Loulé honored the 92 Leader and Excellence SMEs in the county

The businessman Vítor Neto was also honored by the Loulé Chamber, but due to the work of many years

The Câmara de Loulé publicly honored the 92 companies in the municipality with the PME Líder and PME Excelência status, «as a form of recognition for the contribution made to the economic dynamics and good image of this territory», in a session that took place on the 15th of May, integrated in the Municipality Week.

The ceremony, which was attended by Pedro Cilínio, Secretary of State for the Economy, also served to pay tribute to businessman Vítor Neto "for the work carried out over the years, in favor of the sustainability of companies and the region".

With regard to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), organizations linked to the most diverse sectors were distinguished, from catering to hotels, from activities linked to tourism to health, passing through workshops, retail trade, environment, technology, food distribution, construction or real estate.

In total, there are 44 PME Líder and 48 PME Excelência existing in Loulé, companies that «play a crucial role in the local economy and employability», in a municipality that has the strongest and most numerous business fabric in the region.

“They are the main drivers of economic growth, as they generate tax revenues, drive innovation and promote sustainable development. They are the main agent for job creation, offering job opportunities to the local population», defended Vítor Aleixo, mayor of Loulé, at this ceremony.



The Leader and Excellence distinction is an initiative of IAPMEI and Turismo de Portugal for small and medium-sized companies with superior performance profiles, constituting themselves as “notoriety seals”. In addition to prestige, they allow companies better access to finance so they can develop their growth strategies and strengthen their competitive base.

João Rodrigues, from IPAMEI, was at the session to present some data on the business sphere of this Algarve municipality, which has a «special attractiveness», reflected not only in the number of companies, but also in what they produce.

«Of the 76 thousand companies in the Algarve, Loulé is, among the 16 municipalities, the one where they are concentrated in greater numbers – 13 thousand. It is also in Loulé that there are more SMEs with Leader and Excellence status», revealed the municipality.

«The provision of services such as gardening or travel agencies, commerce, accommodation and catering, civil construction and real estate activities are the main sectors of activity in the county. 96% are micro-enterprises, 3,3% are small enterprises, the remaining percentage being medium-sized enterprises and non-SMEs (companies with more than 250 employees). Of these, only 19 are based in the Algarve and 10 of them are in the municipality», he added.



So that more investment can be attracted in the future and in order to welcome new companies under the best conditions, the mayor announced the intention to expand the two business areas of the municipality - Loulé and Vilamoura -, within the scope of the review of the PDM.

«We are going to present this proposal to the CCDR and we are working to expand these business areas so that more companies can take advantage of the exceptional location. This capital needs to have room to grow», he assured.

The mayor also expressed his concern with the sustainability of development in the region. «There is a threshold beyond which more can become less, if we are guided only by the logic of the market and do not consider other values. It is also necessary to think about environmental values, quality of life, quality of urban planning, of the landscape », he warned.

In order to make the Algarve economy and its business fabric more resilient, the mayor also spoke of the need to respond to housing problems so that it is possible to attract labour. In the context of the work being carried out by the Municipality, he announced that «within a few days» the work of 193 housing units will be launched under the controlled-cost housing regime.

In the same session, José Apolinário, president of CCDR Alagrve, presented the Algarve 2030 Regional Program and the opportunities open to entrepreneurs in the region.



One of the highlights of this late afternoon was the tribute by the Municipality of Loulé to Vítor Neto, president of NERA – Business Association of the Algarve Region.

Businessman, manager, association leader, Secretary of State between 1997 and 2002, Vítor Neto «has contributed significantly to the economic development of the Algarve, and to increasing the territory’s notoriety, within and across borders».

The honoree shared this recognition with «the business family» and, on the occasion, spoke of the importance of the SME Leader and Excellence attribution.

«It is a kind of identity card that allows our companies to be valued by financial and economic entities», said Vítor Neto.

The Secretary of State for the Economy also praised the importance of this Leader and Excellence distinction, awarded with the European Enterprise Promotion Awards attributed by the European Union, «recognizing its impact and its merit in what is the competitiveness of companies».

«The companies that received this recognition managed to improve access to bank financing and also reduced their costs», said Pedro Cilínio.

In 2022, net income at PME Líder do Algarve grew by 183% and turnover increased by 22,61%.

«An economy with a vibrant, varied economic fabric, is a more resilient, stronger economy where the effect of growth will tend to be more lasting», emphasized the member of the Government.