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The evolution of ZISPOA since September of 2015

The Porto Alegre Sustainable Innovation Zone (ZISPOA - Zona de Inovação Sustentável de Porto Alegre), located in the city’s Independência and Floresta neighborhoods, represents the first major implementation step of Global Urban Development’s (GUD) 2015 World Bank-funded Leapfrog Economic Strategy for the State of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) to become the most sustainable and innovative place in Latin America by 2030, which can be viewed in this link.

Both the Leapfrog Economic Strategy and the Sustainable Innovation Zones, starting with ZISPOA, offer excellent opportunities for Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do Sul to successfully accomplish the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

ZISPOA and the Paralelo Vivo Sustainable Innovation Hub have been making extensive progress since September 2015.  The excitement and energy of this rapidly growing movement for Sustainable Innovation and Inclusive Prosperity is highlighted in this brief video produced by the Porto Alegre City Government (POAdigital).

A major focus of ZISPOA and Paralelo Vivo is on fostering startups and business growth among young university-educated entrepreneurs, technicians, students, and social activists.  This rising generation is a vital resource for achieving a successful urban transformation based on Sustainable Innovation and Inclusive Prosperity.  

The Paralelo Vivo Sustainable Innovation Hub is the first startup hub, coworking and maker space, and innovation ecosystem in Latin America focused mainly on promoting sustainable entrepreneurship and green businesses, currently with 36 member companies and organizations.

In June 2016 both ZISPOA and Paralelo Vivo won “Good Ideas in Sustainability” awards from Virada Sustentável and the Fundação Gaia in a major regional competition among more than 150 contestants.  In addition, two ZISPOA startups, Re-ciclo and Gênese Social, also won awards, and four other ZISPOA startups were finalists: Cesta Feira, Horteria, MVM, and weBike.

"Good Ideas in Sustentability" award ceremony, at Virada Sustentável in June, 2016

From September 2015 through May 2016, GUD worked with ZISPOA startup Pulsar on the Entrepreneurship Challenge for nearly 250 students at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) Engineering School, and collaborated with Pulsar to teach two ZISPOA courses at Paralelo Vivo, as well as the ZISPOA Next Citizens course at Paralelo Vivo and other ZISPOA collaborative houses: Casa Cultural Tony Petzhold, CC100, Marquise 51 Hub Criativo, and Vila Flores. Together nearly 100 students participated in these three courses. On World Environment Day, the first annual ZISPOA Festival was organized at Vila Flores,   in   honor   of     internationally

acclaimed RS environmentalist José Lutzenberger, with more than 400 participants.  In November 2016 GUD and Pulsar offered a new ZISPOA Next Citizens course for 20 students.  

In December 2015, ZISPOA was selected by the Government of Sweden, Swedish Institute, and Swedish Incubators and Science Parks to participate in the Smart Living Challenge global network, starting with an international webinar on April 28 about “Sharing for Sustainable Mobility” featuring international technical experts mentoring ZISPOA startups such as MVM for electric car sharing, weBike for bike sharing, and Easybox for garage sharing.

MVM built Porto Alegre’s first electric car charging station, including solar-powered LED lighting, with assistance from other ZISPOA startups and local sustainable companies such as Oz Engenharia, Printup 3D, Orkestra, Young Energy, and Ecotelhado, plus students from UFRGS Professor Luis Felipe Nascimento’s Sustainable Management course.  On October 20th, 2016 ZISPOA inaugurated this new electric car charging station at Shopping Total in a ceremony with Sweden’s Ambassador to Brazil as the keynote speaker.

Inauguration of the Electric Car Charging Station at Shopping Total, in October of 2016

This event is part of the two-day Sweden-Brazil Innovation Week events that ZISPOA and GUD helped to organize.  Other events on October 20 include a ZISPOA walking tour, and a lecture at UFRGS by Mattias Goldmann from Stockholm, and on October 21 at Nós Coworking, there will be a half-day seminar on Sustainable Urban Development, Smart Transportation, and Green Energy, including showing and discussing the Swedish film “Bikes vs. Cars”, followed by the launching of Porto Alegre Zero Waste Week during a special ZISPOA Green Drinks event hosted by the Swedish Embassy.

ZISPOA combines six key elements: Innovation and Technology; Entrepreneurship and Startups; Sustainability and Resource Efficiency; Creativity and Collaboration; Participatory Community Management; and Business-Friendly Environment.  

Over the year of 2016, working groups were organized around these six elements, and hundreds of people have collaborated to take action and produce results on a wide variety of initiatives.  These include promoting “solar trees”, building a community garden and composting center (Espaço Floresta) at a DMLU neighborhood recycling facility, organizing weekly “Zistalks” with startup Point, organizing monthly Sustainable Connections seminars with Net Impact, mapping and surveying ZISPOA for solar capacity and other entrepreneurial and renewable resources, creating an informative website and event-oriented Facebook page, hosting monthly Green Drinks networking events for sustainable entrepreneurs, developing the Miudinho sustainability blog , engaging in strategic visioning with UFRGS students from Professor Julio van der Linden’s Design course, participating in an RS State Government Commission supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and much more.

Currently ZISPOA is focused on becoming the most sustainable and innovative place in Latin America by December 2025, through achieving five major goals: 1) Most Solar Powered; 2) Most Energy Efficient; 3) Most Digitally Connected; 4) Most Renewable Technology-Friendly; and 5) Most Bike-Friendly.

Faculty and students from various courses at UFRGS and other universities including PUCRS, Unisinos, and UniRitter, plus numerous startups from university-based technology parks and business incubators such as Hestia and Tecnopuc, along with AIESEC and several student Junior Enterprise groups including RENOVA and OTMZA, are participating in ZISPOA activities through ZUNI (ZISPOA nas Universidades).

GUD and local partners such as UFRGS, Porto Alegre Resiliente, 3C, and Natureza Digital are collaborating with the international GeoSUMR partnership, including Ecocity Builders, ESRI, AAG, GUD, and the US State Department, on sustainable urban geoinformation and ecocitizen mapping for ZISPOA.  Also, ZISPOA is developing other international partnerships in Canada, Germany, India, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK, and US, and is working with UN-Habitat, UNDP, and the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development.

Starting in 2017, Sustainable Innovation Hubs and Zones (ZIS) will spread to additional RS cities such as Canoas, Caxias do Sul, Pelotas, São Leopoldo, and Santa Maria.  Similar Sustainable Innovation Hubs and Zones will begin organizing throughout Brazil and Latin America, including São Paulo, Panama City, and other major urban centers.

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