By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
Francisco de Sousa Neto, President of the Almancil Business Association (AEA), has revealed that all the necessary infrastructure for a planned business park in Almancil should be in place by the end of next year.
The creation of the Zona Empresarial de Almancil (ZEA), which is currently under public discussion, is the main priority of the association’s continuous action plan to improve conditions for local businesses.
Speaking exclusively to the Algarve Resident, Francisco Neto said: “The 12 hectare site, which is located in Almancil before the bypass as one travels in the direction of Vale Formosa, is expected to have all the necessary infrastructures to welcome businesses by the end of 2010.
“We have been working on pushing this project for a long time; it is a dream of local entrepreneurs to have an area with warehouses, offices and businesses together, which is one step closer to being realised.”
An agricultural engineer and one of the association’s founding members, Francisco Neto believes that Almancil continues to have a lot to offer new investors as well as existing businesses.
“Almancil is very well located in the region and benefits from excellent links to two of the best resorts in the region: Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago,” he said, adding that although other areas such as Portimão are growing and receiving a lot of investment, Almancil businesses have not been affected by this as they have a well-established business community.
However, the president of the AEA said that businesses now, more than ever, need to work together to achieve common goals.
“The association was founded 11 years ago by a group of 20 local Portuguese business owners who were unhappy with the lack of development in the local area, despite having a golden triangle with some of the region’s best resorts and many established businesses,” he said. “We must continue to work together to make our voices heard and move important projects forward.”
The association has a membership of more than 200 companies from around 2,000 registered in the parish, from all areas of business.
Included are a number of foreign investors, who chose to establish their businesses in the area and the numbers are growing.
“I estimate that around 35 per cent of local business owners are foreign. Our association has members of several different nationalities including British, Irish, Dutch, German and Italian,” said Francisco de Sousa Neto.
In order to keep members’ needs updated and to establish contacts with the regional authorities, the association holds lunch debates every two weeks.
“All of our members are invited to these lunch time meetings, where issues and ideas can be discussed and debated,” he said.
“We also normally invite a professional to answer any questions our members may have on a specific subject.”
The date of the next AEA lunch meeting is due to be announced shortly.
As an added incentive, the AEA also provides free professional training courses for members, including Portuguese and English language courses.
To find out more about AEA, please visit the website, available in English, at www.aea.pt or telephone 289 391 591.