The main topics of the Portugal-Germany relationship with its many dimensions and opportunities provided the theme of a cycle of “Portugal Makes Sense” conferences, held during the four days of the HANNOVER MESSE and attended by dozens of entrepreneurs and the main government officials responsible for economic management.

The conferences took place in the auditorium of the main hall (Hall 2) and were broadcast live on the official HANNOVER MESSE website.

Here is a brief summary of the 10 conferences and the complete videos.

1st Conference – Why Portugal & Why Germany: Bilateral investment cases in industry

Starting at 15:30, watch this conference live on investment relations between Portugal and Germany, which will feature Luís Castro Henriques, AICEP Chairman & CEO, and Robert Hermann, Chairman of GTAI (AICEP’s German counterpart) as speakers.

The initial interventions will be followed by a debate moderated by Hans-Joachim Böhmer, executive director of the AHK – German-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, featuring Miguel Leichsenring Franco from Schmitt, Nuno Fernandes from Omnidea, Francisco Almada Lobo from Critical Manufacturing and Mike Eissele from TeamViewer.

Watch the full video here

2nd Conference – Technological Partnerships for Success

“Technological Partnerships for Success” was the theme of the “Portugal Makes Sense” conference, which featured the Portuguese Minister of Economy and Maritime Affairs, António Costa e Silva, the Director of the Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce of Germany (DIHK), Volker Treier, and the Ambassadors of Portugal in Germany, Francisco Ribeiro de Menezes, and of Germany in Portugal, Martin Ney. Carlos Ribas from BOSCH Portugal, Marcos Sampaio from Celoplás, Pedro Pires de Miranda from SIEMENS Portugal, Nuno Flores from Introsys and Rui Magalhães from CEiiA all participated in the debate, a showcase of German and Portuguese companies that are successful cases of technological cooperation in various sectors and in different markets.

The Minister of Economy referred to the great challenges of the European economy, namely decarbonisation, mobility and renewable energies, emphasising Portugal’s capacities in these economic activities, some of which have reached appreciable levels of maturity. Costa e Silva also underlined the many possibilities for collaboration between Portuguese companies with talent and industrial capacity and German companies looking for locations to establish their production for the European and global markets.

He also referred in a very positive way to the likely results of this demonstration of the technological and industrial capacity of Portuguese companies, encouraging Portuguese and German partners to strengthen their links, selecting Portugal as a destination for investment in the production or development of new products and solutions for the problems of energy, mobility and smart cities.

Watch the full video here

3rd Conference – Technological frontiers in renewables

Portugal went from having a chronic deficit in conventional energy sources to becoming a leader in renewable energy production, setting new limits through the combination of abundant green energy sources, thriving tech innovation and the ability to scale up. Portugal provides Europe with a low-risk, green-based energy supply chain based on wind, sea, solar, lithium and H2.

Watch the full video here

4th Conference – Engineered Parts and Solutions at the core of Portugal’s industrial DNA

Metalworking, mechanical and electrical equipment are Portugal’s leading export industries, historically integrated in European supply chains on account of their reliability and flexibility. These industries have moved up in the value chain, providing differentiated solutions, based on innovation and customer-centric service, critical in the context of deglobalisation and decentralised production.

Watch the full video here

5th Conference – Meet Industry Innovators

Industry 4.0 Case Studies of Implementation Involving suppliers in open innovation processes that cover capabilities not available in-house, shorten time-to-market and increase end-product differentiation. This underlines the role of a company procurement function in assessing a supplier’s innovation performance, understanding its areas of innovation, relevant development capabilities, and innovation competencies so as to judge if, how, and what the supplier can contribute to the company’s goals.

Watch the full video here

6th Conference – Digital Ecosystems

Portugal boasts a comprehensive mesh of competences in the digital economy, with many companies showing a global reach in critical areas. The country has several “hidden champions”, six of which have reached unicorn status. More important is the proven capacity to integrate with global companies and host critical competence centres, as proven by the likes of BMW, Teamviewer, BNP or Daimler.

“Portugal’s ambition is to be a true digital nation, because digital is the gateway to the large Portuguese speaking market, namely in Africa and America,” said Mário Campolargo, Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Administrative Modernisation, at the 6th Portugal Makes Sense conference, at the Portugal Pavilion at Hannover Messe.

Liliana Ferreira, Managing Director for Fraunhofer Portugal, and Portuguese companies from the digital sector such as INESC-TEC, Critical Manufacturing, Partnership SIEMENS, Infraspeak and Neadvance also participated in this conference dedicated to digital ecosystems.

Mário Campolargo referred to the investments that Portugal continues to make to “strengthen support for start-ups and boost the attraction capabilities of the community of national and international entrepreneurs”, with the aim of improving the country’s position as a platform for hosting clusters of companies and digital innovation ecosystems.

A common idea stressed by many speakers was that “digitalisation needs people, because it is human intelligence that accelerates the progress of solutions”, focusing on creativity and commitment to the common good, areas where Portugal has proven to be an active player in the European context.

Watch the full video here

7th Conference – Mobility: New energy charging solutions

Hydrogen will play a growing role in the substitution of fossil fuels, for those cases where fuel-cells are the solution, and with it the challenge to install H2 distribution capacity. Beyond that, EV-charging grids are expected to reinvent and displace the conventional petrol-station grids over this decade, bringing decentralised supply to the front door of individual consumers and/or turbo-charging units for fast-rotation stations. For EV-charging capacity not to become a bottleneck factor, companies with accumulated experience in grid management or electro-mechanical equipment are developing high-performance solutions and Portugal has been at the forefront, as shown in this debate with the public announcement of new patented solutions

Watch the full video here

8th Conference – Engineering & Tooling

Injection moulding is an efficient, versatile, and affordable manufacturing process, critical to most product manufacturing. Portugal boasts a strong cluster in moulds and plastic injection, historically with strong ties with the German automotive sector. Presently, new sectors and new processes are being embraced to differentiate and diversify. Portuguese companies will present you with different products such as children’s toys, auto interiors, or medical devices.

Watch the full video here

9th Conference – Autonomous Driving and Connectivity

Connectivity is at the heart of modern life and thanks to the progress in technology, it is also transforming our driving experience. How will we interact with autonomous cars over the next few decades? And how will driverless vehicles connect to the world around them to guarantee comfort and safety of passengers?

Watch the full video here

10th Conference – Role of SMEs in a deglobalisation context

The pandemic, trade wars and flaring conflicts have hit multinational groups hard, suggesting that resilience may rest with (industrial) SMEs, digitally global, but reliable and closer to production clusters of continental size.

Watch the full video here


Watch all the videos on the AICEP YouTube channel here.