Chasing Funds: Start-ups from a Global Value Chains Approach




This article investigates the role of Brazilian legislation in the (re)production of subordinate forms of incorporation of peripheral countries in global value chains (GVCs) through new dynamics for the extraction of value intermediated by international systems of investment. The purpose is to show how financial deregulation contributes to “putting-out” research and development (R&D) labs of major brands, and serves as a way of exploring casual and flexible hiring schemes for skilled workers. To this end, the article explores the financing policies for the Brazilian innovation system, whose aim is to promote the inclusion of higher value-added activities in the GVCs through the connection of national innovative micro-enterprises to direct financial investments, a strategy considered fundamental to boost the country’s industrialisation. The analysis focuses on two Calls for Funds for technology-based start-ups, a category of micro-business where investments have been stimulated due to such policies. The results reveal how leading companies in global value chains have been using this rentier development model to reduce costs in R&D activities by sharing the risks of innovation and transferring labour charges to start-ups, advancing the casualisation of work for skilled workers. In this context, casual employment with no labour rights has turned countries at a low level of industrialisation, like Brazil, into an attraction to the dynamics of the CGVs.

KEYWORDS: start-ups; global value chains; production funding; casualisation of work; putting-out system

Author Biography

Simone Wolff, State University of Londrina (Universidade Estadual de Londrina - UEL)

Associate Professor
Graduate Program in Sociology
Department of Social Sciences
Londrina State University, Brazil