Faro Avenida Business Center, the business that started from scratch, but is already thinking about expansion

Business was founded in 2014, when coworking and flexible spaces were still «a novelty» in Portugal

Inês Barra founded the Faro Avenida Business Center in 2014 – Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

In 2014, when Inês Barra opened, in Faro, the first space that combines physical and virtual offices with coworking, the concept was still taking its first steps in Portugal. But, in almost 10 years, it has gone from being “a novelty” to being the solution for many self-employed workers and even for companies that, not wanting to have a permanent physical space, resort to these alternatives.

“The first two years were tough. Many people didn't even know what it was. cowork and, for companies, it was essential to have an office. Nowadays, the opposite is seen, and the pandemic has accentuated this reality even more. People don't want to be compromised and this gives them great freedom».

In the words of Inês Barra, what distinguishes the Faro business center avenue it is, above all, «the diversity of alternatives», and, essentially, «flexibility».

Despite the fact that, in 2014, it was already a concept in vogue at an international level, even that did not help her in the early days, through demand from foreigners, given that, as she says, «at that time, Faro it was not a tourist city», something that has also been changing.

It took about three years for the business to consolidate, but today, Inês Barra is already thinking about expanding.

During a visit to Faro Avenida, located on Avenida 5 de Outubro, the Algarve businesswoman presented to the Sul Informação the 25 private offices, the three training and meeting rooms and also the coworking.

At that time, one of the many training sessions already scheduled for the month was taking place, with around two dozen participants.

«The time before summer is very popular for training courses, ranging from security to tourism. There are companies, and even public entities, that seek us from the beginning for this type of service», he says..

There are 1200 meters of area, spread over two floors, through which between 80 and 100 people pass every day. At the Faro Avenida Business Center, where lawyers, accountants, psychologists, designers and many more work.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


«Diversity is also very good because it gives these professionals the possibility of helping each other. We even have packages made for people who, for example, use our services to set up companies. It is an option much requested by foreigners, through which we provide them with all the services in a single space (lawyer, accountants, someone who makes the website, etc)».

And if, a few years ago, the customers were mostly Portuguese, nowadays, the demand is also from foreigners «who see more and more the city of Faro as a destination to settle down».

As for the space, it has already been restructured several times, given that the objective is for it to «adapt to demand».

«The rooms for psychologists or therapies, for example, at the time, when I opened, were not in demand. We didn't talk about it and now we have two rooms for this type of service», exemplifies the businesswoman, reinforcing that, with the pandemic, demand has become even more pronounced.

But, after all, how do the services of the Faro Avenue?

«People book, by phone, email, or even at the counter, the number of hours and days they want the space. Afterwards, it's all very easy. There are clients that we have never seen, for example, in the case of virtual offices, because we deal with everything digitally. For us, the key word is flexibility, therefore, the person, according to what suits him best, pays by the hour, by the month or by the year».


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


Those with a contract can still use the space 24 hours a day, although the reception is only open from 9 am to 00 pm.

“Each office has its own security and alarm system so people can come in whenever they want. General spaces, such as the bathroom and kitchen, are always available», explains Inês Barra.

Almost 10 years after creating the business, the Algarve businesswoman makes a very positive assessment of all the work she has been developing and even stresses that she «exceeded expectations».

«Today, there are already several spaces offering this type of service, but I think that, with this diversity and flexibility, there are none around here, so we continue to be unique and pioneers in that sense».

Even so, Inês Barra emphasizes that the country has a lot of room to evolve in this area.

«In Portugal, there is no association of flexible spaces, but in Spain there is a large association, which is very strong in Europe, the Pro Workspaces, of which I am a part. I am the only Portuguese to be on the board of this association, from which I learn a lot, because they are very ahead», she concludes.

Regarding the future, the businesswoman confesses that the next step is expansion, perhaps again in Faro.


Photos: Mariana Sedge | Sul Informação


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