The growing establishment of Brazilian businesses in South Florida that commenced in the late 1970s rapidly brought about the need for a business exchange forum between Brazilian and U.S. firms. Under the tutelage of Thomas J. Skola, the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce (Miami), Inc. was created in November 1981 with Mr. Skola's law office serving as the Chamber's office and corporate address.
During the 1980s, the Chamber initiated a series of monthly luncheons featuring speakers involved in Brazilian-American business issues. The luncheons quickly became popular venues for the exchange of ideas within the Brazilian-American business community. In 1987, the Chamber began publication of a monthly newsletter, Chamber News, to inform members of Chamber activities and to reach members in distant locations who could not attend the Miami luncheons.
In 1989, the Chamber inaugurated its own office in the Miami World Trade Center, and thereafter appointed a full-time Executive Director. These developments allowed the Chamber to significantly expand the level and array of services that its growing membership required. In 1992, the Chamber's name was changed to the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida to reflect the expansion of its activities beyond greater Miami.
In 1997, the Chamber added new services and programs for the benefit of members. These included the ID Card Program, Group Health Insurance Plan, Internship Program and Chamber Notes fax notices. During 1998, the Chamber initiated a series of workshop seminars focusing on small business issues and developed and established its own website to provide timely information of interest to members. To further promote bilateral trade and investment, agreement was reached with the Associação Comercial de São Paulo (ACSP) allowing the Chamber to offer ASCP's information services directly to members. Late in 1998, the Chamber was awarded a grant by BellSouth to assist in small business development.
The Chamber serves as Florida's leading organization linking U.S.-Brazil business. With over 300 members, the Chamber is one of the largest bi-national chambers of commerce in Florida and serves as a key vehicle of communication, cooperation and development for the Brazilian-American business community.
The mission of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida is to foster business relations and partnerships in order to increase trade and investments between Brazil and South Florida.
The main objectives of the Chamber are to keep its members and the community at large informed and up-to-date on political, social, economic and technological developments that may affect trade and investments in both countries.
How the Chamber Operates
The Chamber is an independent non-profit organization, run by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of representatives from member companies. The Board elects officers, determines Chamber policies and nominates committee chairpersons. Day-to-day operations are carried out by the Executive Director.