportunities with Swiss partners in close coordination with HQ in Switzerland.

Event Planning & Management

  • Conduct research and brainstorm for events in close collaboration with the Swissnex team: identify and contact potential speakers; identify and secure high-visibility event locations; identify funding sources; draft funding requests and pitch projects to potential funding partners;
  • Organize visits and delegations (multi-day group visits to São Paulo);
  • Implement events including communications, reach out to guests, logistics, reporting, etc.


  • Assist in conducting on and offline research and write reports on science, technology and innovation topics as defined in collaboration with HQ and/or stakeholders;
  • Conduct fact-finding missions and market survey/research for specific sectors in Brazil which are relevant for Swiss technology and science-based startups;
  • Continuously follow developments trends in the entrepreneurship and innovation landscapes in Brazil and Switzerland.

What we look for in a candidate

Background / Experience
Degree in Engineering, Exact Sciences, Business, Economics, International Relations or related areas;
1 – 2 years of startup related work experience;
International experience (Swiss experience is a plus);
Experience in working with many different stakeholders/managing complex requests;
Experience in managing projects and/or programs;
Familiarity with the Swiss and São Paulo’s startup ecosystems (proven network of relevant contacts, including startup related contacts, in the São Paulo region is a plus).

Excellent people, communication (verbal and written) and organizational skills;
Excellent team-oriented working skills;
Proven organizational skills and ability to multitask;
Solid time management and ability to prioritize;
Professional mastery (reading and speaking) of Portuguese and English language;
Proficiency with at least one (1) Swiss national language is strongly preferred.

General / Personality
Outgoing, communicative; avid networker and connector;
Responsive, service-oriented, reliable;
Transdisciplinary mindset/systems thinking;
Can-do attitude and self-starter with the capacity to handle uncertainty and launch new projects;
Independent, self-motivated, hands-on, proactive, creative, resourceful;
Ability to work outside of regular office hours when needed (for events and delegations);
Passion for entrepreneurship and a high level of curiosity for new technologies;
Dedication to further Swiss excellence in science, education and innovation.

Additional Information

This is a 100% position; ideal starting date: based on contract signature;
Brazilian non-profit salary levels and local regulations apply;
Only applications from Brazilian nationals and Swiss holders of a work permit in Brazil (Carteira de Trabalho) will be considered;
Fluency in Portuguese and good familiarity with Brazil is required;
The position requires flexible work hours, including some evenings and weekends.


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