In January, an Algarvian budget measurer at a construction company and an Alentejo topographer opened a type 2 surgical mask factory in Boavista dos Pinheiros, in the municipality of Odemira. The pandemic “gave up” the business idea, in May of last year, and, in eight months, “Vencer o Momento” opened its doors.
Pedro Nicolau, from Portimo, told the Sul Informação that after the idea came up and, taking into account that Paulo Candeias, the second partner, lived in São Teotónio, in the municipality of Odemira, the first decision was to choose the location of the factory.
“We thought that Odemira was a more deprived area in terms of employment. Between the Algarve and Alentejo, we opted for the Alentejo, to create some jobs» and also to invest the 500 euros needed to launch this project, co-financed by IAPMEI and Portugal2020.
For now, four jobs have been created, «but that doesn't mean that there won't be more, depending on the orders. We have just entered the market. There is a lot of competition. Maybe, we would like to have two or three shifts working, but we are still taking our first steps in the market», recalls Pedro Nicolau.
Pedro and Paulo had no experience in the health area when they embarked on this adventure, but “a person with a Ph.D. in pharmacy was hired, who is taking the process forward”.
Even so, stressed Pedro Nicolau, despite the two partners continuing with the same professional activities they developed before creating the factory, «at this moment, we have already acquired some knowledge, because we have been in this project since May and only now, in January, we managed to get him upright».
Pedro Nicolau goes «two days a week to the factory. I asked the company where I work and this situation was facilitated. My partner goes there every day, because he lives closer».
Leveraging a business, in the middle of a pandemic, in eight months, «was very complicated. It was difficult to get the manpower to do everything we needed. Then we had deadlines to meet. It was difficult to arrange the materials and production machines, which all came from China».
In terms of customers, they are already starting to appear, but “they buy minimal quantities, which represent almost nothing. We have a production capacity of 100 masks per minute”, and now, daily, around 10 are being produced and packaged.
The main customers of this new company may be hospitals. "We have already competed for three or four hospitals in public tenders and we are awaiting the results", he told our newspaper.
The expectation for the business, which is now taking its first steps, is good, but there are problems in this area of business. Pedro Nicolau gives the example of the State that «supported the manufacture of type 2 surgical masks and is now encouraging the purchase of FFP2, when nurses, for years, have always used surgical masks».
And then there is the issue of unfair and illegal competition. «The other day there was a seizure in the Port of Sines of 2 million masks. Our market is being invaded by Chinese masks. We also know that there are those who have been caught packing these masks in boxes, as if they had been produced in Portugal».
The entrepreneur admits that “it is difficult to compete with these prices, but we are trying. We have everything very right, with the Infarmed certificate, with several evaluations. We are doing everything legally and that is how we are going to fight in the market».
That's how Peter and Paul hope to “Win the Moment”.
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