PORTUGAL - Economy
Partner, Yunit Consulting
Bernardo Maciel is CEO and Partner at Yunit Consulting and entrepreneur with investments in the areas of textile fashion, catering, music and corporate events. He has Degrees in Management and in Strategic Change Management from the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, in Business Development from AESE Business School and a postgraduate degree in Business Marketing and Sales. His main passion is the creation and development of projects and businesses. Experienced professional in business transformation, investment support, strategy, and innovation in SME.
Our goal is to be relevant to companies by supporting them through challenges and by being beside them as they make key decisions. Yunit is the right partner for SMEs because we have the skills, transversality, availability and diversification that they need. Our strategy is to combine the expertise of our team in serving our clients. We are experts in management, finance and engineering. Yunit engages in strategic thinking, supports decision making processes and carries out projects with a technical and business analytic optic. Finally, we seek to create value through partnerships. We are the consultant of reference for the main financial institutions in Portugal and collaborate with chambers of commerce such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP) and the Spanish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce. This adds value to companies, institutions, banks, and chambers while providing relevance to clients.
We are focused on SMEs regardless of their business focus and have experience in telecommunications, automotive, plastics, agribusiness, media, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Our team is experienced in areas such as biomedicine, mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, energy, and nanotechnology; therefore, we understand how our clients work. We support companies by investing in their innovation and R&D—the bottom line is to help companies optimize for the sake of profitability and growth. For this reason, we work closely with companies helping them to raise capital either through European grants, banking solutions or mergers and acquisitions operations. We advise and prepare companies through capital adjustment processes. To continue investing, it is important to secure strong capital.
SMEs cannot have managers for all specialties, as the numbers do not support that. So, we try to be by the managers during moments of transition to give them the value they need to make better decisions. For example, when they are going to make an investment, we help them decide on the optimum route in terms of the focus of the investment and the financial strategy to realize it. That’s the first step. EU loans are highly relevant for SMEs in terms of investment, and we are specialized in this. During 2020, the last program of European grants, we supported several hundred million euros of investment. That amounted to over 1,000 applications, and we represented the largest number of Portuguese applications to European grants. Meanwhile, we also work on operational organization, reviewing processes and helping firms decide on the technology they need to acquire.
We help clients understand the full scope of opportunity in matters of sustainability. As well as the environment and energy, we address the larger concept. Generational transition is a special issue in family companies, and ensuring sustainability allows the company to continue past one generation. Some operational consideration such as reducing operational costs by conserving energy, for example, are factors we can identify as areas for improvement and to promote awareness on the importance of reputation for stakeholders and the community. We drive innovation, which is necessary for sustainability. We consider small companies unable to compete in quantity or price, and ultimately you can only be competitive in the long term if you remain innovative.
The partnership model is in our DNA. We try to promote partnerships everywhere we work, even with banks. Our sales team works with branch managers to identify clients that need capital to combine with European grants, for example. With the chambers of commerce, we promote their work and provide tools for their members. Chambers of commerce are entrepreneur associations, and for them to be relevant they must give special services to their associates. Via events and webinars and one to one meetings and newsletters we create content to be relevant so they can provide their associates with the information they need. We also encourage professional development. The CCIP has an executive program in partnership with Nova SBE that we help design and finance it. We sponsor these programs and also place people in them and try to approach services to make the program suitable for SME budgets and profiles. Networking and collaboration for institutions are relevant to us for proximity to companies, but also enable companies themselves to talk to others in their sector for learning and business purposes.
We give partners tools to face challenges. In this regard, money is an important issue – as is democratizing European grants, which was an issue in Portugal in 2012 and 2013. At that time, only medium sized companies had access, because of the overwhelming lack of awareness among SMEs. We had many clients in this area and showed them that they did not have to have bank debt, but could seek alternative tools for innovation and investment, equipment and people. There is free or cheap money available for this. Through innovation SMEs can distinguish themselves and become competitive against larger companies.
We show clients that innovation is not researchers with white gloves in a laboratory; that you can innovate on the factory line, and improve in all processes. That is what we do best. The other thing is partnerships. It’s beneficial to have a third party that balances the feelings of both SMEs and banks. We build many bridges, which is why we continue to work with different banks. They understand that we provide a certain agility.
Portugal is an attractive country because of its geo-strategic location as well as its advantageous development path. Think in terms of energy that comes from America and South America and Africa; we are a platform that can provide energy or goods to the rest of Europe. If you rank international passports ours is one of the most valuable because we have a comprehensive array of agreements. We have agreements with the commonwealth because of Mozambique, with countries of the Southeast because of Timor, in West Africa because of Guinea and Cabo Verde, in South America because of Brazil, and the EU because we are a member. As such, we can open many doors. We also have considerable incentives for investment. The cultural and technical and educational development of the past few years makes us welcoming to companies, and a bridge between markets. Essentially, we understand the potential for international reach that is available to our clients and help them navigate arising opportunities.
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