The Municipality of Águeda is characterised by an industrial tradition with an endogenous entrepreneurial capability, which was assumed to be one of the major factors that contributed to the economic success of the city during the twentieth century. However, changes in the demand patterns of international markets, as well the economic crisis that took place due to these changes, affected Águeda’s economic environment forcing it to rethink its approach to economic development and innovation.
Águeda as a result has established projects to stimulate innovation and competitiveness. In this context, it is natural that the municipality of Águeda is a partner in 2 URBACT networks, including “Greening SME´s” related to the development of policies that stimulate the creation of sustainable businesses and the RUnUP network, in which the main theme is the role of universities in economic development of urban centres. It is also natural that that these projects are part of the same strategic approach as company sustainability will have to be achieved through innovation and knowledge transfer centres, including universities.
In addition there is a requirement to focus on entrepreneurship development on which the city of Águeda has grown but is now in need of revitalisation to reduce unemployment and improve the social and economic prosperity of the city and its population. Factors including entrepreneurial capability, the existence of a technical culture based on traditional knowledge and a large variety of small and medium enterprises in Águeda provide a framework for sustained development and an improvement in competitiveness.