Cross-border agri-food development helped by Algarve University

saltThe University of the Algarve and the region’s business network, NERA, has been helping 25 local companies to develop innovative agri-food products as part of a Portuguese-Spanish cross-border cooperation.

Luís Rodrigues, a project manager at the Division of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer at the University of the Algarve explained agency that this work, "involves partners in the Alentejo, in the Algarve, and in Andalucía, and has as main promoter the Andalucían foundation - Andanatura.

Developed under the Spain-Portugal Cooperation Programme, running until 2020, the project has a budget of €920,000 and aims to "help companies and entrepreneurs to develop prototypes of agri-food products that allow value creation for companies and consumers,” said Luís Rodrigues.

The partnership enables, "the use of resources that UAlg has in its department of food engineering," with services ranging from laboratory analysis, support for business models, feasibility analysis of the business, investment and information on incentive systems."

"From here on we will enter the most operational phase of the project, which will translate into concrete support," said Luís Rodrigues, referring to "going into the field, visiting companies, validating business models and the new products they want to develop, and then defining a plan of action for each of them."

Marco Vieira, executive director of NERA, said that the project has a deadline of December 31, 2019 and there is "the idea that by the end of October or beginning of November, there will be 15 prototypes developed."

Jorge Raiado, of the company SalMarim, which produces sea salt and flor de sal, highlighted the "capacity of the university to provide help to companies" and the possibility that these meetings will enable companies to find a partner with whom it is possible to create "new products."

"They propose to help us make prototypes of new products for the market and it's a nice leverage because they have the theoretical knowledge, we have the practical knowledge and if we put it all together it can be positive for everyone," said Raiado.


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