Guarulhos: service and technology hub

por The Winners

The second largest city in the State of São Paulo receives in June of this year the Fórum Paulista de Desenvolvimento (FOPA 2019), with debates focused on the human and economic advancement of the municipality. With about 1.4 million in habitants, the city of Guarulhos is currently in a prominent position among the cities of the State of São Paulo.

In addition to housing the largest airport in South America, it is the second largest municipality in the State of São Paulo. Mayor Gustavo Henric Costa (Guti) gave The Winner an interview where he reported the first steps taken to identify the needs of the municipality at the beginning of his administration, the achievements throughout his term, issues related to education, social projects, waste treatment, sustainability, technology and the importance of hosting the Fórum Paulista de Desenvolvimento (FOPA 2019).


Felix Ventura – The municipality of Guarulhos was chosen to host the Paulista Development Forum in June 2019. Comment on the reasons for this choice.

Gustavo Henric Costa – Guarulhos is the second largest city in the State of São Paulo, with approximately 1.4 million inhabitants. The city is undergoing a broad transformation in its economic profile, from an industrial city to a service and technology hub. Guarulhos is already a development hub due to its strategic position in the state, with access to important federal highways such as President Dutra, Fernão Dias and Ayrton Senna. It is, therefore, a great city able to host both this important forum and other events on this subject.


FV – At the beginning of your administration, what were the first steps to identify the points that needed attention in the city?

GHC – Guarulhos came from a very complex situation, after several years of managements that did not prioritize human and economic development. The municipality had a debt that added to nearly twice its annual budget, around 8 billion BRL. Because of that, it was necessary to put things in order, cutting expenses, reducing the number of departments, of commissioned staff, of rent expenses, among other measures. From then on a plan was made to address the most problematic areas in the public service, such as medical care in the public healthcare network, water supply and sewage treatment.


FV – Indicate the main achievements implemented in the city of Guarulhos over the course of your term.

GHC – Guarulhos had, at the beginning of our term, more than 80% of the population suffering from dailywater rationing, many regions staying up to two days without water in the taps. SAAE, the municipal authority responsible for the water supply and sewage treatment, accumulated a debt with SABESP that exceeded 3 billion BRL, due to invoices not paid in the last 20 years, since the municipality bought about 85% of its water from the state company.

That means that the city couldn’t improve the supply with new investments. At the end of 2018 an agreement was made with the State Government, transferring to SABESP the management of the water supply. In addition to eliminating the debt, SABESP started to make immediatelynew investments in the local water network, guaranteeing that by the end of 2019 no one in the city will sufferfrom water rationing.

At present, almost one million citizens of Guarulhos have daily access to water. Besides this issue, there were important advances in the health area, with substantial improvements in medical care in municipal hospitals, a growth in the number of people cared by the basic healthcare network, and a decrease from 50% to 15% in the shortage of remedies distributed to the population, among other points.

We also delivered two Basic Healthcare Units(UPA), which were already built, but were closed for years. In the road system, we delivered 95% of the works of the Bonsucesso Interchange, a road junction that had its construction stopped and was resumed by the current administration.

FV – On matters of education, how does the city hallacts to improve the conditions of the public schools?

GHC – Education is one of the central aspects of our management, whose focus is raising the quality of the education of children, youth and adults through educational actions that contribute to the formation of citizens and the integral development of persons.

I can list some impactful actions made in the area: increase in the number of positions in day care centers for children with ages going from zero to 3 years and 11 months and the extinction of the waiting list in day care centers; Implementation of the all-day school period, benefitting about 5 thousand students, with the goal of expanding the time and educational space and promoting the extension of the school environment through other activities; the implementation of the “EducaMais” Program, which extends the school period of students in 4th and 5thgrades of the Municipal Education Network from 4 to 7 hours a day; “Escola 360”, a shared management platform for public facilities in the city, which provides spaces in schools and in Unified Educational Centers (CEUs) during the weekends to serve the local community all year long, with educational, cultural and sports activities; permanent training for the teachers, including a partnership with the Lemann Foundation. In terms of infrastructure, we resumed the construction of two CEUs (Bonsucesso and Itapegica) and the construction of eight new day-care facilities, in addition to inaugurating a new school in April this year and another 5 new units will be delivered by the end of 2019. Currently, the Municipal Education Network has 143 schools, which offer Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Youth and Adult Education, totaling more than 117 thousand students, in addition to having 6 thousand educators.

FV – What were the most significant social projects carried out by the city hall?

GHC – In the social area, we started with the Social Assistance Development Secretariat itself, which underwent a reorganization of all services within the scope of the Unified Social Assistance System (SUAS).

As a result, the number of services offered to the population, such asthe Inclusive Residence, that has the objective of helpingpeople with disabilities and in a situation of dependence; three adult male institutional reception services were established in various parts of the city; “FamíliaAcolhedora”Program, a family shelter for children from zero to two years old who were removed from their families of origin by judicial decision; new facilities of the Specialized Center for Assistance to Street Population – POP Center in Gopoúva; delivery of the Specialized Service of Assistance to the Street Population (SEAPOP) in Jardim Santa Francisca and “Bom Samaritano”, in Ponte Grande; delivery of the Long Stay Institution for the Elderly (ILPI) “Nosso Lar”, in Vila Carmela; 700 meals served per day in the two units of the Popular Solidarity Restaurants (Centro and Taboão), which also offer 100 free breakfasts each; offering crafts and garden workshops for street people, aiming for autonomy and reintegration into the labor market, as well as an income generation alternative; CFU / Bolsa Familia’s efforts contributed to the growth of beneficiary families of Bolsa Família, among other actions.

FV – How does the city deal with issues of sustainability and waste management?

GHC – Guarulhos has Solid Waste policy, with rules for the management of solid waste generated, transformed or destined in the municipality, with the social inclusion of waste pickers through the generation of work and income. Conventional waste collection occurs throughout thecity; for the waste of the Civil Construction, the City Hall
provides 19 Voluntary Delivery Points (PEV) in severalareas of the city, on which debris, furniture, electronics, and tree
pruning residues can be deposited. The 20th PEV is under construction in Jardim Presidente Dutra.

Guarulhos also has a Solidary Selective Collection program that seeks to promote the social inclusion of waste pickers, promoting the generation of work and income, inserting recyclable dry waste into the recycling market and protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Today the door to door selective collection covers 11% of the residences in the city, corresponding to 19% of the population; the Vila Galvão region will receive in June the Municipal Waste Sorting Center for Recyclable Materials, and all recyclable waste collected will be sent to the Recycling Cooperatives operated by waste pickers. Environmental education and social mobilization also complement our work, with the Lixo Zero program that promotes lectures, workshops and other activities in schools, companiesand other associations.

FV – One of the issues with the greatest impact on the quality of life of citizens is the urban mobility. What projects have been or are being developed in this area?

GHC – We started our term concluding a series of abandoned works that have great impact for the citizens. The Bonsucesso Interchange – which links two important regions of the city to the Presidente Dutra highway – is an example, with works that were stopped for years and were resumed: in two years, we advanced 95% of the works.

We also actedonbus terminals, some together with EMTU, such as Vila Galvão, Cecap and Taboão; we implemented bus corridors and bus lanes in important roads of the city; and we renewed part of the bus fleet. Among other actions, the implementation of two bike paths (Cecap and Vila Galvão) and the conclusion of the Urban Mobility Plan, which includes studies for projects that can be carried out over the next 10 years.

Regarding the future, in December 2018 the City signed a cooperation protocol with the French Development Agency (AFD) for an opportunity study for the implementation of a Light Rail Vehicle (VLT) system in the city. In February, after weeks of collaborative studies with our technicians, a first perspective of the study was presented, and it is now undergoing the conclusion of its final draft.

We are advancing and we keep looking for new partnerships that could improve the options and quality of transportation and urban mobility in our municipality.

FV – The use of technological resources is essential for the management of large cities. What is on the radar of the city hall regarding the implementation and planning of the management of technological applications?

GHC – The world is in constant evolution and Guarulhos has to be aligned with the technological changes and their applications in the daily life and in the economy of the city. In this regard, we have achieved unprecedented advances. In November 2017, we launched theTechnological Innovation Center “Innovation Guarulhos” to encourage research and
technology. It is accredited with the Paulista System of Innovation Environments (SPAI) and represents an important step towards the creation of the Technological Park of Guarulhos.

In 2018, we formalized the provisional accrediting request of our Technology Park with the State Government, obtaining in September the accreditation in the Paulista System of Technology Parks (SPTec), which allows access to the institutional and financial support from the state government. The project proposes working in the fields of Logistics and Mobility, Biotechnology and Industry 4.0.

We also approach the academy and value the initiatives of the students and Startupsin the municipality with the Experimenta event. Each edition of the event has a specific theme of public interest and, through hackathons and startup competitions, we offer a space for innovative ideas to appear and to be developed.

In this way we are creating a chain of innovation and changing Guarulhos. We started to encourage innovation in schools, to offer space for entrepreneurs and to value the large companies and researchers with the advancement of the Technology Park.

Recently, the City Council approved the Innovation Law, which creates the Guarulhos Innovation System – SIG and the Municipal Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CMCTI), in addition to establishing the municipal actions to promote the innovation culture and innovative entrepreneurship. We will have the Municipal Innovation Fund and the institutionalization of hackathons and startup competitions, actions that were already being carried out in the context of the “Experimenta” event, and the Municipal Program for the Promotion of Investments in Innovation – PMPII, which creates an incentive system that allows Startups located in the city to capture investments from taxpayers in the city.

The taxpayer participating in the program, called “incentivized investor”, will have a certificate issued in their name indicating the amount invested in the program, which can be used to reduce up to 40% of the IPTU of their real estate located in Guarulhos.

FV – On investments, what has the city been doing to attract investors?

GHC – In addition to the Municipal Program for the Promotion of Investment in Innovation – PMPII, which will start soon, we have tax incentives for companies that invest in Guarulhos. Under the Law 7306/2014, these incentives totaled 13 million BRL between benefits in the IPTU and ISSQN. In the biennium 2017-2019, this amount reaches more than 27 million BRL.

We value highly the entrepreneurs who invest in the city. The companies that benefited from incentives this year are responsible for 10,361 direct jobs in the city and are located in 14 distinct neighborhoods of Guarulhos. We also reduced the bureaucracy for opening companies with the Via Rápida Empresa and offered support to the local entrepreneur with Aprende, a public policy created for the orientation, capacitation and qualification of businesses through courses and specialized service.

FV – In your perception, in a projection for the next ten years, how do you visualize the city based on the current movements for its development?

GHC – We hope to deliver, by the end of our term, a much better city than the one that we found at its start. We know that there’s a lot to be done. But regarding the measures already adopted, especially with the reduction of debt in more than 50%, we are creating the necessary conditions for Guarulhos to return to the path of development.

Thus we are sure that, 10 years from now, Guarulhos will be in a prominent position in several different areas, becoming a much better city for our population to live and with a good environment for new investments.

Innovation as the basis for development

The secretary for Scientific, Economic, Technological and Innovation Development of the municipality of Guarulhos,
Rodrigo Barros, describes in detail the measures taken for technological progress, reduction of the bureaucracy for
licenses for new businesses and his experiences abroad applied to his management of the secretariat.

Felix Ventura – Make a brief explanation about your life trajectory until the invitation to assume the position of secretary of Scientific, Economic, Technological and Innovation Development of the city of Guarulhos.

Rodrigo Barros – I always tell a story about my grandfather, a Portuguese immigrant who came to Brazil and opened a bar, where my father also worked. At some point my father signaled to my grandfather that he needed more money to do his own things. My grandfather then said that it would not be possible because the bar “provides only for one person”, which was him in the case. My father told me this story and since then I realized that I wanted my “bar” to providenot
only for one person, but for as many people as possible.

And to that end, I began my journey as an entrepreneur and managed to achieve this goal through my companies like the RBCOM Group, the Hands On Startup Tour and today with Boali, which employs around 500people. Before that, I was a professional soccer player, which also contributed a lot to my personal formation.

I also had a transforming passage through Silicon Valley, one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world, that made me pursue yet another purpose that was to transform dreamers into makers. In 2016 I received the invitation of Mayor Guti, who had just been elected, to be secretary and I confess that I thought about refusing.

However, the possibility of leaving a legacy and working to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Guarulhos, the city where I grew up, lived all my life and made my family; was a really great opportunity to work for a greater purpose in life, and I accepted then the challenge.

FV – At the head of the secretariat, comment on the progress achieved in the sectors within its competence in the period of its exercise.

RB – The Secretariat for Scientific, Economic, Technological Development and Innovation – SDCETI was created in April 2017, at the beginning of the term of Mayor Guti, incorporating and expanding the scope of the former Secretariat of Economic Development – SDE. SDCETI deals with Economic Relations, Tourism, Science and Technology and Airport Affairs, and since the end of 2018 has also been involved in coordinating the strategic planning.

As we already have about two and a half years of work with many advances, we will have to speak only about the main highlights. One of the first and most significant advances achieved by SDCETI was the implementation of the Via Rápida Empresa in the City of Guarulhos, a historical demand of the local productive sector, campaign commitment of the Mayorand that changed the outlook of the licensing of economic activities of low risk in the city.

We went from an average of 120 days to 24 to 48 hours for the emission of low risk licenses. Before our commitment to help in the production of economic intelligence in the city, we inaugurated the “Caderno Econômico de Guarulhos”, currently in its 5th Edition, which brings an overview of the main economic data of the city. Another significant advance was the registration of the airport site for the purpose of collecting the Land Property Tax, a point on which Guarulhos was pioneer in the country, even though there is still a discussion with the concessionary to effect payments.

In the area of Innovation, being a new area for the city, we had huge advances – the creation of the first Center of Technological Innovation of the City, the provisional accreditation of the project of the Technological Park of Guarulhos by the State and the basic regulation for ST&I through a decree which regulates the provisions of the Federal Law for application in the Municipality and the recent approval of the Municipal Innovation Law that complements this regulation with the creation of the Guarulhos Innovation System – SIG and institutionalizes encouragement initiatives that have been carried out from the first year of the term, such as the hackathons and startups contests that occur under the Experimenta event.

It is also important to highlight our work in the presidency of Forum InovaCidades, an initiative linked to the National Front of Mayors – FNP, in partnership with the Arapyaú Institute, which promises to help boost the innovation agenda of Brazilian municipalities. Finally, I must emphasize here the strategic planning initiative Guarulhos 2040, that started as a planning nucleusattached to the Secretariat and which has developed relevant work with all the City’s Secretariatsduring theIntersecretarial Planning effort, resulting in the consolidation of the 117 actions of government recently made public by Mayor Guti.

We have more things that have been accomplished and more to accomplish, but with these highlights I believe that we have already greatly contributed for the advancement of our city.

FV – In your point of view, how does the Paulista Development Forum (FOPA 2019) help to boost the municipality’s progress?

RB – Recently, the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas, has emphasized the importance of combating pessimism, celebrating the advances in the economic agenda and having a positive and purposeful attitude to address the main problems that inhibit the growth of the country.

We agree with the need to change the energy that surrounds the public debate, and the proposal of the Paulista Development Forum – “The resumption of growth – 10 years of progress, social inclusion and economy” – contributes as a force to this change by bringing together some of the main actors in the State of São Pauloto discuss strategic guidelines for the development of the State andits cities.

The occurrence of the first edition of such an event in Guarulhos is symbolic of the transformation that the municipality has undergone during the administration of Mayor Guti, who after a great effort at the beginning of his term reduced in more than 50% the public debt and reaffirmed the commitment with the creation of a business environment conducive to investment.

The Government of the State ofSão Paulo was and still is a strategic partner for the development of its
municipalities, and this initiative will also allow a greater diffusion of the common agenda of development that will
converge efforts of the spheres of government in favor of our citizens.

FV – From your experience abroad, what was possible to apply, at a pragmatic level, in the actions promoted by the municipality?

RB – The experience living in the Silicon Valley and Europe’s innovation ecosystems working on the HandsOn Startup Tour was very important for formatting the hackathons and startup contests we did here in Guarulhos – it was a very straightforward application, but it had to be adapted to the peculiarities of the city.

As Secretary in Guarulhos I had the opportunity to perform missions abroad in a new condition, as a representative of the city, and the experience and point of viewends up beingvery different. I was able to participate in missions, events, to get to know companies, to know initiatives from other cities and how the subject of innovation and smart cities is being worked on.

These missions helped mehave a critical view of our local reality and from a practical point of view greatly affected our perspective on the importance of medium and long-term planning and of partnerships with the private sector to enable meaningful initiatives.

The structuring of Guarulhos 2040 owes much to these experiences.

FV – What is your biggest aspiration as a secretary in relation to the completion of projects that could boost the development of the city?

RB – My biggest wish is that the completion of these projects that enhance the development of the city can promote the strengthening of Guarulhos’ identity and the strengthening of the self-esteem of our citizens. Guarulhos has everything to become one of the main development hubs in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo.

The city houses the largest airport in South America, which allows the promotion of synergy for economic development within the aerotropolis concept, which we are studying.

It has a privileged logistics position, with the strengthening of urban infrastructure with private funding through destatization initiatives, such as our Public Lighting PPP, and measures to promote the
competitiveness of local production and improvement of the business environment through the Program Investe GRU, we should boost the rebound of economic growth.

An important factor for the economic growth and the strengthening of our citizens’ self-esteem is the promotion of free initiative in our city through the orientation, formalization and training of new entrepreneurs – an agenda that must advance with the maturation of our Aprende Program.

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