Innovative solutions - company visits on a business trip to Brazil

Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU) is a partner of the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute in Brazil. An agreement concluded in 2018 lay the foundation for joint activities.

Professor Veronica Angelica Freitas de Paula, who paid a working visit to Finland last spring, had organised a really interesting programme for me in Uberlândia.

One of the companies we visited was Zenpet ( The company’s promise is Peace of mind for pet lovers.

Pets are one of the fastest growing business sectors. In Brazil alone, there are 65 million households with at least one pet. When I talked to the entrepreneur, we noted that there has been a huge change in attitudes towards animals during our lifetime. Dogs, for example, are no longer kept in their kennels in the garden; they share the same living spaces with the family members.

The data from Brazil illustrates the importance of pets:

61% treat their pet as a child

23% allow their pet to share the bed with them

79% are concerned about their pet's diet

89% are concerned about their pet's health

I wonder what the corresponding figures in Finland would be like?

Zenpet has developed a food dispenser with smart technology, a service application and data analytics for nutritionally correct feeding of pets. In addition to pet tutors, the company's customers and partners include veterinarians and producers of pet nutrients. This innovative start-up is looking for additional funding to launch production.

What can you do with a large property that was supposed to be a shopping centre?

Eurolatino acquired the property and its neighbouring areas and decided to convert it into a 'shopping centre for health services'. The lessors in this property acquired in 2013 include laboratories, private medical centres and similar, and Eurolatino has also established its own private hospital. In 2014, the hospital had 22 patient rooms but has since expanded its operations. It has more than 500 staff members, and once the latest extension has been completed, this number will go up to around one thousand.

Its eight top-of-the-range operating theatres will be used 24/7, and around one thousand operations will be carried out each month. Private doctors can receive their patients in the hospital’s consultation rooms regularly or rent one on an occasional basis.

The hospital is proud of the high technology it uses. Robotics is used in surgery, and the ERP system has been tailored to serve all actors. In addition to technology, the hospital has also invested in patient comfort and solutions that promote healing.

The property hosts health sector development companies, and Eurolatino also has its own testing company, which has been certified in compliance with Brazilian and US legislation.

There are great contrasts in this beautiful country. Not everyone has access to a private hospital. I realise that I have only seen a small part of this country and its everyday reality. After all, the surface area of Brazil is about twice that of the European Union. Finland's population seems very small compared to the over 210 million Brazilians. But where the interests coincide, good preconditions exist for cooperation.

Eija-Riitta Niinikoski, Development Manager, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute

P.S. The costs of this business trip were paid CAPES, an organisation under the Brazilian Ministry of Education.