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New APICCAPS President announces 50 million euros investment plan

May 9, 2017 / Portugal
New APICCAPS President announces 50 million euros investment plan
Luis Onofre, the new leader of the Portuguese footwear industry, will be promoting a campaign to attract young people to the sector and announced a new investment under the Industry 4.0 program
The new President of APICCAPS (Portuguese Footwear, Components and Leather Goods Manufacturers' Association) Luís Onofre belongs to the third generation of a family working in the footwear industry, and has one of the most renowned Portuguese footwear brands, created in 1999. Focusing on elegant high heel women’ shoes the Luis Onofre brand exports 93% of their production to countries all over the world. Worldwide known celebrities like Penélope Cruz, Naomi Watts, Michelle Obama, Laetizia Ortiz or Genoveva Casanova wear Luís Onofre shoes.

As Luís Onofre took on his new role on the 5th of May the worldfootwear.com has taken the opportunity to hear his views on some of the main issues he will be facing as APICCAPS new President.

Mr. Fortunato Frederico leaves you a powerful legacy with a strong association and a growing industry. What has driven you to take upon this challenge?

First of all, it is for me a big honour to take on this role as APICCAPS President. I was born and raised in this industry, and I currently manage my family business. So, it was with a huge sense of responsibility and a big honour that I took on this challenge of heading APICCAPS while we continue promoting our industry. Mr. Fortunato has been APICCAPS president for 18 years and he was an exceptional association leader. I have had the pleasure of being on the Board of Directors with him and I hope I can continue his legacy, giving my contribution to make the Portuguese footwear industry an international reference.

What will you be able to add to the Presidency of APICCAPS?
I’ve been in the footwear industry all my life, as most of the business men from this sector. From my personal experience, I think I can contribute with my experience in the fashion and design world. The Portuguese footwear industry has already set a medium-term strategy for its development under the FOOTure 2020 plan. One of the main elements to implement it is the incorporation of design and sophistication. These were key factors in the development of my brand, and I hope to encourage others to follow the same track. I strongly believe these are vital elements for ensuring the upgrade of the Portuguese footwear, so I think I can contribute greatly with my knowledge and experience.

You have been elected for a three years’ mandate and have presented an extensive list of initiatives to be developed in that period. Which ones will you highlight as priority?
The footwear industry at European level is facing issues due to its weak ability to attract young people to work on the sector. In Portugal the situation is not very different. Most Portuguese footwear companies have been focusing their efforts to attract new people, as they need to rejuvenate their workforces, with needs of staff for production, design, marketing, logistics, all areas in general. I believe it is time to look into this and develop a structured campaign to attract young people to our companies. We need more talented skillful young people in our factories. We are kicking out with such campaign in June.
The other important area to focus is the Industry 4.0. Portugal already has one of the most modern footwear industries in the world and our factories are equipped with some of the most advanced machinery. Now it is time to have the consumer at the center of our developing process. And this is for us the most important thing to consider as part of the Industry 4.0 strategy. We are planning to invest 50 million euros within the next 4 years to develop a strong program for our industry and this will be presented public soon.

2016 was the seventh consecutive year of growth for Portuguese footwear exports. What is next in the international agenda for the Portuguese footwear industry?
The Portuguese Footwear industry exports more than 95% of its production every single year, so the international markets are the natural arena for Portuguese companies. Although the industry has reported consecutive growth in its exports in the last few years, the markets are never conquered, so APICCAPS will continue to develop its international campaign, supporting companies in their presence in the markets. Every year APICCAPS takes 200 companies to participate in over 60 events all over the world. We will continue to focus on our main markets (mainly in Europe) while focusing on new markets with significant growth potential such as United States, Japan or China.

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