> BRITISH-PORTUGUESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

FOR AN ORGANISATION FOUNDED IN 1911 (MAKING US NOW 110 YEARS OLD), THE BRITISH-PORTUGUESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HAS HAD TO RE-INVENT ITSELF NUMEROUS TIMES TO REMAIN RELEVANT TO ITS MEMBERSHIP

In the good times we celebrate each other’s successes and achievements and during the more challenging periods we provide focus for the support group which companies look towards for guidance.

Having survived two World Wars, a revolution, economic slumps, accession to the European Union, loss of the escudo in favour of the euro, the rapid evolution of the internet and mobile telephony, Y2K and more recently the Covid pandemic and Brexit – constant innovation has been at the very core of our modus operandi. Change is never-ending; we trust that with our intervention our Members can enjoy the adventure of adopting change rather than live in fear of it.

Web Summit helped point the spotlight towards Portugal as an ideal location for tech-based companies to establish themselves. This has prompted a surge in the local start-up ecosystem and demand for techy talent. Recent shifts in consumer behaviour, such as online shopping (accelerated by Covid imposed lockdowns) have acted as a catalyst for the rapid development of tools to serve this piqued demand.

Consequently, as a Chamber, we have adapted our offer to deliver events and services by providing access to thought-leaders in a variety of emerging fields. We have never balked at tackling social issues which impact on the workplace, and so, long before lockdowns highlighted the associated mental health issues, the BPCC formed think-tank groups to debate this and other sensitive topics such as gender inequality, discriminatory behaviour, climate change and the apprehension spurned by the rise of AI and robotics.

We recognise how essential the constant rejuvenation of the Chamber is to maintain the long-term welfare of our Membership, so we actively encourage “new generation” companies to join and help educate others regarding new business practices, trends, legislation and tools. Perhaps previously considered merely a distraction for youths, the science of gamification is now being recognised as a valuable and informative tool – and training courses on this topic have now become a regular feature on our events calendar.

Ultimately the prime objective of any ambitious enterprise is to win even more business, find new customers and expand into different markets. We achieve this by supporting Portuguese exporters to participate in foreign exhibitions and trade missions, both inbound and outbound.

As an authorised Intermediary Organisation appointed by the European Union to administer the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneur programme, we actively help aspiring Portuguese entrepreneurs to kick-start their nascent business by organising a business exchange with an experienced host in another European country which will then offer mentoring support to help develop the applicant’s Business Plan and allow them to experience the real world setting of managing a thriving business with the direct input of the company’s founder. A sister programme entitled EYE Global includes other regions recognised for their entrepreneurial verve, including Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, California, New York state, Canada and South Korea. Portuguese hosts also recognise the benefits they enjoy by accommodating foreign New Entrepreneurs, primarily getting a foothold in a new market, or just appreciating the unbiased perspective from an outsider who might bring fresh ideas.

We are a bilateral Chamber meaning we equally support British companies interested in the Portuguese market as much as vice-versa; we encourage commerce in both directions. The BPCC is united with other bilateral British Chambers of Commerce from around the world under the umbrella organisation Global Business Network, and they too are associated to all the regional Chambers throughout the UK. This structure facilitates the cascading of enquiries and opportunities right across the Chamber network.

British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce

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