Lemann: 'I've experienced many crises; this one will also pass'

Businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann, founder of the group 3G Capital, said it is important to stay focused and move forward in the crisis scenario generated by the pandemic of the new coronavirus. "I've lived through many crises. I was born five days before World War II," said the 80-year-old businessman, who said he has gone through 10 to 11 crises throughout his life.

"It's important to stay calm, adjust to change and innovate," Lemann said. He said his strategy is to evaluate and think about the best opportunities generated by the crisis, but never give up. "It is important to move forward. This crisis, which must be bigger than many people think, will pass."

Lemann participated on Saturday, 9, by videoconference, of the Brazil Conference at Harvard & MIT, an annual event promoted by Brazilian students in Boston, USA, broadcast by the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, together with the CEO of Venezuelan brewery Polar, Lorenzo Mendoza, and Verônica Serra, of Innova Capital, a former Harvard scholar.

The entrepreneur reiterated that education is key to the development of countries. "I have six children, seven grandchildren, I like Brazil and I want to see it be a competitive and prosperous country." He recalled his education support initiatives in which he promotes the distribution of scholarships and encourages teaching programs for teachers. "What I do is just a drop in the ocean of the enormous needs that Brazil needs for education."

Among the initiatives, the billionaire said, are programs to support public education carried out in the municipality of Sobral, Ceará, well evaluated by the Basic Education Development Index (IDEB).

"We have invested in education, as well as Itaú and Natura and many other companies. There is progress and awareness of this need," said the entrepreneur. "We are not doing as fast as the other countries, progress has been happening slowly, but it has happened," he said.

He told us what changed in his covid-19 routine. Without making business trips, the businessman says he has invested his time, isolated with his family in his home in Switzerland, reading and thinking.

"I used to stay the equivalent of 30 days a year inside the plane, no more than a week in one place," said he, who has attended distance meetings. "I'm loving Zooming," he said of the videoconferencing system.

-The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.
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