Empowering community-led enterprises that sustain peoples and the planet








community enterprises mapped


associations and co-operatives engaged


community enterprises with business assistance




financial deals

Where We Are

We operate in all of Brazil’s biomes, with a special focus on the Amazon region. We are headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, with associates working in the cities of Belém, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. We also have representatives in The United States of America and France.

The Amazon

The world’s largest biodiversity hotspot, the Amazon biome corresponds to 40% of Brazil’s territory. Nearly a thousand community enterprises are based here. However, little is known about their development stage, business potential or social and environmental impacts.

We mapped 402 of these community enterprises and found that 90% have annual revenues of less than EUR 140,000. If these businesses do not realize their full potential, envisioning an inclusive and sustainable Amazon economy, one that generates more value with the forest standing, becomes all the more distant.

Our goal is to promote an ecosystem of innovative and sustainable community enterprises – one that is able to bring value to business based on agrobiodiversity and socio-biodiversity on a larger scale

What We Do

The ecosystem that supports community enterprises with social and environmental impact is highly fragmented: those who produce are not connected with those who trade, nor with those who finance.

We have a pragmatic and hands-on approach to building solutions to (1) scale up sustainable value chains, (2) maximize social and environmental impacts and (3) improve the viability of community enterprises. Alongside a large number of partners and co-creators, Conexsus creates Labs and initiatives to develop business prototypes, business models, scaling-up solutions, financial solutions and market access.

We created the Paths to Development Methodology to measure the potential of community businesses and better direct the solutions for business assistance and blended finance, as well as to monitor their evolution along the way.

Community Business Modeling

We support and offer assistance to community enterprises that have a social-environmental impact and a demonstrated potential to grow and scale up. We developed Paths to Development as a methodology to build customized development trajectories for individual community businesses and to monitor their progress.

We have implemented different initiatives such as Acceleration Journey and the Amazon Business Modeling Lab to offer strategic advice and support to community enterprises. We manage a learning group with other support organizations to share knowledge and co-create solutions to improve everyone’s approaches to assisting community enterprises.

To read our Overview of Community Businesses, click here

Our strategic partners: Good Energies, GPA Institute, IPÊ Institute (Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas – IPÊ), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Humanize Institute, Fundo Vale, German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Climate and Land Use Alliance.

Co-creators: Unicafes, GIZ, IEB, Imaflora, ICV, ISA e IPE and Semente Negócios.

Building agroforestry businesses is economically viable and presents social-environmental benefits for Brazil, helping to achieve its environmental restoration goals. Our approach to overcoming the economic and technical difficulties to scale-up this type of business is to select promising start-ups and enterprises and connect them to investments and business modeling assistance.

We are currently working with eight agroforestry venture prototypes in Brazil.

Our strategic partners: Fundo Vale, Fundação Certi, Kaeté Investimento.

Market Access

Business for the Earth is a movement to enable and increase community enterprise participation in markets. To promote fairer value chains, we create solutions for market access and financial investments that connect those who buy sustainable products, those who produce them and those who finance these business models.

We operate under the fair trade principles. As a WFTO provisional member, we help to build commercial partnerships between community enterprises and companies, developing opportunities, trust and adequate conditions. We offer business assistance and blended finance solutions to build better relationship with the market.

See cases: Projeto Laranja do Futuro, Clube Orgânico, Manioca

Our partners: Instituto GPA, Instituto Humanize, Fundo Vale, Become, Selo Origens

01 Curatorship

of community businesses with social and environmental impact, and readiness for business transactions

02 Access

to sustainable supply chains

03 Credit and

lines targeting the development of sustainable supply chains

04 Positive

based on customer demands and trends

Blended Finance

There are few financial vehicles to support the growth of community enterprises throughout the different stages of their development. Our approach is to use blended finance practices to create loans and investment access possibilities.

Access to appropriate financial resources strengthens and broadens community enterprises and is crucial to the financial sustainability of these businesses. We have a financial education process to ensure responsible access to tailored financing.

We are working alongside financial institutions, creating customized financing models which can enable access to agriculture credit for these businesses.

We offer strategic advisory assistance, financial education and financial monitoring services. In addition, we are currently testing models for guarantees, credit recovery, and short-term loans to enable credit access
in formal markets and business leverage.

Partners: Banco da Amazônia, Cresol, Fundo Vale, Good Energies

The Conexsus Fund offers the following services:

Financial Support

Financial assessment and financial education


that enable co-operatives to access rural credit lines available via financial institutions

Small loans

tailored to community and small enterprises, with values ranging from US$ 10k to US$ 100k.

Credit Recovery

many cooperatives and associations have small bank debts and aren’t able to apply for new loans; Conexsus Fund is able to apply for loans on their behalf, so they can regain their lending capacity.

Our Progress

Learn more about what Conexsus is doing to accelerate the ecosystem of community enterprises in Brazil.

Businesses Modelling and Acceleration

We support and offer assistance to community enterprises that have a social-environmental impact and a demonstrated potential to grow and scale up.

- results -


community businesses mapped


enterprises trained


enterprises analyzed through Paths to Development

R$ 800M

R$ 800 million in annual revenue


community businesses in the Amazon currently being modeled


enterprises accelerated


thousand people directly involved


agroforestry startups under evaluation

Business for the Earth

Our approach begins with a demand side perspective. We have identified what, how and under which conditions 85 companies are willing to increase their supply chains of products from sociobiodiverse and family agriculture operations.


potential buyers with demand known


products demanded


commercial partnerships under development

- where they are at -
- where they want to buy from -
- what they want to buy -

Sustainable Financial Practice

We intermediate more than 30 relationships between community enterprises and financial agents to build trust, knowledge and relationships that are essential to generating long-term partnerships. We have created risk analysis worksheets for specific value chains in partnership with financial institutions, such as community-managed tropical timber and açaí operations. We have also conducted a global study of the value chain for the Brazil nut, including demand for financing and investment.


enterprises with access to credit loans


R$ 6 million in solid agreements with banks


R$ 15 million expected investment in upcoming projects

About Us

We are a nonprofit organization committed to the development of an ecosystem that promotes community enterprises based on biodiversity and sustainable agriculture that protect forests and biomes.

We operate on three interrelated strategies:

  • Structure and scale up community enterprises with social and environmental impact
  • Develop financial vehicles to increase access to credit and tailored investment
  • Build new market opportunities and relationships with buyers

We operate through a decentralized and dynamic network of social entrepreneurs and associates committed to improving Brazil’s sustainable community business ecosystem. Our organization is led by an Executive Board and a fiscal committee.

Our Mission

Our mission is to contribute to the low-carbon economy, structuring and leveraging community businesses with social and environmental impact to promote local development and protect our forests and biomes.


Partnership and commitment

We value long-term relationships with small farmers, traditional populations, indigenous groups and other partners who create and maintain opportunities for quality, sustainable agricultural and forest production.


We value the responsible management of resilient land, forests and natural landscapes, which provides the basis for environmental conservation and for sustainable agriculture and extraction.


We value innovative tools and strategies that support and connect farmers and extractors with market, financing and business assistance.


We believe financing these businesses is essential to ensuring sustainable food security. Therefore, we create business opportunities for family farmers, extractors, associations and cooperatives, valuing their role in environmental conservation and social improvement.


Our partnerships are based on honesty and on the transparency of our actions and intention.

Why are
we unique
in this

  • Networking with dozens of organizations and enterprises
  • Team with experience in various and complementary subjects
  • Field work with community businesses
  • Risks shared with partners
  • Structuring innovative financial mechanisms

Our History

We created Conexsus in 2016 to enhance sustainable connections between community businesses, financial solutions, buyers and a broad network of partner organizations that are already dedicated to fostering sustainable supply chains and social businesses.

Our inspiration to create a new social organization in Brazil draws on our associates long experience with promoting rural and forest development, forest conservation strategies deforestation strategies, and strategic philanthropy.

Together with a broad network of partners, we are building a service platform for community organizations to improve their business models, gain autonomy and economic sustainability. We believe that in doing so, we can create socio-biodiversity and sustainable agriculture production chains that preserve biomes and develop territories in a more fair and inclusive manner.

Our Team

Our team has several years of experience in small-scale farming,
credit loans, scaling up businesses, public policies, education and capacity building.

Valmir Ortega

Executive Director

Carina Pimenta

Operations Director

Cíntia Andrade

Managing Director

Read about our values and our history
and meet our associates and partners.