Business Forum

edited December 1969 in General

Are there any Maderian 'business' forums online?

I would like to get in touch with people who have recently moved to Madeira who are not from Portuguese origin. I would like to know what your thoughts and experiences in regards to living on the island and what you feel is lacking.



  • A school for etiquette, manners and politeness would be sorely needed in Madeira. Especially for drivers on the roads of Madeira. If there is anything that Madeira is very good at it is being rude, disrespectful and arrogant.
  • Do you live on the island? Have to agree about the driving.

    Secondly, do you feel this affects the way businesses are managed on the island?
  • I wholeheartedly disagree that Madeirans are rude, disrespectful and arrogant I think you are discribing French and some Brits. I have lived in Madeira many years and find the drivers, in particular, much more courteous than Brits in Uk. They are the most friendly, generous people I have met. Of course there are bad eggs but there are in most societies. Mnay Madeirans can be vindictive but generally they are super people.
  • Hello, no, there are no Business Forums in English, the island is too small for that. If you are thinking on moving here: many freelance services can easily be done from here, with an occasional visit to your home country and clients. If you want to open a shop or supply a service to the local economy: this is more tricky at this time.
    We have many services lacking - someone should assess the potential of a new shop before the entrepreneur opens it (Most of the time, my advice would be "Don't do it there - this way - at all"...) but the Portuguese wouldn't want to pay for it. But many businesses thrive, for instance a dental laboratory run by a German lady, or a goldsmith, working for his home country and the local resident community. It depends on what you want to do?
  • Thanks for the reply - i'm a frequent vistior to Madeira and am amazed how saturated the market is but yet how much potential it has. Am looking into opening up a business there but want to get the feel of how expats feel about the standard of living and mindsets of the general population.
  • A lot will depend on what business you are thinking of. At the moment business in many areas is bad and up to two business a day are closing down. You can't just turn up and open a business though, you have to be licenced and pay a bond, sometimes a long, expensive process. I have always worked in tourism, thought about opening a business but not really worth it. But everyone has a differant opinion. My son would love to relocate here but the problem will be continuation of work. Here if you can't pay your rent or utilities you are bumped out and this can be a serious situation.
  • The Bat Wrote:
    > A school for etiquette, manners and politeness
    > would be sorely needed in Madeira. Especially for
    > drivers on the roads of Madeira. If there is
    > anything that Madeira is very good at it is being
    > rude, disrespectful and arrogant.

    BAT !, you are very sick, I'm so sorry ..........
  • I help people who want to open businesses, and even now, they are quite successful. One couple has a rental for e-bikes and e-scooters in the Hotel area, and another will organize round trips on the island with e-bikes. Both are now ventures on the island so they have the market to themselves at this time. Yes, they needed different permits but the requirements follow the European legislation and the costs are not excessive.

    The island thrived because of the wine, sugar and embroidery sectors, all of whom were iniciated by foreigners. The Madeirans are aware of this and they appreciate that foreigners may create jobs for them.

    if you want to start a business, we could meet and evaluate your ideas, I'm not charging for this (
  • I'm done some market research and unfortunately what i'm coming up with is that the tourists that frequent Madeira are really 'low spenders'. Now this is the part i'm trying to establish is this because they are doing packaged holidays and not interested in any 'add on's' or is the Maderian tourist market just not offering them what is required??? I know that any business i open there will have to be directed to the tourist market as there just seems to be no disposal income from the locals. Thoughts would be appreciated. I will definitely like to get in touch.

  • Thankfully, we don't have "beach & booze" tourists in Madeira, the flights are too expensive for this.
    Low-spending tourists take their money to Minigolf, not Golf. Many choose a less expensive hotel or - a growing market - rent apartments to be able to spend more on the food, the cable car ticket, toboggan rides and souvenirs.

    As to the activities: Have a look at It's only in Portuguese at this time but when you look at the activities, you see what the promotors are offering to the tourists. This is aimed at younger tourists - the age group the Tourist Board is also after - and residents. The company was created by the daughter of a local hotel chain owner, she wouldn't go into this area if it were not promising.

    We are also trying to create a permanent museum for an international successful traveling exhibition. With an entrance fee much lower than in Paris or London, this will also be a success with tourists.

    It depends what you want to add to the market!
  • You could target ex-pats or holiday home owners for your business.
    For instance we are not happy with our air con, but can we cant find an English speaking firm who could help.
    The company that fitted our via the builder, have already tried to rip us off so we wouldn't touch them with a barge pole, nor would we recommend them to any one. They wanted to charge us £8,000 euros for ONE outside units to work 4 inside units. This also included a refund for the nearly new unit they were taking out. We got a complete system for 4 rooms in the Algarve for less than £3,000 euros.
    Also what about a computer business?
  • Actually, things are getting better for operating businesses in Madeira, or Portugal, for that matter. One of the great "advances" is the new labour dispensations to be enacted as part of the government's responsibilities upon receiving the EU/IMF bailout package for its huge debt. (There are other minor victories on the local council level - such as being able to open your doors to a new business storefront immediately rather than wait the weeks it takes for the municipality authorities to inspect the premises first and then, and only then, following that, to allow you to open your business storefront to the public with the issuance of a license.)

    HOWEVER, there is still too much regulation in too many areas. Be careful the type of business you choose to operate as there wil be invariably some type of regulation restricting you in some way or the other. Yes, restricting you. Not supporting or orienting you. This is a sore point for many an entrepreneur in Portugal. Drives everybody crazy. This is what you should expect from a "socialist" political environment. Portugal still does not provide enough of a conservative business-friendly environment in my humble opinion.

    Oh, and that VAT went up to 22% is not exactly very helpful for developing sustainable businesses on a quite insular island either.... The insularity got worse with the loss of the only ferry between the island and mainland Portugal.

    Energy costs is another huge factor. A typical mid-size restaurant can run up bills of €1000 to €2000 a month for electricity.

    And anything tourism related.... Good luck. This is an area, as previously mentioned, over-saturated with everything you could think of.

    Another thing that is very common in Madeira are the "aggressive" copycat businesses. More aggressive than elsewhere I have been. You cannot live without those competitors. So if you do find a niche to exploit in the market you gonna have to count on inviting many others to not only copy and compete with you, but in some cases undermine you....

    Consult a good accountant and a good lawyer. Yes, I know. Where are they?
  • I think you must be on drugs or something. Do you actually drive yourself? Or are you just a passenger? You cannot seriously tell me the Brits and French are worse. I've also lived in the UK and although it can get horrendous during rush hours everything else is much better there than here on the road.
  • Thanks for the insightful advice. I've had the opportunity to speak to some Portuguese people who find the uncompetitive market just as frustrating. I suppose my biggest struggle is definitely going to be the 'nepotism' culture that seems to exist on the island. Which in my opinion drives all the bureaucracy. Saying all of this, we can't dispute the fact that the tourist market is not being fully 'exploited'. I feel there are only a few big players in the market who are pulling all the strings and therefore it might seem that the market is saturated. BUT then again i do not live on the island and might have a very limited view on how things really work there.

    From the comments above there seems to be a mindset that needs changing - with that i mean the way the Portuguese go about doing business.

    I assume everyone that as responded to this thread is working and living on the island??
  • I live here since 17 years, and learned the language quickly which enabled me to get my first job as Guest Relations in a hotel, a "bridge" between foreigners and the locals. This is a good starting point for anybody with people and language skills and very important for the hotel.

    I think you need to stay positive for any business you intend to set up, whether it be here or in your home country!
  • BAT,

    Instead of complaining start to learn how to adapt to different drive system

    The problem is you not us

    From your post the hate for the island is radiating more than the sunshine here.

    Don’t like than just ship off

    we have too many assholes like u, here.
  • The Bat - No I'm not on drugs, I have driven for many years here and in Madeira so I think I am well qualified to comment on how I find motorists in both Countries. Not very constructive comments - one wonders if some of the aggresion you seem to have experienced was due to your attitude, end of story.....
  • Clearly you are one of them. Have you even been anywhere else but Madeira? Maybe you will get the shock of your life when you see that other people n other countries drive and respect the road rules many times over the same level that the local drivers do. So fuck you too "tomstan".
  • Bat,
    where did you came from ??????????????????? Merkoland ???
  • Hi Ursula,

    Hope all is well. My business partner is in Madeira at the moment and would very much like to meet with you. If you could send me your details she will contact you and you could meet at your convenience.

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