Leadership & People
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INVITED EDITOR
Editorial from
December 21, 2023
8. Decent work and economic growth

8. Decent work and economic growth

Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
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Nova SBE Unveils VOICE Leadership Initiative: Catalyzing Competitiveness and Growth in Portugal

Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE), has recently launched the VOICE Leadership Initiative to bolster the competitiveness and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

This groundbreaking initiative seeks to mobilize a network of key partners, including business associations, large organizations, foundations, media, and experts, to offer comprehensive training and mentoring to SME decision-makers. The focus areas include crucial aspects such as business management, digitalization and technology, people management, growth and internationalization, innovation and entrepreneurship, and operations.

Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) – promoting sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all – the VOICE Leadership Initiative addresses the multifaceted challenges Portugal faces in achieving these objectives. Notably, the country grapples with low GDP per capita growth, a prevalence of SMEs in non-tradable goods and services with limited scaling capacity, and a lack of interest in exporting among many SMEs.

To counter these challenges, the initiative aims to positively impact 2% of the national GDP by 2026. It plans to achieve this by transforming small businesses into medium and large enterprises, fostering a shift from non-tradable to tradable goods and services, and promoting innovation, digital transformation, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability among SMEs.

The core of the initiative lies in a customized 18-month training program for SMEs, commencing in April 2024. This program comprises 80 hours of both online and in-person training, held in Lisbon or Porto, with exclusive access to online content tailored for SMEs. Additionally, the initiative introduces the largest platform of specialized mentoring at the national level. SME decision-makers will be paired with mentors possessing expertise in relevant fields, providing invaluable guidance and feedback on their business challenges and opportunities.

Endorsed by 13 founding partners, including the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the VOICE Leadership Initiative has garnered support from the agency for competitiveness and innovation, IAPMEI, and other key stakeholders. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa lauded the initiative as a "fundamental contribution to the strengthening of the country's business fabric."

The initiative opens its doors to SME decision-makers and professionals interested in becoming mentors and trainers. The application period for mentors and trainers was from September 2021 to December 2021, while SMEs can apply from January 2024 to April 2024. By leveraging Nova SBE's research and knowledge, coupled with faculty and researcher insights, the initiative aspires to create a lasting impact on Portugal's business landscape.

To explore this transformative initiative, apply, or learn more, visit https://voiceleadership.novasbe.pt/. Join Nova SBE in shaping a future where SMEs not only thrive but also play a pivotal role in driving Portugal's economic growth and sustainability.

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