COTEC Portugal is the main Portuguese business association for the promotion of business innovation and technological cooperation. The COTEC Portugal universe includes multinational companies, large national groups and SMEs, in various areas of activity, representing, in aggregate terms, more than 16% of GDP in gross added value and 8% of private employment. COTEC Portugal’s main activities include anticipating and reflecting on key innovation themes with an impact on the competitiveness of companies, activating collaborative platforms and networks and contributing to the improvement of public policies in matters of innovation. Established in 2003, COTEC Portugal was worthy of, from the onset, the support of the incumbent President of the Republic, who currently holds the status of Honorary President. More recently, COTEC was distinguished with the status of a public benefit institution.
With the mission of “promoting the increase in the competitiveness of companies located in Portugal, through the development and diffusion of a culture and practice of innovation, as well as the knowledge in the country”, COTEC is a non-profit association that counts on the support of its Associates and the institutions of the National Innovation System (SNI) to achieve its objectives, through initiatives in various areas.
For the first time, Portugal saw the birth of a private project (in which a significant part of the business sector was organized to promote innovation) and whose special characteristics, born of an initiative from the President of the Republic and with the support of SNI institutions, enables this associative structure to meet the conditions to lead the process of change in Portugal contemplated in its mission. COTEC believes that this leadership will have to be achieved, through the clarity, rigor and effectiveness of its intervention. And this is a commitment made by its Board.
The project that COTEC set out to implement is part of an extremely complex social context, involving many potential players (companies – some associated with COTEC Portugal and others not -, associative structures, public institutions – some linked to central power and others to local power – , among others) with distinct and potentially conflicting objectives, constraints in very different areas – economic, social, educational and cultural – that determine that the most significant transformations to operate will necessarily be of a medium or long term nature and with very different evaluation perspectives.
In this regard, it is absolutely necessary for COTEC to act as a network within the SNI, which implies knowing, taking advantage of and enhancing the work developed by the public and private organizations that are on the ground with a track record and, simultaneously, challenging other institutions that, not having adapted to the change, need encouragement and support to achieve it. COTEC knows that only with a culture of rigor, non-dispersion in action and with a policy more focused on “doing” than on “promising” can you be prestigious and be a significant part of the SNI. This is the way of being and the culture that has guided COTEC Portugal in its activity so far and that this association will continue to advocate in the future; internally, with the support of Associates and SNI institutions and players and, at the European level, with a special partnership with its Spanish and Italian counterparts.