As we approach the summer holidays, the IPBN would like to look back over what it has accomplished so far this year. The network had a very active first quarter with its myriad events, growing membership numbers, and a so far unprecedented amount of connections made and stories told. Here are the main highlights of the quarter along with links to follow-up stories, spotlights, and related announcements associated with each one.
We began the year with the return of the IPBN Business Success Award held in January at the Irish Embassy in Lisbon. The event was well-attended by both guests and nominees for the award, hailing from a variety of sectors including sustainability, accounting, tech and software, health services, tourism and events, and more. These IPBN companies all made incredible strides over the last year in spite of all the unforeseen challenges brought on by the pandemic. Deciding on the winner, TireCheck, represented by Michael O'Dwyer, was surely a difficult task for the judging panel, and we were proud to give our members a platform on which to share their successes.
The IPBN's St. Patrick's Day Sustainability Conference at the CCIP was another successful event put on by the network thanks to the conference's official partners Enterprise Ireland, Heritage Hotels, KRA Renewables, and Konceptness. The event was well attended by IPBN members, industry experts, and special guests from the sector and began with a video message to conference attendees from Ossian Smyth TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment in a pre-recorded message direct from Lisbon’s Irish Embassy. Cláudia Coelho, Partner at PwC Portugal then gave an introductory presentation entitled “Take on Tomorrow: Companies’ Responsibility in Carbon Change and Green Energy Transition” beginning with a call to action regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions’ direct impact on the planet's rising temperatures. During the conference, former Chair of the IPBN Aoife Healy discussed innovation on a grand scale with Natalie Samovich of the Resilient Group, Mark Kellett of Keltech IoT, Carolina Almeida Cruz of C-More beyond the Obvious, and Lee Hodder of GALP. IPBN Board Member Susan Cabeceiras of Konceptness then led Laura McMahon of Lawler Consulting Ireland, Krystyna Rawicz of KRA Renewables, Pedro Barata of AGREEN, and representatives from Enterprise Ireland in the second panel discussion, followed by an exclusive tour of the Hub Criativo do Beato (HCB), the new Innovation Hub in Lisbon led by Start-up Lisboa, and Ombria Resort in the Algarve.
The IPBN also hosted a series of online Master Classes featuring leading experts from various fields from within the network. The first Master Class of 2022 was entitled “Building A Successful Marketing Strategy,” with Carole Smith, Online Marketing Coach and Consultant at SynNeo. The class covered three topics: How to promote and market your business at home and overseas, How to build a personal brand that supports your business, and Easy ways to create content without it taking you away from the running of your business.
The second Master Class was led by Mario Rodrigues, CEO of IPBN member company Upwords entitled “How Can the Linguistic Experience Boost Internationalization?” Mario is an expert at helping companies grow in foreign markets, so his feedback on this topic was incredibly valuable as we discovered the most common linguistic pitfalls when it comes to corporate multilingual communication and how to avoid them. We also learned simple yet effective linguistic solutions that can unlock international growth.
The third and final Master Class of the first quarter was led by Gerry Prizeman of IPBN member company Prizeman Consulting. The class was entitled "Developing Your Business and Team" with a focus on soft skills that have proved to be very valuable for SMEs as they seek to develop teams and secure grants, investments, and funds to help their businesses grow and thrive. As an Executive coach and trainer, and with a former career in banking with Bank of Ireland, Gerry was able to call on his customer relationship management, communications, and sales and media experience to deliver a truly enlightening class.
The network also hosted several events in the Algarve including the "Scaling-up for Tourism: Opportunities for Innovation in Tourism and the Challenges to Adapt to Transformation" event at the Faculty of Economics at the UAlg Gambelas Campus in Faro in partnership with the University of Algarve, the Algarve STP, and NEST Tourism Innovation Center Portugal. Efigénio Rebelo, Dean of the Faculty of Economics of the UAlg, and President of the Board of the Algarve STP Francisco Serra introduced the Digital Innovation Hub while Roberto Antunes, Executive Director at NEST led attendees through the role of innovation in scaling up Tourism for the new reality in which we are living. Next, in order to better illustrate the future of the tourism sector, the IPBN, along with Hugo Barros of the Algarve STP invited several Algarve-based tourism startups to present their businesses as a case study for what may be next on the horizon for the sector as a whole.
Lastly, the IPBN Algarve hosted the online panel discussion entitled "Post-Covid Strategies and Challenges" moderated by Chair of the IPBN Algarve Committee, Sharon Farrell with keynote speakers who discussed the day-to-day regulations the resorts must adhere to, how they have adapted to new regulations, and financial insights on how to relocate to the sunny Algarve. Chitra Stern, Founder of the Martinhal Family Hotels & Resorts said that the buzz word is “Pivot,” while Gavin Scott, Senior Partner at Blevins Franks said that business and personal life are parallel and changing, but there are some constants to which we can cling to ensure financial stability in the future. João Costa, Director of Sales & Marketing at Ombria Resort said “we have seen some challenges in terms of labor and the workforce…we have had to adapt," while Michael Stock, Administrative at Quinta dos Vales, addressed Covid’s effect on the wine production and sales at the vineyard.
The staggering number of tourists to Portugal over the last year is up 464.1%, which isn't all that surprising considering the lovely weather, and laid-back lifestyle of the Portuguese, but factored in with pandemic regulations, it is a doubly huge number. Visitors from Ireland were marked at 40K guests in 2022, which is the 10th-largest number of visitors to enter Portugal.