José Campos e Matos leads organisation with 100 thousand members and that raises awareness about EU policies.
José Campos e Matos, professor of the Department of Civil Engineering has just been elected president of the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs Associations (YES For Europe). This entity founded in 1988 and based in Brussels (Belgium) brings together 100,000 members up to the age of 45 from 21 countries and represents the European Union in international bodies, such as the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance.
“It is an honour to lead YES For Europe. It is an opportunity, at a time when Portugal presides over the European Union and the Recovery and Resilience Plan is being discussed, but it is also a challenge, to bring the voice of the new generation of entrepreneurs to the highest instances of the European institutions, affirming their initiatives, networks and projects,” says the Portuguese, who rises from vice-president to the post held until now by the Turkish Gürkan Yildirim. The position also recognises the long work done in this area in Portugal, namely by entrepreneurs, by ANJE and by academies, such as UMinho, he adds.
He praises the EU policy in protecting innovative start-ups, many of which were born during the eurozone crisis and are now the target of the pandemic context, but there is still much to do: “There are support lines, credit with rates close to zero, and even applications for technological advances for these SMEs to compete with counterparts from certain regions of the world, because we need Europe to be more united than ever,” he says. José Campos e Matos’ main project will be to support the mobility of young entrepreneurs within and outside the EU. On the other hand, he wants all young entrepreneurs’ associations to be able to listen to each other and support Europe in this post-pandemic recovery period.
The professor advocates bringing the business world closer to schools and universities, because “this is what allows critical thinking, innovation and competitiveness”. He acknowledges that being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. “For example, it requires courage to take risks, technical and market knowledge or knowing how to communicate in a team and to the outside world,” considers the engineer, who has also raised awareness in forums and in the media for the gradual recovery of the economy and the confidence of citizens.
José Campos e Matos was born and has lived in Porto for 41 years. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father as a civil engineer and university professor. He has a doctorate from UMinho, where he teaches in the Department of Civil Engineering and does research at the Institute for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering (ISISE). He likes bridges “in their literal and figurative sense”. He is president of the European Association for Quality Control of Bridges and Structures (EuroStruct), vice-president of the International Association for Structural and Bridge Engineering (IABSE), advisor to the Middle East and North Africa Young Entrepreneurs Group (MENA-BAB) of the OECD and also president of the General Assembly of the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE).
He also participates in technical and standardization committees and has coordinated various national and international research projects on the subject of civil infrastructure management. He has several books and book chapters, more than thirty articles in international journals, and more than a hundred interventions in conferences in several countries, some as guest speaker, the organization of congresses, along with several technical and consulting reports for entities in the area.