Impacta: Remaining the Number One IT Education Group in Brazil

Impacta is an education group which has been acting in the IT certification and the IT training fields for more than 20 years. The company’s Founder and CEO, Célio Antunes de Souza, gives an overview of Impacta and discusses new projects.

Interview with Célio Antunes de Souza, Founder and CEO of Impacta

Célio Antunes de Souza

Let us talk about what happened during the last two years. We already know Impacta’s history and we would like to talk about what changed since. The last time we talked, you had several interesting international links/connections. Impacta had a technical partnership with the German Chamber of Commerce and we would like to know how the partnership is going.

The partnership exists for more than 8 years. They came to us to participate in a course about the needs of the German industry in Brazil. To do that, they made more than € 700,000 worth of equipment available to us and we managed the course: the telecommunications course, the mechatronics course. We also had a course of top mechatronics to meet the needs of this particular audience.

The Brazilian market, in terms of technical courses, is changing, and we are seeking validation from the Government program PRONATEC (a program to create technical courses through Universities) to offer certified courses that will probably start next month.

We will have a very big growth in terms of technical courses, because the government pays for 100% of the courses costs. The courses will be free of charge for students, and you cannot compete on the market without free of charge courses.

The former Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, created the PROUNI, a scholarship program that does not charge any fees to students, but universities do not provide jobs or tools to find a job. President Dilma created PRONATEC, so that people can have technical training and a job.

A student can train with me for as long as 20 years if he/she wants to; he has training, certification, post-grad, MBA… I do have students that are studying in Impacta for 20 years, so that is really a life project, a complete circle.


So, that is a project with a great impact.

Yes, it is. The result of the accreditation process is about to come out and, since it’s a free of charge course, I spoke to some associations which already are waiting for the accreditation to send the students to us.

With the college growth, we moved into a building that is 3 times bigger than the older one. With this new building, we can meet this project’s needs.

The last time we spoke, I remember you mentioned a partnership with the McKenzie College in Canada. How is the present situation?

Since McKenzie is very academic and we offer a practical course, the result was not as expected. This project became small and, today, it does not exist anymore.

But you made a distance learning project, didn’t you?

Brazil, as a country, is huge, and people are very far from us (and it is difficult to move around Brazil). No one can take a plane to come and take a course in Impacta. With we are growing in terms of student numbers. It is a smaller project but it represents the future.

Our courses are quality courses and anyone can have access to them. Due to that factor, we have been having a lot of demand and we are producing 3 new courses every month (our portfolio has almost 400 courses).

What about the partnership with e-learning companies called Element-Key or Soft-key?

Impacta education

98% of Brazilian people speak only Portuguese and only 2% speak or understand English. If you place an e-learning course in English on your site, it will not sell.

The solution is to do what we are doing: everything nicely done in Portuguese with chat and support in Portuguese. This language barrier is kind of important to us because if the Brazilian people could speak English, I really do not know if Impacta would still exist – you can imagine how many “giants” would have already opened branches over here. Here in Brazil, all material has to be translated into Portuguese.

Does that mean Impacta is still number 1 in its sector in Brazil?

Yes. Researches were made that show we still are. But we cannot stand still, we have to innovate, otherwise the competition will surpass us.

Impacta offers a profound knowledge. Our modules are very complete and the content of the courses is very good. Those who want to be certified through these courses and have a place on the job market have to pay for the training, spending, at least, BRL 10,000. When the hiring companies hire us to find qualified professional, they are certain to spend less time reading resumes to find great candidates. If they hire a less expensive and not so good qualifying company, they will definitely spend a lot of time reading resumes in search of a “lost genie”. Due to our quality, we are being targeted as a great source of qualified students. The HR departments of more than 25,000 legal clients have Impacta as their first choice to select and hire human resources.

It was a good idea to have more companies like Impacta, because there are international investors that might be interested in investing in Brazil, but just will not do it due to the lack of qualified people.

A simple and low cost course does not result in job opportunities. Impacta has little competition on the market and we are making some partnerships with schools that want to have quality contents on their courses: we train their teachers and we supply course material.

We are actually our own bank, since we have to finance ourselves. We do not want to go to the bank: interest rates are very high in Brazil and, normally, only rich people get loans from the bank. If you ask for a credit, banks will make a promissory note for the double of the amount you asked for, and they will additionally charge you an interest rate of 7%, which is unbearable.

Impacta training group

Since you are not going to banks, is there an interest in earing some potential investors?

Of course, I’m interested. But, if there is an investment, I want to continue on the board of directors, because this is a very specific business and to keep on growing Impacta needs to have people that know the sector managing it.

I have already hired Ernst & Young to perform the company evaluation and to make Impacta a more transparent company. Ernst & Young is actually showing us what is being done correctly and what needs to be improved. This evaluation is going to give us a solid base to talk to possible investors.

In the next few years, which type of courses will you be offering and on which sector will you be investing more?

I want to grow and there is a huge market. I was able to find a course model that is perfect in terms of content and duration.

Content licencing is a very interesting area and that is why we are creating partnerships with some and licencing others. Like I said before, we are training their teachers and they use our course material.

If I were to open new schools, there would be costs for renting the space, hiring and paying teachers’ salaries, etc. and the profit margin would be very low. That is why we are trying to grow on that area: course licencing.

I have made a partnership with Peru and they translated several courses into Spanish. They are already teaching courses with Impacta’s material. The idea is also to licence the material for other Spanish speaking countries and maybe translate into other languages and sell it to other countries.

Our courses are of high standards and they really prepare professionals on their way to certification.

Another one of our goals is to grow in terms of distance learning. On that field, we depend on the Ministry of Education: there is some bureaucracy issues. We presented a project and were waiting for the results for 2 years. They criticised a small thing on the project and we preferred to withdraw it and present a new one. We know that there are people thinking we are going to enter the market to make a load of money.

Do you have any strategy in terms of internationalization or do you want to stay in Brazil?

The best thing would be to grow in terms of distance learning. The Internet connection is improving every day and if we were able to take our course material and translate it into other languages, it would all be simpler, since we don’t have to worry about renting spaces.

Are your courses already translated into English?

Yes, but that means competing at an international level.

Brazil IT training

Are you going to compete internationally?

I see no problem with that. When you have a quality product being sold virtually, you reach a lot of people which might be interested in a quality course. All we need is to market our products digitally.

When I started my own business 25 years ago, there was no credit for business. To have some visibility as a company you had to go to fairs and pay for expensive stands, you had to print expensive brochures, you had to publicize on the radio or on TV, which were also very expensive. Nowadays, with some money you can advertise your company, products or services.

Is the translation into other languages already being done or not yet?

The course (with class attendance) is already translated into Spanish.

You already started licencing in Peru, but you could do the same thing with 500 different languages. Are you thinking about that?

Yes, of course. I talk a lot about the subject with other business persons in other countries.

Which projects are you momentanely interested in developing?

Distance learning, learning material licencing, learning material translation into several languages. If I do all that, I will spend a lot of money and we have to take into account that these are projects that are born small but tend to grow, and we are really in need of partnerships to make things happen.

First I have to profit from the courses to be able to invest that profit into the translation of courses into another language.

You wrote a book called “Carreira 360 Graus” (Career 360 Degrees). What was your goal when you wrote that book?

Carreira 360 Graus

I’m planning on writing more books, because many people want me to write about my life experience as a businessman.

To sell a book you have to find a publisher and the Editora Gente, a very well-known publisher in Brazil, accepted the task. The owner of Editora Gente had also asked me if I was not interested in writing a book about my professional experience. He told me he was going to see what I had to offer and what the market buys. He considered that the career orientation business was huge and that the book should be about that subject.

In every project you have, you have to see it as a whole and you have to have the “vision of the complete circle”.

A student can train with me for as long as 20 years if he/she wants to; he has training, certification, post-grad, MBA… I do have students that are studying in Impacta for 20 years, so that is really a life project, a complete circle (360 degrees).

When someone wants to start a business, he or she has to know the area. If the person doesn’t study a little bit of management, the person will not understand the area they want to work on.


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