Knowing good stories of the Portuguese economy – Business Initiatives

“We went through and are going through disruptive moments, first with a pandemic for two years, now the war in Ukraine. But our companies have shown resilience, enormous capacity to adapt, so, more than ever, we are eager to know good stories, good examples, that can inspire other companies and other personalities”, said Patrícia Madeira, responsible for Santander’s corporate strategy, as a way of summarizing the philosophy embodied by the Portugal Inspirador Award. In her opinion, most companies in Portugal had the ability to transform and adapt to new contexts. She underlines that companies were stronger to face the economic and social crisis caused by the pandemic than in previous crises.

The Portugal Inspirador Award covers four areas: agriculture, tourism and services, sustainability and social economy, and innovation, technology and industry. “They make a difference in the Portuguese business fabric and have a very important relevance”, guarantees Patrícia Madeira. And, he emphasizes, in addition to “being strategic for the country, they are strategic for Santander”. “These are areas that we want to reward, recognize, because they make a difference and are inspiring.”

more transformation

If, on the one hand, agriculture has undergone a major transformation, including digital, tourism, which had a great weight in service exports before the pandemic, has lived through difficult times. “It was in almost total recession and is reinventing itself, finding new ways to attract customers and showing some resistance in this new disruption that we are experiencing”, said Patrícia Madeira. In tourism, in the accommodation and catering category, in 2020, 79% of their companies will reduce their sales volume. On the other hand, in agriculture, most companies increased their turnover, and a little more than 40% contracted, according to data from Informa D&B.

[A agricultura] has been in almost total recession and is reinventing itself, finding new ways to attract customers and showing resistance. Patrícia Madeira, Head of Santander’s corporate strategy

“Companies have been more concerned with putting these ESG (Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance) criteria into their activities, rethinking their business models, especially in aspects such as decarbonization, and contributing to a greater green economy. companies to look at sustainability as a whole, not just energy. This concern has been growing, and it is very much in the top of management’s mind that companies are more sustainable and economically responsible”, guarantees Patrícia Madeira.

He stressed that the social economy has played a fundamental role over the years in Portugal and that its modernization has undergone greater specialization. These organizations (IPSS, Santas Casas, for example) are increasingly working with business plans focused on helping and promoting well-being, but also with a medium and long-term sustainability horizon and more professionalization”.

The bank helps with the solution

The Santander manager points out that today companies are more solvent, financially stronger and more stable, and that banking was part of the solution, for example, through moratoriums. Two years ago, Santander, as soon as Covid-19 started, took immediate actions to ensure that companies continued their activities and maintained their business.

In these troubled times, with a war on the doorstep of the European Union, the strategy is the same. But Patrícia Madeira has no doubts that adjustments will have to be made because of the increases in the price of fuel, raw materials and intermediate materials. “We are close to our customers to understand their investment plans, the changes to be made, how to move some short-term investments to the medium and long term, and so that their business continues to flow in the best possible way”.

Aid could come from initiatives and aid and even implementation of European funds, the PRR, with its grants. This support can ensure that companies maintain, at least, stability from a treasury point of view and the ability to face investments that were already planned. “Our main priority is to make these funds available to these companies, the protocol lines that may exist as soon as possible so that they have stability from the point of view of treasury and liquidity”, concludes Patrícia Madeira.

Prize: the criteria and the jury

The Portugal Inspirador Award, side by side with companies, aims to distinguish and promote companies and personalities that stand out in different sectors of activity. This award has no candidacies, it is by selection, and has a jury of 16 personalities.

The Portugal Inspirador Award is an initiative of Santander, Jornal de Negócios, Correio da Manhã and counts on Informa D&B and Accenture as “knowledge partners”. Its objective is to give visibility to companies that operate in Portugal and that stand out for their ability to create jobs, boost the market, innovate, boost economic development, and which, globally, contribute the most to the growth of the national economy.

The award has four categories: Agriculture, Tourism and Services, Sustainability and Social Economy and Innovation, Technology and Industry. Three prizes are awarded within the categories – Great Company Prize, PME Prize, Personality of the Year Prize -, which gives a total of 12 prizes to be awarded.

The selection of candidates
The selection of candidates has the following steps. It started by defining the criteria for each of the categories, carried out by Accenture. Based on predefined criteria, Informa D&B identifies and selects candidates and validates the companies’ eligibility. Then, Informa D&B provides the information to the judges, four personalities in each of the four categories, who choose the winners.

The Agriculture Jurors
Gabriela Cruz, president of APOSOLO – Portuguese Soil Conservation Mobilization Association;
Joaquim Pedro Torres, general director of Valinveste;
Jose Pedro Salema, chairman of the Board of Directors of EDIA;
Sandra Tavares da Silva, winemaker at Wine & Soul.

Innovation, Technology and Industry
Carlos Oliveira, co-founder and executive president of Fundação José Neves;
Paulo Pereira daSilva, executive president of Renova;
Pedro Santa Clara, Shaken not Stirred partner.

Sustainability and Social Economy
Clara Raposo, president of ISEG;
Filipe Duarte Santos, president of the National Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development;
Maria do Céu Ramos, secretary-general of the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation;
Pedro Norton de Matos, founder and organizer of Greenfest and Bluefest.

Tourism and Services
Hélia Pereira, rector of the European University;
Luis Araújo, president of Turismo de Portugal;
Nuno Botelho, president of the Porto Commercial Association.

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