5th anniversary. The balance of half a decade of this active and collaborative business space. The Mayor of the City Hall of Santa Maria da Feira reinforces the bridge of "rapprochement” created between the territory and the diaspora.
There were 31 days of March 2014 when the Bizfeira platform, which aims to promote contact between citizens and investors from around the world with agents from the labor market of Santa Maria da Feira, emerged. Last week, the initiative celebrated 5 years of existence; 5 years directed to the dissemination and approximation of different ways of launching, cultures, registers and actions. At the commemoration of the anniversary and in a press conference of last Thursday, March 28, the Mayor of the City Hall, Emídio Sousa, stated that this is a project that was already "in preparation" at the time of his election; a project he has seen growing over 5 years, and that he evaluates with "pleasant surprise", when analyzing "the numbers" that the project arose, values that exceed expectations, because "at an early stage, they were not so high".
"I believe that by the end of 2019 we will achieve full employment"
Among the various commitments assumed by Bizfeira are the strengthening of the business competitiveness, the attraction of investment and of new companies to Santa Maria da Feira, as well as employability. Ideally, these assumptions will have as a result the increasing of wealth, the job creation and the development of the region. Bizfeira has already 2,000 registered companies, and according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) and the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), Santa Maria da Feira has now less 4,772 unemployed, when compared to March 2014 , showing a decrease in the order of 51%. Also in Santa Maria da Feira, the unemployment rate is currently centered at 4.5%. A percentage that Emídio Sousa classifies as "next" to the full employment, introducing in the discussion the reality of the various parks and business zones spread throughout the municipality. "The creation of spaces such as Lusopark and PERM was an important answer in this logic, since our Industrial Areas are full, having no allotments for sale. At this moment, we still have 18 thousand meters to sell in PERM, and another two allotments in Lusopark. We have a territory in a situation of almost full employment, and I think we will start to register the lack of labor force in few months, which will have to come from neighboring municipalities, particularly Vila Nova de Gaia"- stressed the Mayor. The objective now will also be to "increase wages", instead of "specialization" of the labor force. Globally, the business locations registered in the Bizfeira platform (PERM, EAE Romariz, Lusopark, CEF and Portas da Cidade) already total more than 650 thousand square meters sold.
A window from where the world is seen
The geographic coordinates are lost in space and the development of the technological universe has created shortcuts from one corner of the world to the other, a click away. In what concerns the capitation of national and foreign investment, and taking into consideration the forecast data, Bizfeira has already accumulated more than 120 million euros of investment. According to Emídio Sousa, this is a job that is achieved through actions such as the one the Mayor coordinated in Brazil, where he participated in a conference, trying to "convince Brazilian investors and citizens to come and live in Santa Maria da Feira." The Mayor also said that the Office of Immigrant Support of Santa Maria da Feira answered to "more than a thousand" requests in 2018, particularly on the second quarter, and admits that this is a "difficult" value to measure, since "many citizens end up looking for support in the family" that is already here installed. "Portugal has never known how to take advantage of the diaspora," underlined Emídio Sousa, also referring to the "solidarity and political” commitment that has been practiced by the Municipality in welcoming Venezuelan migrants. "In fact, a lot of the tourist demand that we register results from this same diaspora: they end up inviting their work colleagues or neighbors to come to know their land, and here our cultural offer also has a relevant weight" - said the Mayor.
99% of evaluations between Good / Very Good in the satisfaction surveys
Fulfilling the purpose of the accompaniment to which it is proposed, Bizfeira counts on more than 2.000 personalized business calls since March 2014, conquering 99% of Good / Very Good in the Satisfaction Surveys. Regarding the various initiatives organized, it counts with more than 6 thousand participants in business meetings, 50 business actions (economic diplomacy, clarification and presence in business initiatives) and 4 forums. Promoting proximity, there were also visited more than a thousand companies "in loco", and, in the online platform, there are more than 270 thousand visits. In terms of recognition, Bizfeira has been distinguished by the Agency for Administrative Modernization (AMA) as an example of good practices, also joining the 1st National Award of the European Business Promotion Awards of 2016, in the category of Support for the Internationalization of Companies, an initiative of the European Commission.