Belo Horizonte/Confins - Tancredo Neves International Airport (BH) in Brazil has undertaken a series of meetings aimed at finding disruptive ideas.

The airport operator recently ran a retail and hospitality-focused business roundtable with nine international start-ups and Skema Business School in a bid to foster an innovation ecosystem. BH is particularly keen to create connections with strategic partners, attracting new solutions for both the business itself and for the wider aviation chain.

“Open, collaborative innovation, with the support of strategic partners, is an important step towards customising solutions for the aviation sector. These actions brought the airport even closer to the innovation and knowledge ecosystem of Belo Horizonte, one of the main such systems in the country, with disruptive ideas that can make a difference in the most diverse areas of the airport”, said Marcos Mandacaru, commercial and new business director at BH Airport.

The nine start-ups looking for business opportunities came from Israel, Japan and Singapore. In partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex Brasil) and the Brazilian Association of Private Equity and Venture Capital (ABVCAP), BH Airport promoted a meeting of prominent companies with diverse technological solutions. The event also involved airlines Latam and Azul, infrastructure specialist CCR, Vivo (Telefônica Brasil) and travel retail firm Dufry.

“We are on the lookout for opportunities that contribute to open innovation, focusing on growth and expanding our competitiveness. Being close to these start-ups helps us broaden our perspective and our critical vision, as well as understanding how many solutions can be absorbed by the airport and also by the aviation chain,” said BH innovation manager Mariana Yazbeck.

She added that “in many cases, the solution is aimed at another sector, but can be adapted and customised to our market. This enables us to innovate and develop a new ecosystem of solutions for our industry,”


Airport as proving ground
Another recent initiative was the BH Airport Global Challenge, in partnership with the Skema Business School. This was designed to generate ideas that could further strengthen and improve the retail and hospitality area. Currently, the airport has 90 commercial operations. In recent weeks, the international terminal in Minas Gerais launched nine operations in 15 days.

“We are experiencing a favourable moment for expanding our mix, seeking to expand our commercial infrastructure and make the entire area more efficient. When we get together with students of different nationalities, we have the opportunity to take a fresh look, generating new ideas for the business,” said Marcos Mandacaru.

During the meeting, Mandacaru challenged Skema students to think of ways to increase sector revenue, as well as improve customer perception and experience. “We want to expand this ecosystem of innovation and knowledge in our terminal. This initiative was an opportunity for these students to think about innovative and international actions that could change the way we work in the retail and hospitality area. Once again, we have positioned BH Airport as a proving ground for knowledge technologies,” he said.

Image: Belo Horizonte/Confins - Tancredo Neves International Airport