A space will be opened in Baixa de Coimbra that serves as a collaborative warehouse, nursery, and training space, focusing on sustainable economy models, where “partnership is the soul of business”.
COL.ECO (Cooperation in the Local Organization for the Sustainable Economy of the Municipality of Coimbra) is promoted by the Agency for the Promotion of Baixa de Coimbra (APBC) and opens on Friday. It occupies a two-story building on Rua Adelino Vieja, Coimbra’s “working poet”.
In this building, there will be, at the same time, a co-op shop, a space to incubate environmental and sustainable business ideas and a training space for people in long-term unemployment situations, project coordinator, Rute Castela, Lusa said. Funded by European funds and with the municipality of Coimbra as a social investor, this is a project that brings together many desires – to strengthen the downtown area, to promote economic activity and to link it to that area of the city.
“It is a kind of mini IPN [Instituto Pedro Nunes] For merchants in Baixa, it is fertile ground for small businesses that we can strengthen there,” stressed APBC President, Assunção Ataíde.
At the start of the store, there will be “three rabbits”, people who already have an established business and organized companies and will be able to contact customers to Adelino Vega, the official explained, who emphasized that training takes place upstairs for other projects to join in the window. from this store.
On the first floor, Eliana Ferreira is preparing for another training session. The 35-year-old communications designer and illustrator decided to sign up for the nursery project, with the idea of creating her own, related to illustration. “When I go to Coimbra, I want a nice city postcard and only find things from Lisbon and Porto. I like the idea of having more regional postcards, but I also want to do things related to people’s daily lives,” said the painter, who moved to Coimbra a year ago.
There, five people are trained, all with different projects, ranging from a grocery store with bulk produce, a healthy and vegan dining space, vegan cosmetics, or decorative items. “I lack the financial management aspect, the knowledge of media channels, I want to understand what would make sense, and know how to do several things,” explained Roberta Atzi, an Italian visual artist who recently moved to Coimbra.
Wesley Souza, 27, hopes to continue the cosmetics line, using some of the acquaintances of his ancestors, the indigenous Brazilians.
After the training they will receive, the idea is to test business at the co-op, which will now open with three curated projects – a tailor that reuses clothes, jewelry and decor pieces made from recycled paper and a second-hand clothing store. “A large part of small businesses immediately end up being born and it would be good for the people who left here to have something that is really sustainable and can generate income,” said Ruti Castella.
Ruti Castella explained that the project, which will last for one year, will help generate more business ideas, with the expectation that the store and the products it offers may change throughout the year of existence. “We hope that later they can earn wings and open their business, preferably in downtown Coimbra,” stressed the curator, who said she believes the space itself promotes “co-creation and co-production.”
Karina Horta is heading one of the three projects that will initially be in store. A 37-year-old architect, she worked in a traditional clothing store due to the economic crisis, but returned to her coaching career. Despite this, he decided to open an online business selling used clothes. In the COL.ECO store he debuted with a physical space, where he was able to juggle the project with his main work, also due to the collaborative nature of the store.
“We are three different people, we have different life experiences and they are going very well,” Karina Orta told Lusa, who also hopes that the ideas born there can work, in the future, “together” in the future. It is this focus on synergies that sparks APBC President. “Partnerships are not the sum of the parts, but more than the sum of the parts. In the past, it was said that the secret was the spirit of work. I try to fight it. For me, partnership is the soul of the business and this philosophy is the essence of this project”, explained Assunsau Ataide. He stressed that “the more we communicate, the stronger we become.”