According to data from AMECO and Pordata, the level of competitiveness of Portuguese companies is very low when compared to other European Union countries. Around 60% of Portuguese SMEs say they have no interest in exporting, 86% don't use essential management tools and more than 70% haven't made any investment in digital transformation in the last two years. In addition, the Portuguese business fabric is mostly made up of SMEs focused on non-tradable goods and with little capacity to gain scale.
Portugal continues to have one of the lowest GDP per capita growth rates in Europe and the economy needs to grow by almost ten percentage points to converge with the European Union average.
To help solve these issues, Nova SBE has created the Nova SBE VOICE Leadership program, which officially kicks off in April 2024 with the SME Management Program. This 18-month intensive training has a total of 80 hours of training, during which content, management support material and the support of more than 200 mentors specialized in critical areas for growth and internationalization. The program's panel of trainers goes beyond Nova SBE professors and researchers, and also includes a Mentoring Certification Program, aimed at managers and leaders who want to put their professional or personal experience to good use.
"This initiative is not just Nova SBE's, it's everyone's. It includes several partners and individuals who come together every day to participate in a movement whose main goal is to increase the competitiveness of Portuguese SMEs, with a direct impact on the creation of value and the quality of life of Portuguese citizens. This is the impact mission of Nova SBE and its executive education, which through partnerships and co-creation projects aims to contribute to a better and more sustainable society," said Pedro Brito, Associate Dean and CEO of Executive Education at Nova SBE.
Throughout the VOICE Leadership initiative, an Impact Study of the program will also be carried out by parameterizing and evaluating it in companies, studying their growth in different aspects such as exports, turnover, team growth, internationalization, among other analysis indicators.
"By monitoring and evaluating the results and performance of SMEs throughout the program, we can ensure that they will increase their productivity, but that they will also become real engines of economic growth, making a substantial contribution to Portugal's development and improving everyone's well-being. The impact assessment will also allow us to draw valuable lessons for policymakers and civil society to develop more comprehensive and effective programs for SMEs," explained Miguel Ferreira, Academic Coordinator of the Nova SBE VOICE Leadership Studies.