In a XP webinar, Luiza Trajano, chairwoman of the large Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza, said that businessmen must not promote unemployment now. Photo: Screenshot/Zoom

Magazine Luiza, XP and Gerando Falcões: Overcoming the crisis starts with you

In a XP webinar, Luiza Trajano, chairwoman of the large Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza, said that businessmen must not promote unemployment now

Tuesday night, XP Investimentos held a live with Magazine Luiza‘s chairwoman, Luiza Trajano, and Eduardo Lyra, CEO and founder of Gerando Falcões (something like “Creating Hawks”), an NGO that trains young people from poor communities, helping them to find work or even create their own businesses. They talked about how to deal with the coronavirus crisis, and the importance of donations in this moment.

Both Trajano and Lyra stressed the importance of entrepreneurs aiding small businesses and, above all, the most vulnerable families in Brazil.

“The donation culture is for everyone”, said Trajano, while she was making a point on how to deal with coronavirus pandemic in Brazil.

Magazine Luiza, or Magalu as the company is also known, is one of the largest Brazilian retail companies alongside with Via Varejo, Lojas Americanas, and others. The company has more than 1,000 physical stores, and has seen its online sales soar in recent years.

We may not be able to guarantee employment in the future, whoever owns a business knows this, but please do not promote unemployment now. Grant vacations, use overtime hours (to grant unpaid leaves)

Luiza Trajano, Chairwoman at Magazine Luiza.

At the videoconference, the executives talked about how business community in Brazil got to assist the government, informing ministers about measures that can be taken and following if the money is effectively reaching small and medium-sized businesses, in addition to the self-employed people who are now also entitled to financial aid.

Donations required

When it comes to the most vulnerable people, no one better than Eduardo Lyra, CEO of Gerando Falcões, to explain the difference that the emergency aid of up to BRL 1,200 that the Brazilian government will give to informal workers, micro-entrepreneurs and the unemployed in the next two months, can make.

He was born in a slum, and lived his childhood in a dirt floor house, without many of the basic comforts that the country’s middle class is used to.

During part of my childhood I visited my father in prison. On the other hand, I grew up listening my mother say: son, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what matters in life is where you go to. And you can go anywhere you want

Eduardo Lyra, CEO at Gerando Falcões

And the path chosen by Lyra to get where he wanted was education. In 2011, he wrote a book called Jovens Falcões (literally, “Young Hawks”) and published it independently. In three months, he earned BRL 5,000 by selling the book door to door in the community in which he lived. “I took this money and used it to found Gerando Falcões 7 years ago. I started to break down walls and build bridges,” said Lyra.

The NGO has several sponsoring companies, and has become a network of houses where young people from various Brazilian favelas are taught a range of skills, from sports and music, to financial management and governance.

The crisis is where I came from. I had nothing to eat. It was an existential crisis and a social crisis. But no matter how difficult this crisis is, we cannot lose hope and we cannot stop leading

Eduardo Lyra, CEO at Gerando Falcões.

Guilherme Benchimol, XP‘s CEO, complemented that if you do nothing, no one will help you in this economic crisis. He used a metaphor to explain why everyone has to do their part in this crisis: if your car breaks down in the middle of the street and you call for help, no one will stop. But if your car breaks down and you try to push it on your own, other people will show up and help you push it.

It starts with you. Don’t wait for the government

Guilherme benchimol, CEO at XP.

Lyra jokingly said that those who live in the favela know very well what it is like to have a “zero budget”. “Don’t wait for Benchimol, Luiza or the government. Organize your favela, your church, to tear down walls and build bridges. The crisis will end, but we need to continue participating in the country’s strategy”, he appealed.

A digital revolution against the crisis

The only female in presidency of a retail sector in Brazil, Luiza Trajano said she never felt sorry for herself. She always believed in her potential. Therefore, she encourages people to keep going with their business, but as for now, she endorses the need to take care of health.

With that in mind, the retailer launched a new platform within its marketplace. With the name of Parceiro Magalu, (or Magalu Partner) the platform allows small businesses to sell their products and services even behind closed doors, that is, online.

Trajano adds that digital isn’t about having a software or an application. It is a culture. A kind of culture that brings simplicity, speed, and access to everyone. “In my lectures, I had a hard time explaining to people that the physical store was not going to end. It will not end, but it has to become a place of welcome, of entertainment”.

As for Lyra, the coronavirus crisis has made the fundraising for poor communities also become digital. With the help of some digital influencers, he launched an online donation platform and has raised more than BR 1 million.

Through the platform, people can sponsor the purchase of food and basic products to poor families, through a partnership with the food voucher companies Ticket and Alelo.”We are building dashboards to send reports in real-time to donors, explaining where and to whom the donations are going to,”explains Lyra.