IBM opens innovation centre in Fundão, up to 150 direct jobs possible

  • Lusa
  • 17 July 2023

The centre represents an investment that exceeds €1 million, 85% of which is co-financed by the European Union (EU).

IBM Portugal inaugurated an innovation and technology centre in Fundão, Castelo Branco district on Monday, whose activity will focus on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) or cloud computing and which could create up to 150 jobs.

The centre, which is managed by Softinsa (an IBM group company), is the result of a partnership between the Fundão City Council, IBM Portugal and the IBM subsidiary, and the investment exceeds €1 million, 85% of which is co-financed by the European Union (EU).

“This is a good example of the application of investment from European funds,” said the minister for territorial cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, during the inauguration of the new Softinsa/IBM Innovation Centre in Fundão, which starts with the creation of 50 jobs and whose capacity can reach 150.

The Design Factory was born from the rehabilitation of Solar Vaz de Carvalho, the former Colégio de Santo António, where the exterior of the building in the city centre was kept intact.

This infrastructure also houses the Centre for Territorial Studies, Mobilities and Heritage (CETMOPA), which received the collection of Hugues de Varine (French museologist who donated it to the municipality of Fundão), a coworking space, a business incubator and a social innovation laboratory.

The minister highlighted the work carried out by the mayor of Fundão, Paulo Fernandes, which allowed the rehabilitation of the building in an investment that exceeded €1 million.

Ana Abrunhosa also emphasised the Fundão mayor’s capacity for vision and strategy, as well as his “daring”.

“I’m glad that, from a very early age, he started to be daring, and today he is followed by others. In Fundão, we had a leadership that had a strategy, knew how to surround itself with the right partners and did not give up,” she said.

The minister believed that the work carried out by Paulo Fernandes “is a reference for other mayors and territories” and also highlighted the fact that IBM Portugal and Softinsa are creating technology centres in the interior of the country.

The president of IBM Portugal, Ricardo Martinho, explained that the centre now inaugurated starts with 50 employees but has the capacity to receive up to 150.

He also stressed that IBM will open a new technology centre in the country but did not specify when or where it will be set up.

For now, IBM has technology centres operating in Tomar, Viseu, Fundão, Portalegre and Vila Real.

The mayor of Fundão, Paulo Fernandes, was proud of the “people of Fundão” and thanked the minister for territorial cohesion for her praise.

“Fundão was never given anything. We have always had to fight hard” for “everything we have achieved here”, he maintained.

The mayor also maintained that Fundão is on the “right track” and that this centre has an “impact” on the region.

“A centre of 50 people is large and can go up to 150 jobs. This is the approach. It is to always grow in a sustainable way, to continue to be a point of reference so that talent from all over the world (we currently have about 70 nationalities in the municipality) can live and work here and make the connection with the community”, he concluded.