If covid does not allow gatherings, instead of investing in the usual Christmas dinner, F3M, from Braga, decided to use this money to support the traditional commerce, financing the employees themselves, so that they could help the local shopkeepers to overcome the “terrible difficulties” they face.
For the Christmas celebrations, the technician had reserved between 8 and 10 thousand euros, a sum that came to know a very different destination. The close to 130 employees of the group in Portugal were “sensitized” to do their shopping in traditional commerce. In return, they were able to deliver the invoices to the company’s financial services. At the end of the purchasing phase, an apportionment was made and all employees who presented the invoices were reimbursed for all or part of the amount spent, until the amount the company had earmarked for the celebrations was exhausted.
Almost all the workers – from the head office in Braga, the Lisbon offices and the two subsidiaries, one in Avanca (Estarreja) and the other in Ponte de Sor – joined the initiative, thus benefiting from Christmas shopping paid by the employer. The company is also in Angola and Mozambique, but these countries were left out of this action due to the specific characteristics of these countries.
“The aim was really to boost local commerce and set an example for other companies to do the same”, explains Pedro Fraga, CEO of F3M and alumnus of EEUM. “I have nothing against big stores, but I felt the terrible difficulties that street traders were going through”.
It was an option that did not come about by chance. Pedro Fraga is also president of the General Assembly of the Commercial Association of Braga, a post he has accumulated with the status of business ambassador of the city, created by the municipality. “Being connected to these movements, I live very much what local commerce is suffering. The initiative we launched was only a small collaboration, more to make people aware of the importance of helping each other”.
It was a happy coincidence that F3M lived in 2020 “the best year ever, not because activity had grown compared to 2019, but because of cost savings, particularly with travel” – limited travel due to health constraints.
An engineer and entrepreneur for 33 years, the same as the company he created, Pedro Fraga reveals he closed last year with a turnover of 6.1 million euros and expects this year to grow by 11.5%, much on the side of performance in Africa. Exports accounted for 18.3% last year and are now expected to increase their weight in sales to 22.5%.
Created by former students of the University of Minho, F3M is dedicated to the production of software in vertical markets, that is, in the areas where the company provides technology that allows the management of all stages of the business, especially in the segments of health (it is in “most of the continuous care network”), optics, social economy (“we are in 3500 institutions, 60% of the total”) and textile (confection). Pedro Fraga confesses that the current pandemic situation is shaking him, but does not move him off course and says he has reasons to look to the future with “positive expectations”.
Source: Dinheiro Vivo