Set in the green valley of the Serra da Estrela, atop a hill lies Covilhã, a place with a particular charm. A city in the centre of the country, once home to shepherds, wool production and very good cheese - ti is today becoming a weekend escape destination.
The University of Beira Interior brought youth to this aging part of the country. Each year, the number of foreign students grows. And eco-tourism is a growing market with artists coming to the city to participate in festivals such as the Covilhã Urban Art Fest.
The phenomenon grows from tourism to tech or manufacturing sectors and some already refer to it as the 'Portuguese Manchester." UK, not US. Companies looking for large spaces and financial incentives for expansion.
The public investment in industrial parks, as well as in the support to entrepreneurship and research turned Covilhã into a hub for companies dealing with textile, manufacturing, sustainable energy sources and technology. Recently, Altice Group announced a huge investment for a new datacenter to be built and FM Industries Sycrillor is moving in too.
Working with fine jewelry, the company will make a 5 million euro investment to build a factory in the Tortosendo industrial park. Dedicated to precision manufacturing, the new factory will create 200 jobs, calling on the University's assets to fill this gap.
Dior, Cartier, Tiffany or Louis Vuitton are some of the names with which the company produces for. Meaning that if you are wearing one of those, it just might have been made in a peaceful city hidden in the mountains in the middle of Portugal.