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Hall of Fame / Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind


Gabriel Mayr Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Many inspirational entrepreneurs have ideas that can change the world, and in Gabriel Mayr’s case this involves reducing social exclusion of blind people through sport.

In 2005, Gabriel brought together a small group of young physical education teachers and visually impaired athletes to form a non-profit enterprise to promote sports and cultural initiatives for blind and visually impaired people.

Gabriel approached Shell Iniciativa Jovem, the Shell LiveWIRE programme in Brazil, in the very early stages of his entrepreneurial journey, and was given the advice and training to develop a viable and sustainable business plan for his company, Urece Sports and Culture.

Urece quickly established its reputation as a pioneer in the field of visually impaired and paralympic sports. Its achievements included producing the country’s first blind Alpine skier and the very first women’s visually impaired five-a-side football team from Brazil to win the world cup in 2009.

Today, Urece has grown to achieve a turnover of US $300k and employs ten staff, and its work has been recognised by leading international agencies including the UN, FIFA and UNICEF.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Urece delivered the audio descriptive commentary at four of the Brazilian stadiums for the benefit of visually impaired spectators.

Urece is also actively engaged in regional initiatives to enable sport to be a vehicle for social change and is involved in sporting and cultural exchanges with countries including Argentina, Paraguay and the Czech Republic.

With Urece’s growing influence in the development of visually impaired athletes, it will be no surprise if more Brazilian sports people win medals at future Paralympics, including in Brazil in 2016.

In recognition of his desire to use his entrepreneurial acumen for social good, Gabriel was featured in the video for Shell’s #makethefuture campaign, which aims to encourage the young bright ideas that can change the world.



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