The Portuguese Business Association (AEP), previously known as the Porto Industrial Association, was founded in May 1849, with the aim of “developing and perfecting the industry – to instruct and educate the working classes – introduce amongst us mutual aid and improvement of conditions for workers – and all the legal advantages that the industry may derive from such a gathering”.
The Association began its activities immediately, launching the first issue of a publication dedicated to industrial and technological information, the “O Jornal da Associação Industrial Portuense” [Porto Industrial Association Newspaper], followed by the inauguration, two months later, of the first Portuguese vocational education school, the “Industrial School of Porto”, which pioneered technical official teaching that had been instituted by the Government at the end of that same year.
In these early stages, the organisation also dedicated itself to other large endeavours that remained deeply connected to the history of Porto as a city, and to the Portuguese industry. This was the case, for instance, with the crucial role played by the association in the development of the mutual aid ideal, in the establishment of some banking institutions and the launching of fairs and industrial exhibitions.
The Caixa de Socorros Mútuos [Mutual Aid Bank], later called the Caixa de Crédito Portuense, was founded in 1854. In the field of financial activity, AEP supported the creation of the Banco Aliança and a mortgage bank.
In its first phase, AEP also played a very important role in the organisation of industrial fairs. In 1856, the first permanent exhibition was inaugurated in the headquarters of AEP. These first events were excellent tests for the great exhibition that opened in 1861, in the Bolsa Palace, with the presence of King D. Pedro V.
Over these 170 years, the association has always been guided by the priorities laid out in its original charter: defending the interests of Portuguese industry, providing economic and technological information, vocational training and promotion of Portuguese products and services.
Today, AEP is the largest business association in Portugal, and has obtained the status of Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It has plenty of work to show for it in terms of supporting Portuguese business activity in several sectors and in defending and promoting the interests of the business community.
AEP has also been a prized partner of governments in the discussion of issues related to the development of the Portuguese economy, and has a seat on the European Economic and Social Committee. Its services towards development have been public officially recognized: it is an Honorary Member of the Order of Prince Henry and possesses the Agricultural and Industrial Merit commendation (Industrial Class).
31. Luís Miguel Magalhães Ribeiro | Since 15 July 2019
30. José Paulo Sá Fernandes Nunes de Almeida | 2014 -2019
29. José António Ferreira de Barros | 2008-2014
28. Ângelo Ludgero da Silva Marques | 1985-2008
27. António Luís Amorim Martins 1984-1985
26. Jorge Adolfo Quintela de Almeida Ferreirinha 1982-1984
25. Francisco de Nápoles Ferraz de Almeida e Sousa 1974-1982
24. Mário de Sousa Drumond Borges 1937-1974
23. Francisco Xavier Esteves (2.º mandato) 1919-1937
22. Luís Firmino de Oliveira 1917-1918
21. Francisco Xavier Esteves (1.º mandato) 1914-1917
20. Félix Fernandes de Torres 1910-1914
19. Henrique Carvalho de Assunção 1910
18. António da Silva Marinho 1908-1910
17. António Francisco Nogueira 1903-1908
16. António Alves Calem Júnior 1901-1903
15. António José Gomes Samagaio 1899-1901
14. Diogo José Cabral 1899
13. Alfredo da Fonseca Meneres 1898-1899
12. Francisco José Nogueira 1897-1898
11. António Manuel Lopes Vieira de Castro 1897
10. Jacinto da Silva Pereira da Magalhães (2.º mandato) 1896-1897
9. Adolfo da Cunha Pimentel 1893-1895
8. Jacinto da Silva Pereira da Magalhães (1.º mandato) 1891-1893
7. Tomás António de Oliveira Lobo 1872-1890
6. Vicente Ferreira Pacheco 1868-1871
5. António Bernardo Ferreira 1859-1867
4. José da Silva Passos 1856-1858
3. José Vitorino Damásio 1855-1856
2. José Frutuoso Aires de Gouveia Osório 1854-1855
1. Joaquim Ribeiro de Faria Guimarães 1852-1854
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