NERA President Vítor Neto

Algarve’s NERA business association celebrates 30th anniversary

It was 30 years ago that the Algarve’s first business association was launched. To celebrate the occasion, NERA hosted a party at its headquarters in Loulé on Friday, December 6.

The idea to set up an association of this kind emerged in 1983, but it was only six years later that it came to fruition, finally giving regional businesses a voice. NERA slowly became an example for other regions, which also started to launch their own regional business association.

Speaking to Barlavento newspaper, NERA President Vítor Neto said that these first three decades of existence have been “positive in many ways.”

“This is a cross-sector association that brings together several companies, from Zoomarine and Algardata to trucking companies,” Neto, who has been the association’s president since 2002, told Barlavento.

On the other hand, he says that NERA allows the region’s businesses to speak as one on topics such as economic policies with the government and other entities.

The association provides a number of services including professional training, consulting and the organisation of seminars and conferences, and also plays a role in applying for community funding to “globalise the Algarve’s economy and promote new technologies”.

NERA also acts as a powerful force in some of the Algarve’s biggest battles, such as the fight against oil and gas exploration.

Vítor Neto said that the association was able to create a strong base of opposition, along with other entities and associations, which led to a “public debate on how to fight against it in the right way”.

He also believes that the government did not take the Algarve’s importance into account during this year’s petrol crisis caused by drivers of dangerous materials who went on strike.

“The region’s importance was underestimated. Once again, we showed the government that the Algarve needed special attention during the crisis,” he said.

Neto also spoke about the issues of climate change and the drought that the region is experiencing, saying that the association is interested in being a part of the debate on how to best tackle these issues.

“I believe businesspeople should be at the frontline of any situation that arises. This isn’t just an issue for politicians because we have the responsibility of defending our companies and the jobs that they generate. This is a global social responsibility,” he said.

Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.