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Eteams Report Centro


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The Report on SMEs Support Policies and Practices in Centro Region, Portugal

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Eteams Report Centro

  1. 1. INTERREG IIIC operation “Interregional Entrepreneurial Teams” (3E0010I E-teams) The Report on SMEs Support Policies and Practices in Centro Region September, 2005
  2. 2. The Report has been based on “The benchmark system for SMEs support policies and practices” developed by Sigmund Barczyk, Content Advisory Board (Slaskie, PL) and Marcin Baron, Project Co-ordinator with support of: Artur Ochojski, Regional Co-ordinator (Slaskie, PL) and Bogumił Szczupak, Content Advisory Board (Slaskie, PL) with inputs by: Stasys Bielinis, Regional Co-ordinator (Klaipeda, LT) and John Vourdoubas, Content Advisory Board (Kriti, GR) This document has been produced within the “Interregional Entrepreneurial Teams (E-teams)” project, co-ordinated by The Karol Adamiecki University of Economics in Katowice, Poland. The project is part-funded by the European Union under the Community Initiative Programme INTERREG IIIC East Zone. The document has been elaborated and composed by AUTHOR(S) Carlos Cerqueira Rui Miranda (Instituto Pedro Nunes) Filipe Neves (IPN Incubadora) 2
  3. 3. Contents I. MAPPING A REGION KEY ISSUES, KEY RELATIONS AND STRUCTURES I.1 Region’s profile and attributes-from business point of view Region’s basic data Type of the region. Interregional context of region’s profile Basic business profile of region Employees and prerequisites for labour market dynamics Costs of location Legal profile in business making context Innovation profile Communication standards Some other specific attributes Region’s attractiveness- uniqueness Regional/local competitive advantage I.2 Business profile of region Main relations and proportions Business structure dynamics I.3 Mapping the SMEs in regional context SMEs –basic data Business profile of SMEs I.3.1 Key factors affecting SME sector dynamics Cultural codes affecting patterns of enterprising Access to labour. Skills and competence Innovation as a change and success factor Creativity as a factor. New trends in making business Large companies impact (Strategic partners, investors, market creators) Public demand as basic stimuli for making business. Private operating-public funding. (New standard requirements and new fields for call for tender) Clustering and networking as processes facilitating accessibility. Factors profiling business access and development Summing up: Availability as a location factor Summing up: Tendencies/structural changes 3
  4. 4. II. SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR SMEs BENCHMARKING - ACTORS, PROGRAMS, POLICY DOCUMENTS POLICY MAKING PHASE PROVIDER’S PERSPECTIVE II.1. Strategies policies, programs, actors, interrelations, interdependencies II.2. Specific programs and policies SMEs-oriented: women, disabled and exclusion III. SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR SMEs BENCHMARKING - PRACTISES. IMPLEMENTATION PHASE USER’S PERSPECTIVE III.1 DIRECT SUPPORT to SMEs III.1.1 Improving access to the capital. Financing, funding, capital supply, financial and market expertise III.1.2 Improving access to knowledge and market/business information III.1.3 Improving innovation support III.1.4 Improving access to labour market III.1.5 Improving access to good institutional standards for making business. III.1.6 Demand strengthening activities (market extension and diversification): new market opportunities Regional/local authorities as creator of demand and facilitator of market extension for SME products and services Regional/local authorities as facilitator of market extension for welfare services and municipal services Regional/local authorities as facilitator for start ups and spin offs III.1.7 Improving business environment and spatial arrangements III.1.8 Improving access to technical infrastructure and communication standards III 1.9 Improving organisational/administrative support III.1.10 Improving educational support and training - supporting higher competence standards III.1.11 Supporting networks and clusters III.1.12 Encouraging networking and clustering III.2 INDIRECT SUPPORT TO SMEs III.2.1 Learning capacity of regional local authorities. Consequences of plans, programs strategies III.2.2 Managing quality standards due to the strive for regional/local attractiveness III 2.3 Projects and arenas of networking/partnerships in support of SMEs 4
  5. 5. Acknowledgements We would like to thank all our MAP members for their support and collaboration. A special mention goes to the partner CEC – Conselho Empresarial do Centro, for providing the most valuing information in their publication Guia do Investidor da Região Centro (2004). 5
  6. 6. Foreword This Report has intent to be as extensive and complete as possible, knowing that the complexity and multidisciplinary of concepts, the immense array of actors, directly or on indirectly involved, make is it difficult to map it in completely. The information is provided at both national and regional level, regional where available and national as proxy most accurate to evidence the region reality in its support to SMEs. We intent with this report to make a clear and understandable map of SMEs support reality in Centro region, working in a framework that this in its essence a working document to be use as a toll to improve the actors SME support in the region. Despite the availability of data and information, numerous areas of the report are to some extent subjective and, therefore it should be kept in mind that the opinions and views expressed here may be of personal character and represents the authors’ views, experiences and perceptions. 6
  7. 7. I. Mapping the region I.1 Region’s profile and attributes -> Region’s basic data * Identify region’s basic data Table 1. Region’s basic data Population 1.700.000 habitants (17% from Portugal total population) Total area 23.700 Km2 (26% from Portugal surface area) The economic structure has an important weight in the traditional sectors as Key economic sectors the agriculture, which coexists with sectors well integrated in the global and industrial market competitiveness’ dynamics, as the ceramics, metallic products, branches moulding industry, wood agglomerates and the pulp and paper industry. Years GDP per capita em PPC (euros) GDP (M euros) 1995 73,1 80.826,80 1996 73 86.230,30 1997 74 93.014,10 GDP and GDP per 1998 75,4 100.962,60 capita 1999 77,2 108.029,70 2000 77,3 115.548,10 2001 77,2 122.549,60 2002 76,7 128.458,30 2003 74,4 130.511,20 2004 72,8 135.034,90 Type of the region. Interregional context of region’s profile * Describe the type of the region in regard to region’s cross-border boundaries and inter-regional urban and business/industrial structure. Use the hypothetical scale and identify region’s profile: - from metropolitan core region up to peripheral rural region. * Consequently, make a consistent description of the urban structure: - polycentric versus monocentric structure * Identify and make short comment on the density of business locations - spatial dispersion of business - concentrated (in one or many centres) versus dispersed without clear pattern of concentration * Are any identified growth poles for the future development in the region? Growth poles can be described as specific places with concentration of capital and activities affecting positively further prosperity/growth/sustainability - according to documents regarding spatial planning and regional development strategies. 7
  8. 8. * The major strength and weaknesses of the business location (according to region’s strategy and other documents) * Character of region’s productivity (more as jobless growth or more as labour intensive growth of region’s economy) Table 2. Type of the region. Interregional context of region’s profile CHARACTERISATION OF THE REGION: COMPETITIVE POSITION AND PERSPECTIVES OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT The Centre Region, for its geographic position, has a central role in the articulation of the transports systems, at the national level and in its relations to Spain. However, in economical terms, the Centre region is under the centripetal forces of the two great metropolitan regions, especially of Lisbon’s Metropolitan Area, in such a way that the inter-regional articulations with the neighbour regions are stronger that the intra-regional articulations themselves. This positioning of the Centre region has clear effects on the territory’s internal cohesion, in economical, demographic and social terms, giving origin to a space of great territorial and productive diversities where coexist and are interconnected several urban systems, organised around a system of medium cities, but where the current transports and equipment infrastructures net doesn’t guarantee an effective articulation, which is reflected on the definition and afcompanieation of solidarities and of promotion of common interests between economic agents of the region and on their national visibility. Approached on a perspective of territorial differences of the economical activity, the Centre Region offers a vision of a space that shelters a very heterogeneous group of activities’ sectors, of which are highlighted the following nuclei: A group of “industrial districts”, in the northern part of the region (in close connexion with the Entre Douro e Vouga sub region; to the interior, the textile poles that try to surpass the difficulties through attempts of reconversion, not always successful); to south, the glass, moulds and plastics clusters. A certain number of “industrial platforms” and of forest resources and non-metallic materials transformative complexes (Dão-Lafões); Extensive areas of low density, occupied by forestall or agricultural activities, where some poles of industrial transformation of the region’s natural resources stand out (the areas of Pinhal Interior Norte e Sul, Beira Interior Sul e Norte); Services’ activities concentrated in four littoral cities and located in the areas of transition to the interior (Aveiro, Coimbra, Leiria and Viseu); and in the “frontier” cities – Castelo Branco and Guarda. A specific reality around Coimbra, a city strongly specialised in the rendering of health services, with some excellency domains, which has given rise to local initiatives in the sense of the creation in the region of a life sciences thematic park and of the development of a “health row”, centred in the domain of health cares, inducing a set of complementary activities. Cento Region SWOT STRENGTHS Higher education Potential (Universities and poli- technical quality and network) Technological and R&D institutions quality Health sector competences in Coimbra Telecommunications sector competences in Coimbra Good industrial dynamic in sectors like the ceramics, metallic products, moulding industry, wood agglomerates and the pulp and paper industry Historical and architectural patrimony (specially Coimbra University) Tourism potential Natural resources (geological, water, florestal) Human resources Local actors (public and private) commitment and awareness Key role in the national territorial articulation WEAKNESS Strong regional asymmetries Institutional density fragmented and low regional development actors networking Insufficient transport (persons and commodities) infra-structures and intermodalitie Lacking of coherent marketing strategies for the region and its products Low articulation between the R&D network and business sector Low articulation between University and business sector Low demographic dynamics and interior regions desertification 8
  9. 9. Local market small dimension Low internationalization from local firms Industrial sector with short value chain Low intra-regional cities cooperation SME low competitiveness and innovation capabilities OPORTUNITIES Business sector open for innovation strategies and partnerships Strong potential for some market niches (health, telecommunications, ceramics and moulding sectors) Extend the value chain in some traditional sectors (form R&D and design to selling/branding) Thematic tourism exploitation (thermal, ecological, cultural, etc.) R&D for the business sector politics and programs in course THREATS Competitiveness factors based on low cost production human resources (no longer functional) Others regions (East Europe, Asia) offering better alternatives for foreign investment Firms from traditional sectors disappearing (and no replacing form others sectors) Agriculture difficulties to adapt to global markets 9
  10. 10. Basic business profile * Major relations (main proportions and changes): 1. Industrial sector versus service sector Table 3. Industry and service Dynamics 2000 Changes 2001 Changes 2002 Changes 2003 Changes 2004 Changes Sector industry 52 % [ ⇓] ∴ 51 % [ ⇒] ∴ 51 % [ ⇓] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ service 47 % [⇒] ∴ 47 % [⇒] ∴ 47 % [ ⇒] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ Identify proportion (%) and mark the changes ([/]/∴) in the last 5 years 2. Modern (high-tech, knowledge–based) versus traditional, routine based industry Table 4. Modern and traditional Dynamics 2000 Changes 2001 Changes 2002 Changes 2003 Changes 2004 Changes Industry modern 30 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ traditional 70 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ Identify proportion (%) and mark the changes ([/]/∴) in the last 5 years 3. Large businesses versus SMEs Table 5. Large and SMEs Dynamics 2000 Changes 2001 Changes 2002 Changes 2003 Changes 2004 Changes Enterprises large 0,3% [⇓] ∴ 0,1% [⇒] ∴ 0,1% [⇒] ∴ 0,1% [⇒] ∴ [ ] ∴ SMEs 99,7% [⇑] ∴ 99,9% [⇒] ∴ 99,9% [⇒] ∴ 99,9% [⇒] ∴ [ ] ∴ Identify proportion (%) and mark the changes ([/]/∴) in the last 5 years Dynamics of the business * Branch structure of local business and its dynamics Table 6. Branch structure and dynamics Dynamics 2000 Changes 2001 Changes 2002 Changes 2003 Changes 2004 Changes Branch name Agriculture, hunting and 1,95 % [⇑] ∴ 2,35 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ forestry Manufacturing 40,07% [⇓] ∴ 36,85% [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ Construction 8,63 % [⇑] ∴ 9,85 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ Wholesale and sale trade; repair 39,01% [⇑] ∴ 39,38% [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ of motor 10
  11. 11. vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods Transport, storage and 3,22 % [⇑] ∴ 3,57 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ communication Real estate, renting and 2,55 % [⇑] ∴ 2,58 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ business activities Others (includes Education/Health and social work/Other community, 4,58 % [⇑] ∴ 5,42 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ social and personal services activities) Name the branch, identify proportion (%) and mark the changes ([/]/∴) in the last 5 years Employees and prerequisites for labour market in the region * Unemployment, jobs, mobility Table 7. Unemployment Dynamics 2000 Changes 2001 Changes 2002 Changes 2003 Changes 2004 Changes Type General 2 ,2 % [⇑] ∴ 2,8 % [⇑] ∴ 3,1 % [⇑] ∴ 3,6 % [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ unemployment with academic [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ 10,94% [⇓] ∴ 10,26% [⇑ ] ∴ diplomas Unemployed young [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [⇓] ∴ 17,87% [⇓] ∴ 17,01% [⇒] ∴ people at the age [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ 18,78% [⇑] ∴ 19,29% [⇓] ∴ of 55+ women [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ 59,12% [⇑] ∴ 60,60% [⇓] ∴ 59,50% [⇑ ] ∴ Identify proportion (%) and mark the changes ([/]/∴) in the last 5 years Table 8. Recruitment and job opportunities (high and low demand) Demand 2000 Demand 2001 Demand 2002 Demand 2003 Demand 2004 Demand employees qualified [ ∴ [ ∴ [ low ⇑ ∴ [ low ⇒∴ [ low ∴ unqualified [ ∴ [ ∴ [ high ⇓ ∴ [ high ⇒∴ [ high ∴ Identify demand and mark the changes ([/∴) in the last 5 years Table 9. Mobility of employees - workers moving in and out Dynamics 2000 Changes 2001 Changes 2002 Changes 2003 Changes 2004 Changes Workers 11
  12. 12. Non moving in [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ available Non moving out [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ [ ] ∴ available Identify proportion (%) and mark the changes ([/]/∴) in the last 5 years Cost of location * The average cost in comparison with neighbour regions Table 10. Cost of location Region yours neighbour neighbour neighbour (Centro) (LVT) (Norte) (Alentejo) Cost of: labour 9688 (year 2002) 14070 9842 9674 housing 2051 (year 2000) 2452 2274 1783 land hiring rooms for business activities Put appropriate names in the headline and identify the 2004 averages (€) Legal profile in the context of making business * Describe the region in terms of: - strong property rights legislation and enforcements - favourable contractual law and enforcement - favourable environmental legislation - favourable fiscal legislation: tax discounts, low social security contributions, exemptions from import duties Table 11. Legal profile and making business 12
  13. 13. The current Portuguese Tax System was adopted in the mid-1980s to synchronize national legislation with the various directives of the European Tax System adopted within the European Community. The tax system presently in force is constituted by a set of state and local taxes levied on income, net wealth and expenditure, in addition to other taxes imposed on certain particular deeds or situations. There are also Social Security Contributions. The most important current taxes are: 1. Tax on the Income of Individuals (IRS) is regulated by the Individual Income Tax Code, as enacted by Decree-Law 442-A/88 of 30 November 1988, as amended. 2. CORPORATE INCOME TAX (IRC) Corporate Income Tax is regulated by the Corporate Income Tax Code (IRC Code), as enacted by Decree - Law 442-B/88 of 30 November 1988, with subsequent amendments, and applies to income and capital gains earned by the companies in Portugal. Scope of tax Under applicable provisions of the IRC Code the following entities are subject to Portuguese Corporate Income Tax: - Companies and other legal entities with their registered office or an effective place of management in Portugal whose main activities are carried out in the commercial, industrial, or agricultural fields. - Companies and other legal entities with head offices or an effective place of management in Portugal which carry out activities in the commercial, industrial or agricultural fields by way of ancillary activities. - Legal entities which do not have their registered office or an effective place of management in Portugal but have a branch or a permanent residence in Portugal. - Entities without either registered offices or an effective place of management or a permanent establishment in Portugal, which earn income and/or capital gains, considered to arise from a Portuguese source. Fiscal transparency Relevant dispositions of the IRC Code stipulate that taxable profits of entities with head office or effective place of management in Portugal are directly attributable to the members or shareholders irrespective of dividend distribution and taxed according to the applicable rules either of Individual Income Tax Code or of the Corporate Income Tax Code, where such entities are: - Companies incorporated under the form of Civil Companies with Commercial Capacity; - Professional partnerships; - Civil companies constituted for the management of assets, whenever the majority of the share capital belongs either to a family group for more than 183 days or to a maximum five shareholders, none of which can be a legal entity governed by public law. IRC GENERAL RATES Entity Rate (%) Resident entities or branches of non-resident entities whose main activity is of a commercial, industrial or agricultural nature: 30 % (Plus a Municipal surcharge levied by many local tax authorities,(up to 10% over the principal rate). Non-resident entities without a permanent establishment in Portugal: 25 % 3. Value Added TAX (VAT) is regulated by the Value Added Tax Code, as enacted by Decree–Law 394-B/84 of 26 December 1984, as amended. 4. Tax on property, is regulated by the Municipal Tax Code, as enacted by Decree– Law 442–C/88 of 30 November 1988. 5. Stamp duty is regulated by Law no. 150/1999 of 11 September 1999 (Stamp Duty Code), as amended Companies in Portugal are regulated by the Portuguese Commercial Code, Decree–Law 262/86 of 2 September 1986, with subsequent revisions. In accordance to the Commercial Companies Law, corporate entities abide by the law where their head office is located, and primary business location. Nevertheless, companies that have a statutory head-office in Portugal, with the actual head office and business situated abroad are subject to Portuguese jurisdiction. Companies with a foreign head office, who wish to carry out commercial activities in Portugal for longer than one year, must establish a permanent representation in the country regulated by Portuguese law. Legal phases to set up a company in Portugal 1. Define company’s principal activity & corporate name: Shareholders wishing to incorporate a company in Portugal must apply for a corporate name certificate at the Registry of Company Names (Registo Nacional de Pessoas Colectivas). After the approval of the corporate name, the Registry will issue a certificate of registration together with a provisional tax registration card. 2. Request a Public Registry Deed: Establish a date for the Public Registry of the company at the Notary Office. 3. Celebrate the Public Deed: Draw up the Articles of Incorporation and execute the company deed: these must be signed and sealed by public notary. 4. Declare Start of Activity: Once the incorporation deed has been executed, register the activity of the company at the local Tax Authorities, signed by the auditor responsible for the company accounts. Declare the start of the company’s activity at the Government tax office (DGCI – Direcção-Geral dos Impostos) 13
  14. 14. 5. Commercial Company Registrar 6. Social Security: The new company must also register with the regional Social Security office. 7. Register the company at the Department for Trade & Competition or at the corresponding Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Economy EMPLOYMENT LAW The Labour Code, approved by Law nº 99/2003 - 27 August, revised and unified the set of laws that regulate employees, systematizing legislation to prevent the proliferation of special diplomas, given all the negative consequences these would give rise to. Regarding changes made, some flexibility was introduced to specific issues. For several matters, the Code portends an adaptation of services rendered by employees to the modern necessities of companies, namely in the work schedule, work location and tasks performed, therefore readjusting the subjacent legislation for current market forces and in this way providing business stakeholders with the tools to stimulate the much needed productivity rises to face an increasingly global economy. There are manly two Forms of Employment Contract Indefinite Term Contract: This type of contract can last indefinitely, having no preset time limit fixed by either part, terminating only under the terms set by lay. During the trial period at the beginning of the contract, any of the parts can rescind the contract without previous warning and without the need to claim just cause. In this case, there is no right to any compensation except when there is a written agreement stating the opposite. The trial period lasts for the following length: 60 days in general, or 90 days when the company has fewer than 20 employees; 180 days for employees executing technically complex jobs, jobs with a high level of responsibility or in a position of trust; The length of the trial period can be reduced if both parties desire or by collective employment agreement. Fixed Term Contract In general terms this form of contract can only be celebrated to satisfy a temporary requirement of the company and for the strict duration needed to fulfil these needs. The contracts may be of a fixed term or indefinite term. The length of these contracts, on principle is what the interested parties agree upon, yet cannot be less than six months, except in a few instances, as set by law. The termination of an employment contract may assume the following forms: End of term; Revoke; Resolution; and Denouncement. End of Contract Term A fixed term contract lapses at the end of the stated period as long as the employer or employee declares the opposite with respectively, a 15 and 8 days prior notice. An indefinite term contract ends when, upon the anticipation of the indefinite term, the employers notifies the worker of the contract end with a minimum prior period of 7, 30 or 60 days depending on whether the contract lasted up to 6 months, from 6 to 24 months, or over 24 months, respectively. The contract is also deemed to have ended upon the verification of the absolute and definitive impossibility of the worker to undertake his/ her job, or the receipt of this by the employer, or in case of retirement, illness, death of the employer, extinction or closure of the company. Contract Revoked: The employer and the employee may end an employment contract by mutual agreement. The effects of the agreement to revoke an employment contract may be annulled by the employee up to the 7th day subsequent to the respective rescinding agreement, by Resolution and Denouncement: Termination by the employees’ initiative: an employee may end an effective employment contract immediately whenever just cause is found, with the right to receive a fixed compensation of between 15 and 45 days base salary and wages for each complete year or work. Dismissal by fact attributable to the employee: an employee responsible for, in such a manner that, by its gravity and consequences, makes the continuation of the working relation practically and immediately impossible, constitutes just cause for dismissal. Collective Dismissal: the termination of employment contracts undertaken by the employer, simultaneously or successively over a period of three months, covering a range of employees, whenever this occurrence is based on the closure of one or several sections or equivalent units, or the reduction of personnel is brought about by structural or technological market forces. Renouncement: a worker may renounce a contract, independently of having or not just cause, by providing written communication with a prior notice of 30 or 60 days, depending on having, respectively up to two years, or more than two years of activity. Wages Wages can be fixed, variable or a mixture of these – a fixed part and a variable part. All workers are entitled to a minimum monthly wage, which is set each year by special legislation. A worker is entitled to a Christmas bonus equal to a month’s wage, which must be paid by the 15th of December of each year. The amount of the Christmas bonus is proportional to the length of time under employment. Similarly, the holiday wage corresponds to what an employee would receive if he/ she where in effective service. Besides this wage, an employee is entitled to a holiday bonus amounting to the base salary and any other payments connected to the job. An employee is equally entitled to receive wages corresponding to official holidays, without the employee being able to compensate this by assigning supplementary work. Work carried out during the night must be paid with an added amount of 25% relative to equivalent work undertaken during the day. This add-on may be set by a trade union agreement. 14
  15. 15. Work Period Normal work period cannot exceed 8 hours daily, or 40 hours weekly. Through a collective trade union agreement this limit may be raised to 10 hours per day and 60 hours weekly, without ever exceeding an average of 50 hours over a period of 2 months, with supplementary work resulting from uncontrollable causes not counting towards this limit. Foreign Workers in Portugal The foreign worker, provided with all authorizations to work in national territory, has the same rights and must comply with Portuguese labour laws. The work contract celebrated with a foreign, besides of assuming a written form, must also be communicated to the competent entity and comply with all formalities stated in the governing special legislation. However, that does not apply to work contracts celebrated between citizens from EU member countries, as well as with citizens from countries that grant equal treatment to national citizens to the exercise of professional activities. SOCIAL SECURITY Social Security is paid in part by the employer and in part by the employee. The employee’s contribution is withheld at source as per the following table: Regime Beneficiary Beneficiary Beneficiary Employees (dependent work) 11% 23.75% Members of the management body of a company or any other legal entity (a) 10% 21.25% Self-employed workers under the minimum (mandatory) protection scheme (b) 25.4% __ Self-employed workers under the enlarged protection scheme (b) 32% __ (a) The amount of the social security contributions may be limited to 12 times the monthly national minimum wage (356,60 Euros x 12 = 4.279 euros), whereby the person concerned receives no remuneration from the company. (b) Contributions range between a minimum 356,60 (1 X the monthly national minimum wage) and 4.279 euros (12 X the monthly national minimum wage). Source: API - Portuguese Investment Agency : PORTUGUESE COMPANY LAW 15
  16. 16. Innovation profile * Describe the region in terms of: - regional innovation systems (RIS) – does it work? key actors? key activities? - reported advantages of existing RIS (use regional, local expertises and plans and other relevant documents) - RIS as support for SME- reported advantages and results (use regional, local expertises and plans and other relevant documents) Table 12a. Innovation profile (RIS) Portugal is not a regionalised country, except as regards the specific situation of the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira. Therefore, there is not a consistent regional approach to innovation policy. There are no regional operational programmes for Continental Portugal. In spite of the exercises of diagnosis of regional innovation capabilities and strategy definition undertaken under RITTS – which led, for instance, to the launching of NORTINOV, LISACTION and INOVALGARVE programs–, it would not be correct to argue that there are ‘true’ regional innovation strategies in Portugal. Assuming that an innovation strategy exists, it is national, not regional. A ‘decentralisation package’ was launched in 2003, with four main features: the definition of a new legal framework for Metropolitan Areas (associations of Municipalities around a large, focal town), laid down by Law 10/2003, of 13 May; a new regime for the creation and activities of inter-municipal communities, established by Law 11/2003, of 13 May; the transfer of several competencies from Civil Governors (representatives of the central Government in territorial districts); and a change in the structure and functions of Regional Co-ordination Commissions. So far, these have been the regional bodies with a say, though limited, in the area of innovation policy. So we’ll refer here to the Portuguese national innovation system (NIS), as a proxy to a Centro RIS, as Centro firms and R&D organizations have a substantial participation on it. Here, in the views of the authors of the report European Trend Chart on Innovation, Annual Innovation Policy for Portugal, Covering period: September 2003 – August 2004, NIS is defined as a network of organisations, individuals and institutions which contribute to generate, develop, absorb, share and use economically useful knowledge in a given territory – and which, in turn, shape the process of innovation and its performance in economic terms, and where firms are the key players of NIS: here in this view, NIS is much wider than an R&D system, and is not concerned with knowledge generation only; and is necessarily connected with players located outside the national territory. This NIS definition considers five main categories of institutions: (1) enterprises; (2) the institutes in charge of education, training and R&D activities, including namely Universities, University-based bridging units, and public laboratories; (3) support and consultancy organisations, such as technological centres, S&T parks, incubators, technology brokers and consultancy firms; (4) the financial system, including banks and venture capital organisations as well as business angels; and (5) public administration, including state agencies in charge of specific industries or issues (e.g. industrial property, innovation policy, training and SMEs). The analysis of the Portuguese NIS shows the existence of several positive aspects: (1) a relatively large number of players, especially in the areas of technology support and inter-face organisations, some of them with a very good performance; (2) the improvement in the capabilities and evaluation processes of University research organisations; (3) the increased experience of public institutions in the design and implementation of operational programmes; and (4) the existence of a thin ‘crust’ of internationally competitive, innovative companies as well as some dynamic clusters. There are, however, significant weaknesses which constrain the behaviour of the NIS as a whole. Three types of weaknesses deserve to be mentioned. First, the weak links among the various groups of players. This is, to a large extent, a result of the interplay of three factors: the lack of a co-operative attitude and behaviour, a historical trait which has long since conditioned the development of the country; the myopic perspective of many players, focussing on short, instead of long-term gains; and the lack of credibility of some organisations. Second, the limited in-house capabilities of many players. This is evident not only at company level, but also with regards to the education and training system, technology interface and support organisations (where marketing capabilities are low), the financial system (where there is a lack of experienced evaluators of innovative projects) and public administration. The shortage of capabilities is a consequence of a wider problem: the shortcomings in education, training and human resources skills. The third main weakness is the lack of a clear understanding of the systemic nature of innovation and, therefore, of the main tenets of an outwardlooking innovation policy. In spite of the pioneering experience of PROINOV (now abandoned) and the improvements achieved in the co-ordination of policies and implementation mechanisms of the Ministers for the Economy (MEC) and for Science and Higher Education (MCES), innovation is still often envisaged from a linear perspective, thereby leading to biased and limited approaches towards innovation policy. Sources: European Commission, Enterprise Directorate-General (2004), European Trend Chart on Innovation, Annual Innovation Policy for Portugal, Covering period: September 2003 – August 2004, Innovation/SMEs Programme 16
  17. 17. * Describe the region in terms of: - innovation centres: o technological parks, industrial parks- o public R&D centres o private R&D connected to large companies (identify and make brief description) Table 12b. Innovation profile (innovation centres) The Region has a significant group of support and technological structures that develop a fundamental role of support and promotion of competitiveness of the productive areas to which they concern. Besides the centres connected to the universities, are highlighted a set of support and technological development centres in several domains (ceramics and glass, moulding and special tools, textiles and clothing, telecommunications, biomass for the energy, graphical computation,…). These entities are essential for the reinforcement of the regional competitiveness, for the competences they detain and develop, for the interface function between the companies, universities and administration entities, for the cooperation and interchange of experiences at the national and international level. The higher education in Centro Region is assured by three state universities, Aveiro University (, Coimbra University ( and the Beira Interior University ( The region also possess some private universities (The Catholic University in Viseu and the International University in Figueira da Foz). There are also six poli-technical institutes in the region, located in Aveiro, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Leiria e Viseu. Centro region possesses a technological offer that reflects the region production specialisation pattern: a technological centre (t.c) for the textile industry in Covilhã (CITVE), a t.c for the moulding industry in Marinha Grande (CENTIMFE) and a t.c for the ceramics and glass industry in Coimbra (CTCV). As technology transfer and interface between business and the universities, there is the Instituto Pedro Nunes from Coimbra University and the GrupUnave form the Aveiro University. Communication standards * Describe the region in terms of: - ICT’s regional cover (density of broadband connections, percentage of frequent internet users) Table 13. ICT’s regional cover In terms of Accesses to the Internet, of broad band, there are in Portugal two kinds of services: the ADSL and the CABLE, served, respectively, by the two main national operators, TELEPAC and TV CABO, which belong to the PT group. According to the Portuguese Association for the Communications Development, “(…) in the end of 2003 the penetration in the broad band, in ADSL and Cable accesses, per home, reached the 10%, having the PT group 85% of the ADSL clients of the market (…). Also counting the cable, the quota of the incumbent was of 75%”. There are in Portugal almost two tens of operators of Cable distribution nets, as well as six tens of companies. The effective availability of the access to the broad band Internet in the national territory is a relevant factor in the analysis of the service’s penetration rates, being often invoked to explain the relative penetration deficit identified above. The situation of the access to the broad band Internet in the Portuguese continent in 2004, when the councils effectively info-excludes represented values inferior to 10%. Penetration of the access to the Internet in broad band, access to the Internet and PC According to the gathered information, in December 2004, almost 17,3% of the Portuguese homes had access to the broad band Internet. The Lisbon and Tejo Valley’s region is that where the penetration of the accesses to the broad band Internet reaches the highest value – 25,2% of the homes have broad band accesses. Alentejo presents the more reduced penetration level – only 7,9% of the homes have broad band. According to the obtained results, 29,8% of the homes had access to the Internet (broad or narrow band) in December 2004. Table 13.1 – Penetration of the accesses to the Internet in broad band by region Region Percentage of homes with Internet Percentages of homes with broad band: 17
  18. 18. North 24,4% 12,3% Center 25,0% 14,4% Lisbon and Tejo Valley 36,5% 25,2% Alentejo 20,8% 7,9% Geographic distribution of the accesses to the broad band Internet With 36,6%, Alentejo is the region with lower percentage of broad band accesses. In the North, less than a half of the accesses to the Internet are broad band (46,5%). In the rest of the regions, more than a half of the accesses to the Internet is made by broad band, being highlighted Lisbon with 61,5% of the accesses6. Table 13.2- Proportionof broad band accesses by region Region Percentage of Broad Band Accesses North 48,8% Center 57,0% Lisbon and Tejo Valley 67,0% Alentejo 36,6% Total 58% The penetration of the access to the Internet in broad band in the littoral region is almost of 21,2%, value significantly superior to the registered in the interior of the country - 8,5%. - capacity for interactive governance through portals and other kind web-based infrastructure (refer to results from various inquiries and expertises elaborated for the region) Table 14. Web-based infrastructure 18
  19. 19. The website PMElink (www. a private project, working as a Business centre online, destianted to support SME all theirs business areas. It is promoted by two major banks and a communications company, and has a vasta array of information for SME’s. The business model rest on the two services: free important information associated to e-business portal for SME needs, providing products and services for SME at a lower cost. At national level, but used and produced at national/regional level, we can find like the web site of IAPMEI, created in order to improve SMEs’ access to information on markets, financial instruments, legislation, and the economic and financial environment., and the Portal do Cidadão (, a web portal providing information on a wide range of matters (creation of companies, taxes, tourism, administration, etc.) involving information from approximately 50 administrative services. The CFE - Centros de Formalidades de Empresas (Business Formality Centres) website ( has a vast array of information in the procedures of setting up a business, including all necessary steps, and specialised technical information. At regional level, the main initiative can be found at the CEC – Conselho Empresarial do Centro web page (, as the Centro enterprises knowledge net.. The project started with a creation of a net of Cabinets to support SMEs competitiveness, based on a technological infrastructure of knowledge, communication and information: CEC’s NetCentro intranet/extranet, and as evolved to a the main information website for Centro Region SME’s; or an initiative form NERCAB (:, whuch works as a directory for the firms in Centro Region and general information about the Region itself (please see table 73a for more information) In an analysis of the positioning of the Centre Area organisms websites in relation to the Rest of the Country, it is verified a balance in the percentage of websites classified with Good of the two analysed areas. The Centre Area presents 55% of organisms with the classification of Good, in comparison with the 51% of organisms of other areas of the Country. The Rest of the Country has a clear advantage in relation to the Centre Area in the websites classified as Very Good (23% against only 12% in the Centre Area). On the other hand, there is a wide percentage (29%) of websites of the Centre Area with the classification of Insufficient (more 3% than in the Rest of the Country) and there are even 5% considered Very Insufficient, classification that is not given to any website of the Rest of the Country. In what concerns a global appreciation of the web presence of the different organisms, such indicates great inequalities in the Centre Region, there being an unbalance in the attention and expended effort in the AE side by the entities of the region. Once again, comparing criterion by criterion, one understands some balance in the obtained classifications, even though the Centre Area accompanies with some delay the tendency of the Rest of the Country, in what concerns the several points in analysis. In all the criteria, there is always an advantage of the remaining areas of the country concerning the classification of Very Good, while the Centre Area has almost always a higher percentage in the classification of Good. In the sum of both classifications, for almost all the criteria, there is a very big balance in all the Country. 19
  20. 20. Comparison, by criterion: CENTRE AREA vs REST OF THE COUNTRY ACESSIBILITY 66% 34% Rest of the Country Centre Area 81% 19% UPDATING Rest of the Country 23% 6% 14% 57% Centre Area 40% 5% 12% 43% INFORMATION/CONTENTS Rest of the Country 26% 46% 29% Centre Area 10% 19% 52% 19% BROWSING Rest of the Country 34% 20% 14% 31% Centre Area 33% 19% 24% 24% GRAPHICAL PRESENTATION Rest of the Country 3% 9% 49% 40% Centre Area 7% 19% 43% 31% Very Insufficient Insufficient Good Very Good It is in the criteria of Presentation/Graphical Quality and Updating, however, that the Centre Area presents considerably worse classifications. There is a difference of more 14% of websites in the Centre Area classified as Insufficient or even Very Insufficient in what concerns the Presentation/Graphical Quality and there are more 17% of websites in the Centre Area classified with level of Very Insufficient Updating. 20
  21. 21. - transportation-road system, railway system, water-based transportation, aviation (describe their usefulness for business with focus on advantages o disadvantages for SME - refer to relevant expertises produced for the region) Table 15. Transportation infrastructure The existence of good accessibilities (e.g. highways, railways, sea and air), capable of improving the circulation of people, goods and services, is a key element for the establishment of any activity in a certain place, constituting one of the factors of promotion of a region. In a small country like Portugal, the analysis of the transport infrastructures must report to the set of the country, namely in what concerns the infrastructures of bigger capacity, like the airports. The Centre Region presents a centrality towards the Country that places it in a privileged position for the access to the national infrastructures and to Spain. At the national level, the fundamental structure of articulation of the territory and the urban system is constituted as follows: a. North-South Littoral Corridor: Integrates the so-called “Galician-Portuguese Corridor”, reinforcing the connections of the Centre and North of Portugal to Galicia, promoting a bigger centrality of Porto Metropolitan Area. This Corridor also reinforces the centrality and the articulating role of the Lisbon and Tejo Valley Urban System in the national territory; Integrates the IP1, from the Valença’s frontier to Castro Marim’s frontier; integrates the railways of Minho, of North and of South; the airports of Porto, Lisbon and Faro, which allow the aerial connections between the three cities and from these to the exterior; the ports of Viana do Castelo, Leixões, Aveiro, Lisbon, Setúbal, Sines, Portimão and Faro, which constitute the base of the maritime connections of goods, in the national territory. b. Transversal and Diagonal Structuring Axes: The IP5/IP3 and IP7 articulate the Littoral and the Interior and establish the main terrestrial connection with Spain and with Europe. The IP5 Axis also integrates the Beira Alta Railway. To these axes are added a set of “diagonals” of which are examples: the Douro diagonal, constituted by IP4 (Porto – Vila Real - Bragança - Quintanilha) and by IP3 (Vila Verde da Raia - Vila Real - Lamego - Viseu - Coimbra - Figueira da Foz); the Vale do Ave Diagonal, constituted by IC5 and IC25; and the Tejo Diagonal, constituted by IP6 (Peniche - Castelo Branco) and by IP2 (Bragança - Faro) and the Beira Baixa Railway; The two North Diagonals allow the connection to Spain and to the AutoVia das Rias Bajas Through the frontier of Vila Verde da Raia; the Tejo Diagonal has conditions to be the main connection from Lisbon and Tejo Valley Region to the Vilar Formoso frontier; it is along these axes and structuring diagonals that are verified the most significant territorial dynamics. c. Axes of Territorial Cohesion: IP2 constitutes a cohesion axis in the interior of Alentejo, being able to guarantee good articulation conditions from the cities of Beja and Portalegre to the structuring axes IP1, IP7 e IP6; The IP2 branches, between Guarda and Bragança, of IP4 (Macedo de Cavaleiros-Vila Real) and of IP3 (Vila Real-Viseu) constitute a net of articulation and integration of the Northeast in the National Structuring System. The Centre Region as, comparing to the continent, good highway and railway infrastructures, which allow it to take advantage of its centrality towards the two main national airports and some ports. It is observed that the contiguity of some cities of the region assured by the several existing travelling axes, as well as by secular relations and traditions, is on the base of the formation of small structured axes with a demographic and economic dynamism that induces interdependencies and significant internal changes. It is estimated that ¾ of the region’s population lives less than 30 minutes away from the main cities, which allows concluding the existence of a well structured and operational net of accessibilities. The referred structuring axes are Guarda-Covilhã-Fundão-Castelo Branco, Aveiro-Ílhavo (including Vagos, Oliveira do Bairro and Albergaria), Coimbra-Figueira da Foz (including Lousã-Miranda do Corvo-Cantanhede-Mealhada), Leiria-Marinha Grande (with extensions to Pombal and Batalha), the urban constelation centred in Viseu and that includes Mangualde, Nelas, Oliveira de Frades, S. Pedro do Sul; and Tondela, Oliveira do Hospital-Seia-Gouveia, which used to have more relevance when the “Estrada da Beira” was the main travelling axis of the region. The national railway infrastructures are distributed by a group of structuring lines: Minho Railway, North Railway, Beira Alta Railway, Beira Baixa Railway and South/Algarve Railway. These railways present ramifications having in view to serve their involving, both in the transport of passengers and of goods. The main railways have the following characteristics: The North Railway is the one which present a generally a better quality, in physical terms (double way and total electrification of the railway). The Beira Alta Railway presents a good general level of infrastructures and the rest of the railways present, despite some debilities, enough conditions to satisfy the respective needs of the regions they are set in. In the Beira Baixa Railway were developed the modernisation Works of this Railway, allowing the reduction in almost 40 minutes in the time of the trip between Lisbon and Castelo Branco and almost 50 minutes to Covilhã. 21
  22. 22. The Centre Region presents, towards the Continent, a good endowment of explored railways, representing 27% of the total of the railways. Of the total extension of explored railways in the region, 26% are of double way or superior and 60% are electrified, as the second region with higher percentage of double way railways, region with higher percentage of electrified railways. The port infrastructures in Continental Portugal are centred in tem commercial ports; five main ones (Leixões, Aveiro, Lisboa, Setúbal and Sines) and five secondary ones (Viana do Castelo, Figueira da Foz, Portimão, Faro and Douro). The Centre Region presents a relatively good endowment of port infrastructures, detaining a main port (Aveiro) and a secondary port (Figueira da Foz). Aveiro’s port is in phase of restructuring, with several projects co-financed by Structural Funs, aiming at the development of the several terminals (of solid and liquid bulks, of fish discharging and of services quays), including among them a ro-ro terminal: a port infrastructure specialised for the maritime traffic of ro-ro discharge (transport t f conditioned charge in semi-tows). It is also foreseen for Aveiro’s port the development of terrestrial accessibilities, as for instance the railway access and of the multimodal platform in Cacia. Besides the commercial ports mentioned above, there are also in the Centre Region two important fishing ports, the ports of Peniche and of Nazaré. In terms of Airport Infrastructures, the airport activity in Continental Portugal is located, mostly, in three infrastructures: the airports of Porto, Lisbon and Faro. The Centre Region, despite not being endowed with an international airport, presents a clear centrality towards the two main national airports (Lisbon and Porto), being also endowed with several civil air-fields (Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro, Viseu and Covilhã) and a military one (Monte Real). Source: CEC – Conselho Empresarial do Centro (2004), Guia do Investidor da Região Centro Some other specific attributes * Identify the facts and evaluate their economic impact on SMEs: - Are there any large foreign/ international companies - retaining and/or extending demand for local SME products/services? - Are the key clusters of the region stimulating growth/profitability of SMEs? - Are there any clusters with prevailing participation of SMEs? Table 16. Additional attributes in the region The sectors from wood agglomerates and the pulp and paper industry are largely dominated by large firms, national in the wood agglomerates and international and national companies in the pulp and paper industry; The Key cluster of this region stimulating growth/profitability of SMEs are more in sectors like the ceramics, metallic products, and moulding industry. 22
  23. 23. Region’s attractiveness/uniqueness * Identify unique local advantages, capabilities and potentials of the region (use regional, local expertises and plans and other relevant documents) Table 17. Unique advantages, capabilities and potentials Higher education Potential (Universities and poli- technical quality and network) Technological and R&D institutions quality Health sector competences in Coimbra Telecommunications sector competences in Aveiro Good industrial dynamic in sectors like the ceramics, metallic products, moulding industry, wood agglomerates and the pulp and paper industry Historical and architectural patrimony (specially Coimbra University) Tourism potential Natural resources (geological, water, forestall) Human resources Local actors (public and private) commitment and awareness Key role in the national territorial articulation * Identify niche products/services/processes presenting unique and positive attributes of the region (use regional, local expertises and plans and other relevant documents) Table 18. Niche products/services/processes Good industrial dynamic in sectors like the ceramics, metallic products, moulding industry, wood agglomerates and the pulp and paper industry; Health sector competences in Coimbra; Telecommunications sector competences in Aveiro; * Are there any new investments/arrangements with ability to change the attractiveness of the region and supporting its image/prestige/status? (use regional, local expertises and plans and other relevant documents) Table 19. New investments/arrangements and attractiveness change 23
  24. 24. Parkurbis – Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia da Covilhã: Parkurbis – Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia da Covilhã SA aims at developing new industries in the region attracting national and foreign investors, offering the traditional industry the acquisition of innovative capacity, diversifying and improving the manufacturing equipments and technologies, incorporating new technological advances. The main goals of Parkurbis are creating the conditions for the development of new technological-based activities, assuring a dynamic interconnection between the Beira Interior University (UBI) and the business net, in order to approach the offer of R&D with the needs of that business net. Parkurbis is location in Tortosendo Industrial Area, was constituted in 17th September 2001, and has a Park Area: 100.000 m2 Its facilities are a - Business Innovation Centre; - Spaces for Technological-Based Companies to establish; Ideas and Businesses Incubation Centre; Technological Investigation Rooms; Laboratories; Auditory for 200 places; and a Multiuse Area (exhibitions, workshops). Tecnopolo de Coimbra: The Coimbra’s Science and Technology Park is managed by the Associaçáo Tecnopólo de Coimbra, a non-profitable associate, which is connected to the University of that city. The association was born in 1998, having as founders the University of Coimbra, the Coimbra’s Poly-technical Institute, the Coimbra’s City Council, the Commercial and Industrial Association of Coimbra, the InstitutoPedro Nunes and the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra. The society has as object the implementation, management and administration of business, scientific and technological parks and the support to the economic and business activity in general. OPEN – Oportunidades Específicas de Negócio: OPEN – Associação para Oportunidades Específicas de Negócio is a non-profitable private institution, created in November 2002, with the aim of promoting the innovation and the employment, through the support to the launching of innovative business initiatives. The Project has its materialisation with the creation of a Business Opportunities Incubation Centre in Marinha Grande, region characterised by a strong entrepreneurship and business dynamic, but where it is strategic to promote the reinforcement ant the statement of the enlarged value chain of the Regional Industry, through the launching of new companies of high technological incorporation and strong innovative character in the sense of rejuvenescence of the business net and of the unemployment prevention. OPEN has as founding associates the City Council of Marinha Grande, Centimfe, Cefamol, ANJE and Inova, Systems Engineering, Lda. Nowadays the Association has already 50 associates, among City Councils, Universities, Associations and Companies, being an attraction pole of new business projects and development motor of new ideas, namely in the financial plan, which bring to entrepreneurship innovative tools like the Risk Capital, Business Angels Club, Seed Capital and Venture Capital. The target groups that OPEN wants to comprise are mainly companies with innovative projects in areas both industrial and of services; promoted by young people, highly qualified in beginning of carrier and with entrepreneur spirit and/or researchers and other professionals with high potential for the transposition of Knowledge, Experience and Competences. Associação Incubadora Beira Atlântico Parque: The Associação Incubadora Beira Atlântico Parque is a non-profitable association constituted on November 15th 2002, by the Beira Atlântico Park Association and by Mira City Council. The Beira Atlântico Park Incubator is set in the sub-regional development logic defined for the territory delimited by the cities of Coimbra, Figueira da Foz and Aveiro, and establishes synergies with the rest of the incubators and universitary and technological research units there established. In that sense, and because there is foreseen the construction of a Technological Park with central facilities in Cantanhede, it will be possible to reduce some valences to a more limited dimension. The Beira Atlântico Park Incubator, such as the Park, wants to privilege the sectors as the biotechnology, Genetics, New Materials, Electronics, Telecommunications, Computers, Internet and Multimedia Products, benefiting from the great scientific development made in these domains by the Universities and Research Centres of Coimbra and Aveiro. Mira’s Business Park is constituted by a group of offices buildings, adequate to companies’ headquarters and administrative, commercial and development services, and by industrial lots designed for companies with manufacture, storage and logistics facilities. Set in the Regional Project of the Beira Atlântico Park, the Mira’s Technological Pole has a group of lots and buildings for establishment of technological-based companies, in an environment favourable to research, sharing of experiences and development of relations nets and indispensable knowledge to the making of partnerships and global scale businesses. Integrating the Companies’ Incubators, and adjacent to the Mira’s Business Park, the Mira’s Technological Pole has high level technical and of support to businesses easiness, and offers the better conditions for the creation of nets and partnerships between companies and Research centres. Incubadora D. Dinis - Associação para a Promoção do Empreendedorismo, Inovação e Novas Tecnologias (IDD): The D.Dinis Incubator – Association for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and New Technologies (IDD) will begin its implementation process in 2005. IDD is fruit of a partnership between IPL – Leiria’s Poly-technical Institute, Leiria’s City Council and NERLEI – Business Association of Leiria’s Region and appears within the Strategic Plan for the Creation of Leiria’s Competences’ Centre. This study put in evidence the need of creation of a companies’ incubator in the Region, as key for the foment of technological-based entrepreneurship. With the aim of filling in that gap, IDD is born with the mission of “supporting the constitution, establishment and development of new technological-based companies, giving them technical and physical adequate conditions, contributing for the dynamisation and rejuvenescence of the Region’s business net”. The creation phase will have a duration of 24 months, during which will be defined the Incubator’s procedures, will be held promotion 24
  25. 25. actions and will be selected the companies to be incubated. The structure must be fully functioning in January 2007. The companies to be sheltered must be of technological base, employ qualified workmanship and have non-aggressive for the environment Technologies. Will be adopted as selection criteria: originality and innovative character of the project, reasonability, feasibility and economical viability, the social relevance, the degree of involvement of the candidates, the adequacy idea promoter/ Project-region and also technical, technological and of market factors that may condition the success of the initiative. In the day it was constituted, the IDD admitted as founding associates the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs, the Foundation Professional School of Leiria, Movicortes, SA, Balbino & Faustino, Lda., Adelino Duarte da Mota, SA, Agricortes, SA, Exposalão and Leirisic. It is foreseen that in short term other institutions come to integrate this project, namely Pedro Nunes Institute, which has already taken part in the Plan. IPN INCUBADORA – Associação para o Desenvolvimento de Actividades de Incubação de Ideias E Empresas Since 1991, Insitituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), a transfer technology association located in Coimbra, promotes the creation of spin-off companies by giving support to innovative and technology-based ideas generated by its own laboratories, institutions of higher education, particularly the University of Coimbra, the private sector, and RTD projects in consortia with industry. The incubator provides companies with an easy access to the scientific and technological system and an environment which allows the development of knowledge in such areas as quality, management, and marketing; it also facilitates contacts with national and international markets. Our provided support consists of technical orientation for the constitution phase and start of the company; physical space (12,5 m2, 25 m2, 30 m2 or 50 m2) for installation; logistic: conference rooms, post office, telephone, fax, Internet, photocopies; networking and contact with diverse national and international R&D institutions; privileged synergies with the University of Coimbra knowledge groups; access to financial information and other sources of knowledge, and access to training actions in technological and management areas. In 2002, IPN has autonomised the incubations activities, creating a spin-off institution called IPN Incubadora - Associacao para o Desenvolvimento de Actividades de Incubacao de Ideias e Empresas, and start the construction of a new building infra-structures, that will double the incubation area (2.800 m2 total area, 1.620 m2 incubation area)), which will allow the incubation of more than 50 companies and the ability to incubate small pre-industrial/ laboratory companies. The main partners of IPN INCUBADORA are Instituto Pedro Nunes and the University of Coimbra. Parque Industral de Mortágua / Incubadora de empresas: The strategy for Mortagua region is based on the infrastructure creation, considered to be an important platform for the competitiveness of local economics activities, for which the Industrial Park and the creation of the "Firm’s Nest" of Mortágua, and incubator for local business, are examples. The Industrial park will grow in more than 100.000m2 area expansions, as the new Mortagua incubator" will receive and support the entrepreneurs generating ideas, firms in the constitution phase and new born companies, giving priority to young entrepreneurs and tech based. Parque Industral da Figueira da Foz / Incubadora de empresas: A Figueira ParaIndústria, s.a. was constituted in October 2000, having as goal to promote the installation of firms in the industrial park of the Figueira da Foz, contributing to a sustainable development in the region Its shareholders are to the City council (65%), the API Parks - Gestão de Parques Empresariais, SA (30%), the ACIFF, industrial association of the Figueira da Foz (5%) The meeting of these partners had as objective to congregate public entities responsible for the regions economic development with the private initiative, detainee of industrial areas management "know-how". To solve the gap between labour market demand and local human resources offer offer, the board integrated the two local universities. This industrial park has a technologic profile, giving preference to projects that increase the local technological capabilities and human capital. The Figueira Paraindústria will also promote and tech-based incubator centre, which will give human and technical support ot new born firm, and also a technological school to provide technicians with skills in the areas most needed for this firms (electronics’, moulding, production control, etc). Parque Empresarial do Mundão: The Parque Empresarial do Mundão (Mundão industrial park), it is located in Viseu District, and started in 2001. It is promoted by Park-Invest - Sociedade Promotora de Parques Industriais, s.a., the City council of Viseu and the AIRV - Enterprise Association of Region of Viseu. It has for goals the the conception competes, promotion and commercialization of industrials spaces, and the management of the park facilities. Parque Industrial de Castelo Branco The economic structure of Castelo Branco district has suffered to significant alterations in the last years, registering a growth trend on 25
  26. 26. activities of the industrial sector, commerce and services, in detriment of the importance of the agricultural sector. The Industrial Zone, with an area of 158 hectares and 108 installed companies, employing 3500 people, will evolutes into a Enterprise Centre with 122 hectares and a set of infrastructures and services more sophisticated, with a stronger technological component, capable to create qualified jobs and to generate synergies with Polytechnic and Universities.More than a hundred of companies occupy the 158 hectares of a multipurpose area, from SME to large companies. The new Enterprise Centre will have, also, a new model of management - a company of public and private capitals will define the strategy and the organizational model of the space. This managing society will have in its objectives the dynamism of this new equipment, with prominence for entrepreneurship support projects. It can also be mentioned Guarda Industrial Park, (Parque Industrial da Guarda) an area of 16.000 m2 , where NERGA, Guarda district industrial association is located. * Is the role of SMEs sector perceived as essential for strengthening of the positive uniqueness of region’s profile? (make your comment against the regional, local expertises and plans and other relevant documents and materials) Table 20. SMEs and positive uniqueness of region’s profile Characterising the industrial profile of the Portuguese regions based on the relevant competitiveness factors for the competition analysis of the external market (working cost, natural resources, scale economies, product’s differentiation, R&D), the Centre Region clearly distinguishes from the medium pattern of the rest of the country, with a clear predominance of the industries centre in the exploitation of natural resources. As a matter of fact, it is the only sector where the Centre is “over-specialised”. This characteristicof the Centre Region industrial profile is determined by the pattern of the Pinhal Interior Sul, Pinhal Litoral, Dão-Lafões and Baixo Mondego sub-regions, which can be observed when that sub-region indicator is decomposed. The situation is different in the Cova da Beira and Serra da Estrela sub-regions, where the weight of the textile industry explains that the competitiveness factor revealed is the workmanship cost. Finally, it is highlighted the relative presence of industries that incorporate a product’s differentiation logic in the Beira Interior Sul, Beira Interior Norte and Baixo Vouga sub-regions. The analysis of the productive structure of the Centre Region also reveals a considerable dynamism of some NUTS III in the industrial area. Those are the cases of the areas that configure an “industrial district” structure type (Águeda, Aveiro, Marinha Grande), which set their dynamism in a noticeable business ability, even in situations where one can’t see clear location factors, namely the domain of the accessibilities. To this respect and as example, the Leiria-Marinha Grande axis is an exemplar case of a high business dynamic, even in a context of deficient transport infrastructures. From here it mustn’t naturally be concluded that that shows the irrelevance of the transport infrastructures, but maybe it can be stated that the competitive ability of those industries would be higher if the region had adequate infrastructures, thus powering the endogenous business abilities that characterise the region. Source: CEC – Conselho Empresarial do Centro (2004), Guia do Investidor da Região Centro Regional/ Local competitive advantages * Is there a clear view and strategic orientation on regional profile and its anticipated changes due to expectation on further development? 26
  27. 27. Table 21. Strategic orientation of the region The new territorial dimension of the politics, shaped by a more demanding, complex and global competitive model, implies the transformation of the economical politics in the sense of the afcompanieation of the new structural and horizontal politics (centred in the seek for the collective effectiveness in open and loyal competition markets) in prejudice of the traditional sectarian politics (more connected to the management of the relation between supply and demand). Simultaneously, the deepening of the territorial-based competitiveness presupposes the development of forms of competition between companies and between territories, within wider spaces, which isn’t necessarily translated in games of nil sum but, on the contrary, it must imply the strengthening of the cooperation bonds between the several internal and external economic actors to a certain territory, producing, most probably, games of positive sum. The recent economic evolution shows several examples in that sense. The most paradigmatic is, undoubtedly, the formation of clusters around a nuclear activity, where coexist competitor companies in the same type of offer, which take advantage of the local productive structure which is organised around those nuclear activities. In this context it becomes necessary a new development model for the region which creates a new centrality, in coherence with the national development model, offering a productive structure modern and well-integrated in the market, internal and external, developing competitive exporting clusters, where the investment external to the region has an important role to perform. In this sense, it is possible to identify a group of key factors that it is important to consider and mobilise while essential elements of a new development strategy for the Centre Region (please see Table 22. Major competitive advantages). * List out and describe the major competitive advantages to be identified by the politicians (according to the major documents viewing development strategies and works on vision and image of the region) Table 22. Major competitive advantages It is possible to identify a group of key factors that is important to consider and to mobilise while essential elements for a new development strategy for the Centre Region: To take advantage of the central geographic position while articulation territory between the North and the South, and of the country with Spain. The construction of the structuring corridors, as well as the location in the region of logistic platforms, the central position of Aveiro’s port and the future construction of the new Lisbon’s airport south of the region will contribute for creating single conditions of attraction and retention of economic activities in the region. To manage the natural and environmental resources in an economic perspective respecting its conservation and reproduction. These resources, which are already in the base of the region’s main productive branches, are still far from their potential economic improvement. The management of the forest didn’t have until now an effective solution by the State, in a context where the atomised nature of the familiar exploitations makes impracticable a rational management of the resources. Orientation of the teaching and Professional training system in the sense of the intensification of the relation with the society in order to guarantee the training, in a large scale, in the essential areas that can attract and sustain the growth of new activities, and also has factor of fixation and demographic attraction. A pattern of infrastructures that must give consistence to the articulation model of the several territorial urban systems and of the local productive systems, in a base of complementarity in the access to the equipments and productive and social infrastructures. The concept of infrastructure is here understood in a concept wider than the traditional, comprising not only the physical infrastructures (where are still to be finished large investments) but also the institutional infrastructures that assume a growing importance in the viability of the new productive paradigm (technological centres, nests of companies, business location areas, administration structures of support to the private sector). The valorisation of the traditional activities of the region set in the agro-nutritious branch (dairy products, preservation of fruits and horticultural products, beverages), important for the maintenance of the primary sector, but made viable through the increasing of the storage and cold preservation capacity of fresh and frozen products, and improvement of the access to the internal and external markets; In the textile/clothing branch, and especially in the knitting confection, it seems more evident that the pure subcontracting model begins to be worn out, mainly in the cases where it is based exclusively on the working cost by unit of time. It is thus defended that the strategy to be followed must pass for the dislocation of the purchases, assuring the companies the production phases that represent a bigger added value, and dislocating the remaining phases for other regions, namely to the Mediterranean basin. In the tourism domain, there is a potential to be developed and promoted, which passes by the afcompanieation of a touristic offer based on the patrimony, on the landscape, on the hydric and thermal resources. The region has excellent natural and environmental conditions for the development of thermal tourism, not in the traditional perspective, but in the base of the development of new concepts that include the concept of “health hotel”, which associates leisure, benefiting from the excellent environmental conditions of the region, and the alternative therapies (taking advantage of the thermal resources). The natural and adventure tourism finds in the Centre Region single conditions for its development, taking advantage of the Serra da Estrela and Vale do Côa parks. The improvement of the accessibilities, both in relation to the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto 27
  28. 28. and in relation to Spain, opens good integration perspectives of the Centre Region in the touristic circuits. The value chain of the primary sector must evolve in order that the focus is made on the distribution, mainly in the organisation of the relation between the small producers and main distribution channels: big surfaces (in the internal market) and exportation. The net of supplying markets, still to conclude, constitutes an important step in the sense of making easier the concentration of the production in conditions of higher transparency of the market. The evolution of the forestall sector depends mainly on the ability of improving the forestall management ability (At the national level there are almost 400000 forestall producers, of which 85% have exploitations with areas inferior to 3 hectares), in part through the associative organisation of the producers and the increasing of the exploitations’ dimension. Without that question solved the forestation and reforestation goals aimed by the continuity of the Forestall Development Programme will not be made viable (now within the III QCA) and which point to 200000 ha (accumulated until 2006), to which is linked the forestation of the agricultural lands, also of the same greatness. In any case, the new legal instruments that aim the management and distribution of the forest (Forestall Management Plans and Forestall Distribution Regional Plans) must have a deciding role in the recovery of the sector. The bet in innovative products and services, of national origin, innovating at the level of the design and marketing, through the creation of own brands that translate the identity of the regions of origin or that identify products with a quality pattern recognised in the market; Involvement in international production chains, in the base of the subcontracting regime, taking advantage of the multinational companies strategy, based on the segmentation of the productive process, and on the respective location in regions that offer specific comparative advantages; The translation of these key factors in a system of regional competitive advantages system demands the creation of favourable external and environmental conditions to the development of business strategies that assure an evolution for a more competitive productive model. Source: CEC – Conselho Empresarial do Centro (2004), Guia do Investidor da Região Centro 28
  29. 29. I.2 Business profile of the region Main relations and tendencies * Describe the main relations and tendencies in the region in terms of business Table 23. Relations and tendencies Characterising the industrial profile of the Portuguese regions, based on the competitiveness factors that are relevant for the analysis of the competition in the external market (working cost, natural resources, scale economies, differentiation of the product, R&D), the Centre Region clearly distinguishes from the medium pattern of the rest of the country, with a clear predominance of the industries centred in the exploitation of natural resources. The analysis of the productive structure of the Centre Region also reveals a considerable dynamism of some NUTS III in the industrial area. Those are the cases of the areas that configure an “industrial district” structure type (Águeda, Aveiro, Marinha Grande), which set their dynamism in a noticeable business ability, even in situations where one can’t see clear location factors, namely the domain of the accessibilities. To this respect and as example, the Leiria-Marinha Grande axis is an exemplar case of a high business dynamic, even in a context of deficient transport infrastructures. From here it mustn’t naturally be concluded that that shows the irrelevance of the transport infrastructures, but maybe it can be stated that the competitive ability of those industries would be higher if the region had adequate infrastructures, thus powering the endogenous business abilities that characterise the region. The competitive advantages of some Centre Region industries are naturally reflected on their exporting capacity; however, this exporting potential is very much concentrated in the littoral: considering the district division, the littoral districts explain 86% of the exportations, difference that shades off if one considers the sub-regions division (NUTs III). Dão-Lafões marks a significant position, with values close to the Pinhal Litoral and the Baixo Mondego. This performance is partially based on the fact that the Centre Region has, although in a located way, some of the most dynamic business concentrations in the country. In fact, the high relative concentration of business units in the Baixo Mondego, Baixo Vouga and Pinhal Litoral regions sustain the thesis of littoralisation of the Centre Region’s economic structure, but must also evidence the weight of Dão-Lafões in the Region’s business structure, and mainly the dynamic revealed in the last decade, partially explained by the improvement of accessibilities to the region. In the intra-regional distribution, the concentration of companies reveals more accentuated in the littoral NUTS than in the interior ones. The Pinhal Litoral is the sub-region where more dynamic is revealed (almost 19% of the Centre Region companies) and a very pronounced growing tendency. The district analysis makes stand out the weight of Coimbra, Aveiro and Leiria districts in terms of the number of companies located there in relation to the total of companies of the Centre Region (note that, while the analysis by NUT II Centre includes all the existing companies in the region, the analysis made for the districts that compose it exclude the district of Santarém, because it is only referred the council of Mação, and whose inclusion in the analysis would have values considered marginal). Coimbra, although continues to concentrate the highest number of companies (surely due to the urban agglomerate), registers, however, a negative growth rate in the last decade, which concompanies the loss of business dynamism that has been pointed out by several specialists. Leiria has a number of companies almost similar to Coimbra, what, taking into account the demographic weight of both cities, shows a higher entrepreneur ability. The most marking characteristic in the region’s business structure is, undoubtedly, the high weight of micro-companies, which has been reinforced along the last years. It is estimated that almost 83% of the Centre Region business universe is constituted by micro- companies. Thus, it becomes clear the relevance that these companies have in the creation of employment and their importance in the region’s economic and social net. The sector analysis allows taking some significant conclusions about the distribution of companies for the different activity sectors. Since then it is registered the loss of weight of the industrial companies along the last decade in the generality of the Centre’s sub-regions. Sectors like “Constructions” and “Services Rendered to Companies” saw increasing their weight in the business structure. If the reinforcement of this last sector translates a positive evolution of the business net’s quality, in a context of tertiarisation of the economy, the growth of the construction sector is associated to the investment cycle within the communitarian support frames and that will certainly have to adjust when that cycle ends. The distribution of companies by activity sector in the Centre Region accompanies the pattern registered in the rest of the country, that is, predominance of commerce (with almost a 1/3 of the total), followed by industry, although this one in clear relative loss. It is also registered the growing weight that the companies of the “Lodging and Restaurant” sector have been acquiring (almost 12% of the total), which is related with the improvement of the population’s consumption pattern and also with the growing tendencies of urbanisation registered in the region, accompanying, as a matter of fact, the general movement verified in the country. The “demographic” behaviour of companies, by analogy with the human demography, allows analysing the business dynamic more deeply. Thus, the evolution of the population of companies since Portugal entered the European Union in 1986 (date that is an essential mark in the economic liberalisation process and insertion of the Portuguese economy in the world economy) happened at a very fast 29