In the 1990’s, Brazil´s Federal Government started a set of policies for the IT sector. One of the main actions was The Information Technology Strategic Development Project (DESI), created by a partnership between the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the United Nations Program for Development in Brazil (PNUD). DESI had SOFTEX 2000 – National Software Program for Exports as one of its three sub programs, whose main goal was to stimulate the creation of a Brazilian Software Industry for exports.
In 1994 the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), through the official act Portaria MCTI nº 200, elected SOFTEX 2000 as an IT Priority Program in the scope of the Federal Law nº 8.248/91, also known as Informatics Law, allowing companies operating in Brazil to have access to fiscal benefits in exchange of directing resources to R&D in the country.
At the end of 1996, SOFTEX – The Association for Promoting the Excellence of Brazilian Software, was created and immediately nominated, by Portaria MCTI nº 142, as the manager of SOFTEX Program.
In 2002, through Portaria MCTI nº 386, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation reconfirms the SOFTEX Program as a Priority Program in IT in the scope of the then newly created Federal Law 10.176/01.
As from 2003, the article 1 from Portaria MCTI 051 regulated the use of the fiscal benefits mentioned in the article 4 of the Federal Law 8.248/91, determining the celebration of cooperation agreements with priority programs established by CATI – Information Technology Area Committee. Resolution no. 1 from CATI followed immediately, stating that the SOFTEX program, managed by SOFTEX, was to be considered a priority program of national interest within the IT and automation area.
In 2004 SOFTEX, until then known as Brazilian Society for the Promotion of Software Exports, is renamed Association for Promoting the Excellence of Brazilian Software, not only to be in accordance with the newly promulgated Civil Code, but also to more accurately reflect the broadening of its operational scope, no longer devoted exclusively towards exports.
Along 2006 a strategic plan was developed with inputs from all the parties involved with the SOFTEX System, allowing for the revision of its Mission, Vision and Guidelines. The output of this effort was consolidated in a Reference Term that was approved by CATI trough Resolução No. 28 de 11/12/2006. The Document remains valid until today and provide guidance to the operations of SOFTEX and its Agents.
More recently, in 2009, it was developed and approved by the board an Innovation Policy for SOFTEX, in accordance with the Federal Law 10.973/04 (known as Innovation Law), taking into account that the association executes countess activities related to a Scientific & Technological Institution (ICT), as well as its agents, among which many are officially recognized as private ICTs.
Since its beginning, SOFTEX has developed many innovative projects and support actions for the software and IT services sector in Brazil. Among those the most relevant ones are:
• Dissemination of the notion of entrepreneurship and of the culture of business plans among small and medium enterprises;
• Direct influence in the creation, by BNDES, of a line of credit targeting specifically software and IT services companies operating in Brazil;
• Active participation in the creation of the main export consortiums in operation in the country nowadays.