The Hotel D. Luís, in Coimbra, was the stage, on the 31st of January, of the installation session of the Business Council of the Region of Coimbra, which results from the will of NERC – Business Association of the Region of Coimbra to refound the extinct ACIC – Commercial Association and Industrial de Coimbra, which in 2023 would complete 160 years.

The session was chaired by Francisco Assis, President of the Economic and Social Council, who at the time was convinced of the need for Coimbra to have a more active voice in national life.

“Coimbra is one of the examples of a region that can and should have a more active presence in national life. It is also, for me, a little mysterious that Coimbra does not have a greater intervention in national life”, he underlined.

The installation of NERC-ACIC - Business Council of the Region of Coimbra is arousing strong enthusiasm in the region's business fabric, a fact that is proven by the adhesion, so far, of more than two hundred companies, this being a continuous process.

“This movement represents, above all, the urgency to assume a new dynamic in the defense of companies in the region. That is why the Business Council of the Region of Coimbra has its doors open to all traders and businessmen in general from different sectors who want to join us. The more people who join us, the stronger our voice will be”, said NERC president Horácio Pina Prata, one of the former presidents of ACIC present at the session.

The Business Council of the Region of Coimbra also includes 20 personalities of recognized merit in areas such as academic, social, political, cultural or business.

“ACIC was an association heard in the most varied national forums and its voice was always taken into account when matters related to regional development were discussed”, recalls Horácio Pina Prata, who therefore defends its refounding, “with a program adapted to current realities, integrating and motivating the business ecosystem for the need for the existence of strong entities, which represent them and imprint dynamism to the region”.

The Establishment Committee of the Business Council is chaired by the economist and former civil governor of Coimbra, Victor Baptista, with the former presidents of ACIC, José da Costa, José Mariz, Maria Luísa Rodrigues, César Branquinho, José Espírito Santo and Horácio Pina Prata, in addition to former ACIC leaders and 20 personalities from civil society, from the most diverse areas, such as doctors Manuel Antunes, Duarte Nuno Vieira, Eugénio Leite or Carlos Cortes, the former president of the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Torres Farinha , university professors Helena Freitas and Nuno Mota Pinto, former Secretary of State António Campos, Commander Joaquim Cardoso, former mayor Jaime Soares or journalist José Manuel Portugal, as well as more than two hundred companies that have already joined this Advice.

Victor Baptista, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of Coimbra and its entrepreneurs taking a position on the Regional Council of the CCDRC and on the Strategic Council of CIM for the Region of Coimbra.

“We expect, within three months, to present some results, so that Coimbra once again has a cohesive voice, especially its companies, in a difficult moment such as the one we are going through”, he emphasized, concluding that the session marks the “start of an ambitious project” to which everyone is challenged to integrate.

The session also featured interventions by the vice-president of AIP – Associação Industrial Portuguesa and president of Nerlei, António Poças, representing the president of AIP, who highlighted the fact that Coimbra gained “a strategic importance with this step”. “This project is very good and the AIP will be stronger the better NERC-ACIC plays its role”.

The president of the Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal, Vieira Lopes, for his part, underlined the importance of associations working in a network, as this is the only way to increase negotiating power.

“This movement created here is, therefore, very important”, he considered.