#Guimarães4CSR: the portuguese city revolutionasing the dialogue between local businesses and solidarity institutions.

Guimarães is a city located in northern Portugal and one of CITIES4CSR partner city.

Founded in the 10th Century, Guimarães is well known by all Portuguese as the Birth Place of the nation. Early on, Guimarães has attracted people forming a strong local community. Guimarães took frontline in the industrialization of Portugal, making good use of a large number of available workers and local entrepreneurship. In more recent years the city has built upon its heritage, classified as World Heritage Historic Centre, in 2001, and has put cultural and sports activities as a trademark of local development, hosting a European Capital of Culture in 2012 and European City of Sports in 2013. 

 

Guimarães Context

Nowadays, Guimarães is one of the leading Portuguese municipalities in manufacturing and exports. The local economic ecosystem is formed of a large number of exporting companies, many of them family run businesses. This type of economic tissue provides local entrepreneurs with very solid awareness and engagement with the local communities. The city tries to have an active role in promoting local business at both national and international level. With this in mind, the project "Guimarães Marca" started. This ambitious initiative, which intends to spread the “Guimarães Marca” seal across five continents, joins efforts with a group of local leading companies in a project for territorial development aimed at pushing boundaries and promoting Guimarães as a business-friendly territory. Moreover, thanks to a strong an

d healthy local community, where no one is left behind, the city has also worked very closely with the local Social and Solidarity Institutions, creating the Local Group on Social Action (GLAS). All these organizations, are strongly involved and are part of the Urbact Local Group.

Guimarães and CITIES4CSR

The participation of Guimarães in the URBACT project, Cities4CSR, is of strategic value in the promotion of both the economic and the social environment of city. The portuguese city, indeed, aims to improve the relations between all local players, local companies and businesses, local Social and Solidarity Institutions and the local population. In the light of this, the project is contributing to create a local network where the public sector, represented by the Municipality, assumes the role of a facilitator of the interactions and needs between all the players and actors involved in the valorisation of the local community by making CSR part of the local mind frame. 

The main challenges Guimarães has identified at this point revolve around: promoting a paradigm shift, from philanthropy to CSR; Improving communication between business and social organizations; incorporating CSR within the corporate management guidelines; the retaining of human talent using CSR as a tool; providing the financial legal framework that promotes CSR and allows all involved to take full advantage of the law. 

At the moment, the city is experiencing a lack of a solid mechanism to bring into contact companies and non-profit solidarity organizations that directly address social needs. Therefore, the Municipality is starting a process with the idea to provide and promote a friendly environment in which local businesses and local solidarity institutions could connect.

 

In order to facilitate this process, Guimarães is putting into practice some of the lessons learnt during the URBACT E-University, as for example the use of the problem tree, and they proved to be very effective during the ULG meetings. In fact, the URBACT toolbox showed its potential in facilitating the elaboration of ideas, initiatives and the capacity of connecting actors to create opportunities. Now the idea is to move forward in this process: through the planned Small-Scale Action, which is the first attempt of development of a digital platform to test the feasibility of a virtual solution to connect those who need assistance and those willing to help, Guimarães will take concrete steps in the world of opportunities given by URBACT. 

Article written by: Vitor Marques

Submitted by Alessia Dagradi on 18/06/2021