Master Export – Internationalization of the Metalworking and Habitat sectors
Closing Session of the Master Export Project took place on March 24th , organized by AECA – Associação Empresarial de Cambra e Arouca, an event hosted at the premises of the Municipality of Vale de Cambra in a hybrid format (Webinar on the Teams platform and in person ).
The session was opened by Carlos Brandão, President of the Board of AECA, by José Pinheiro, President of the Municipality of Vale de Cambra and António Carlos Duarte, Councilor of the Municipality of Arouca.
Carlos Brandão highlighted that, despite the constraints caused by the pandemic, the project was successful, resulting in high added value for the business fabric of the two regions. As the main results of the project, it highlights the establishment of partnerships between companies and the strengthening of the relationship with the diaspora. The president of AECA gives a special thanks to the Municipality of Arouca and the Municipality of Vale de Cambra as strategic partners of the project.
The host José Pinheiro highlighted the importance of the “Master Export” project for the territory and the desire to continue to stimulate and support projects that strengthen the industry in the region. It also highlights the benefits of digitalization for the development of the regional and national economy, reiterating the need and the existing support in the adoption of new technologies.
António Carlos Duarte, reinforced the role of entrepreneurs in the region, in the resilience and overcoming the pandemic, saluting the structure of AECA for supporting companies and high rate of completion of the project in such a costly period, as the one experienced in the last two years. It highlights the importance of Metalworking and Habitat clusters as strategic regional sectors and sustainability, as well as people and quality, as critical success factors in approaching European markets.
After the opening session, Adriano Fidalgo, project consultant, presented the various activities developed throughout the “Master Export” project; despite the pandemic setbacks resulting from the SARS-COV COVID-19, necessary adjustments are being made, to achieve an achievement rate close to 100%. Standing out:
- Promotion and dissemination campaigns, using the “media” and digital marketing, to promote the national offer, in the ranks of Metalworking and Habitat in the target countries; and production of promotional video;
- Institutional Missions, whose objective is to produce and disseminate knowledge about these lines in the target markets, with potential partners. Institutional missions were carried out to the markets of France, Luxembourg and Poland;
- Training for the internationalization of Habitat and Metalworking clusters. Identification of good practices and digital tools (search for opportunities, use knowledge of successful cases and approach key points for a successful export);
- Creation of a Digital Platform to support exports, whose objective was to provide content and tools developed throughout the project;
- Information on performance practices in the promotion of activity in Portugal. The training activities for export and internationalization were translated into conferences, carried out by senior consultants distinguished in the areas of marketing and strategy, with companies from the region being involved to share experiences, and the path taken, focusing on cases of failure to succeed;
- Studies – Market notebooks: Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland;
- Prospective study: Mapping of opportunities in the ranks of metalworking and habitat;
- Participation in an international fair in France (Batimat) and visit to Maison et Object, also in Paris;
- Digital Catalog/windows of companies in the region;
- Benchmarking study, with the participation of companies in the region;
- Reverse Missions with European buyers.
Adriano Fidalgo highlighted the need to have carried out a national and international benchmarking study, identifying good national and international practices.
The session was attended by Raúl Reis, from the European Digital Journal “Bom Dia”, who presented himself as a strategic partner, highlighting the success of Portuguese companies and products in the European market. He pointed to the business networks of the diaspora as a fundamental vehicle for internationalization. He concluded by highlighting the alignment of the newspaper “Bom Dia” with the various national associative and business initiatives.
José de Matos from APCMC (Portuguese Association of Building Material Traders) highlighted the benefits of strategic convergence between public and private actors for the internationalization of companies and national territories. He explored the change in the international economic paradigm, reiterating the need for cooperation to alleviate the difficulties that lie ahead. He also highlighted the brand “Made in Portugal Naturally” as a key communication vehicle for companies working in the house and building materials sector. He concluded by pointing out adaptation, creativity and differentiation, as national competitive factors, which make it possible to mitigate the constraints resulting from the small size of companies.
A case of international success was presented, with a brilliant presentation of the experience curve of the company Catari, by Bernardo Tavares Nery, who shared the path taken by the group, in the approach to more than 50 countries, with an international expression of “globalization”, since more than 80% of its business volume is already in the international market. He pointed out the Spanish and PALOP markets as the closest and, in this way, reduce the risks associated with internationalization. He also mentioned that the company started its internationalization process through direct export and, with the development and reinforcement of its presence, it started the process of opening delegations. He pointed out the organization and study of markets as the critical success factor, which allowed mitigating the risks of internationalization, focusing on the need to adapt the internationalization process, as well as the products to the characteristics of the destination market.
In the debate space, José Pinheiro highlighted the importance of entrepreneurs to develop a strong capacity and boldness and innovation, referring that internationalization allows reducing commercial risks of operating in a single market.
At the end of the session, Carlos Brandão gave a very positive assessment of the project, thanking everyone involved for their participation and support, especially the partnership with AEA. He stressed the desire to continue this project, continuing with the assistance to the internationalization of SMEs in the region.
The Master Export Project with code 37628 is developed in co-promotion, by the business associations AEA and AECA, within the scope of Portugal 2020, specifically, the Support System for Collective Actions (SIAC) – Qualification, inserted in thematic objective nº 3 – ” Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs”, from the Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Program, supported by the ERDF.