Executive Director of BF Consultores
Raul Borges, born in Braga, and with a degree in applied mathematics and IT currently divides his time between business and investment leadership of BF Consultores, a company specialised in strategic consulting and access to investment incentive systems, founded by himself and Norberto Fernandes 23 years ago, and Icecare, an ice cream production company. In this interview he tells us about the success of BF, in spite of constant challenges, and about the Icecare concept: a natural handmade ice cream, which combines amazing flavours with functional and therapeutic effects.
What kind of services does BF Consultores provide?
In its 23 years in existence, BF has targeted its strategy towards attracting EU funds for the industrial sector. As this covers all areas, this ranges from aeronautics to waste, from the textile industry to the timber, metalworking, glass, natural stone, and plastics industries, among others.
What challenges do you currently face in these endeavours?
Coordinating the investment plans, and the respective dates, drawn up by the entrepreneurs, with the national strategy assumed by the government, to fit into the framework of the Portugal 2020 EU funding programmes, which has been no easy task.
Internationalisation and exports are fundamental goals for companies nowadays. Is this a complex process?
Yes. You have to draw up everything very well. Carefully study the market, in which you want to make a move. Visit fairs, network and get into partnerships with companies or local agents. This relationship is essential for internationalisation to happen.
«Since 2015 BF Consultores has also been part of the PME INNOVAÇÃO COTEC network, synonymous with excellence in the field of innovation»
What new courses is BF consultores embarking on?
BF has to innovate and be creative. Understanding changes in the market and adapting quickly. This is the only way to be prepared to bring this EU support framework, Portugal 2020, to a good end and to successfully face the next multiannual financial framework from 2021-2027. Along its journey, BF has obtained several certifications and since 2011 it has been certified in research, development and innovation management, in compliance with the NP 4457 standard. Since 2015 it has also been part of the PME INNOVAÇÃO COTEC network, synonymous with excellence in the field of innovation.
How did Icecare come about and with what purpose?
Icecare came into being in 2015, with a German partner who already had great experience in the production of handmade ice cream. The idea of setting up the factory in Portugal stems from the need to boost the ‘natural ice cream’ product and to associate it with functional and therapeutic food, and with this, the need to forge ties with the scientific system, namely INL – the Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory. We have set up a production unit in Braga, equipped with modern and energy efficient technology, as well as a laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, in which research and formulation tests are carried out. The goal is to provide the ‘health and wellness’ market with formulations based on biotechnological and nanotechnological research, associating natural recipes with the field of proteins and other molecules, creating amazing flavours in a fat, gluten and lactose free product.