Valverde del Camino is a municipality with an area of 219 km2, located within the natural region of Andévalo, a transition between Sierra de Huelva to the North and the Coast and El Condado to the South.
Its geographical position, just 45 km from Huelva and 85 km from Seville, has made possible a great development since it is a transit town in the main North-South communication axis of the province.
Valverde del Camino has 12,750 inhabitants, with a demographically sustained growth in recent years where the largest population group is between 40 and 54 years of age.
The inhabitants of the town have an average income that exceeds the provincial average income, which explains why it is one of the most important economic centres in the province. In addition, the unemployment rate has been decreasing progressively in recent years, with the exception of 2020, something that undoubtedly shows an economic reactivation in the city.
The prehistoric settlement in the area has been confirmed thanks to the existence of numerous dolmens in the area, such as Los Gabrieles, Cabezo de la Hueca or El Monje. The Roman road demonstrates the mining importance of this mountainous enclave that has other vestiges of the time such as the tombs of the Baldomero and La Becerra orchards, without forgetting the remains found in La Melera or Los Campillos.
The fortress of La Zau dates from the Muslim period and is located in the Los Gabrieles dolmen complex. The origin of the current population centre dates back to the Facanías guesthouse, a place to stop and rest that appears in documents as such in the 14th century.
During the repopulation processes, Valverde quickly reached a great demographic dynamism but it was not until 1732 when it reached the category of independent town, at the hands of Felipe V.
BUSINESSES AND ECONOMY
The population, dedicated to traditional professions of the modern age (millers, farmers, cowboys), underwent a radical change with the arrival of the English mining companies that, in the second half of the 19th century, exploited the subsoil and built the first mining railway of Andalusia.
The great momentum that mining experienced in the whole of the basin at the end of the 19th century was strongly felt in Valverde due to the establishment in the municipality, at the beginning of the 20th century, of the United Álkali Company.
Valverde, like any other town, has undergone a major urban transformation in recent decades. At present, the project of the “Industrial and Technological Park” stands out as a source of local development, providing a large number of square meters of industrial land, as well as the former industrial estate “El Monete”.
The industrial sector has a very important role in the local economy, with a well-developed business network that has its greatest exponents in the footwear and furniture industry, although its weight in the local GDP has decreased due to the contributions of other economic activities such as mining and auxiliary services.
Among the crops, the hectares dedicated to cereals, olive groves and sunflowers stand out, as well as the emerging intensive irrigated agriculture, which has ideal conditions for its development at the southern end of the municipality.
The services sector, agricultural exploitation and forestry work related to the reforestation of agricultural lands or the treatments of eucalyptus complete the local economy.
On the other hand, the hospitality industry stands out, both for the number of establishments and for the quality and diversity of its offer.
The business network of Valverde del Camino is made up of, fundamentally, micro-companies with 1 to 5 workers.
In 2019, the number of new companies was 24, a ratio that makes clear the entrepreneurial nature of the population. This spirit of entrepreneurship was manifested mainly among young people under 30 years of age.
HERITAGE AND CULTURE
-Parish Church of Our Lady of Rest
Built between the 16th and 17th centuries, it was rebuilt during the following century. It is a magnificent sample of Andalusian baroque temples. It contains important carvings of Huelva imagery and the three facades conserve the Seville pictorial tile altarpieces from the 17th century.
-Santa Ana Chapel
It dates from the 16th century and has the privilege of being considered the first Christian temple in the town.
-Hermitage of the Saint. Neo-baroque in style, It is inspired by the Seville Baroque architecture of the 18th century. It is located in the recreational area of El Pino, in an environment of singular beauty.
-Coronada Bridge. From the 18th century.
-Bullring. This stage that has seen the greatest bullfighters. It was built in 828 with lime, stone and brick at the ends.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, various companies with British capital had their headquarters in Valverde del Camino. The only existing Victorian house in Spain is preserved here, from the year 1876.
In 1912, The United Alkali Company built the Directorate House, which houses the museum of the same name. The town has preserved other buildings of railway origin such as the station, offices, workshops and homes of British personnel that today have various uses
–Dolmenic group Los Gabrieles
The places close to the current population area bear witness to the importance of this area in the Bronze Age. The dolmens have the proper functionality of collective burials. Of the megalithic monuments that exist in the area, three stands out: Los Gabrieles (6 monuments), included in the dolmenic route of the province of Huelva, El Pozuelo (13 groups) and Cabezo de la Hueca (2 monuments) in the forest villages of Manzanito and Guijo.
There are many routes that can be covered on foot, by bike or on horseback.
-Campanario-Peña Geraldo route, which runs through the mines of the same name
-Molinos del Odiel route
-Arroyo Fresnajoso route
-Molinos del Agua route, which takes advantage of the route that leads to the town of San Juan del Puerto of the old mining train for recreational purposes, as well as the Via Verde de Riotinto, which allows you to complete the path on foot or by bike until you reach Riotinto mines.
-El Saltillo and Lomero Llano Periurban Park, a few kilometres from the town centre, is a common place for recreation.
Also, within the popular mountain architecture of the area, the innumerable springs, distributed throughout the term (El Granizo, La Teja, Los Silos, El Faroto, etc.), constitute other elements of interest.
Even taking a tour of the industrial fabric of Valverde can be a great experience for the visitor, being able to contemplate first-hand how products of such tradition and great brand value are made and marketed as footwear and artisan furniture, all this invites without doubt to live the experience to discover the reason behind the good reputation of these products.
In addition, it is worth highlighting the festivities in Valverde: Easter, Carnivals, the Festival of Our Lady of Rest and the Velá de Santa Ana.
Valverde has a magnificent location since it is in the centre of the province of Huelva, at the foot of the mining area and the Andévalo.
Valverde is a few kilometres from the capital and, therefore, from the access to the sea. The port of Huelva, one of the main ports in Spain, is just 30 minutes away.
On the other hand, Valverde is 85 kilometres from Seville and its airport, where it can be reached via highway (A-49) and can be accessed from Valverde via La Palma de Condado (15 minutes), Niebla (20 minutes), San Juan del Puerto (22 minutes). In other words, it has quick, easy and comfortable access to the highway.
Valverde del Camino has great political, social, business and even institutional stability. With all this it is guaranteed that there will be no major changes in the short term in any of these areas described.
This context of stability is a guarantee of harmony, seriousness and respect for the rules stipulated for investments, minimizing their risks.
The Valverde del Camino City Council together with public allies such as the Huelva Provincial Council and other organizations are designing and implementing policies of real support to investors in the city, creating a microclimate to facilitate these investments to materialize and establish with the best possible conditions.
These are policies that range from the creation of more industrial land to AIDS to the establishment of companies, the provision of advisory services, tax flexibility for companies, bureaucratic reduction for investment, etc. The objective is not only to facilitate investments and the establishment of companies but also to achieve a higher return and profitability in less time.
4-AVAILABILITY OF INDUSTRIAL LAND
The municipality has square meters of industrial land in the “El Monete” estate and in the Industrial and Technological Park, an amount that is increasing due to the demand of local and foreign companies for their establishment, and the forecast of future investments that will arrive at short notice.
5-HIGH QUALIFICATION OF HUMAN RESOURCES: an important pool of talent
6-STRENGTH OF TWO DRIVING SECTORS: THE FOOTWEAR AND FURNITURE INDUSTRIES.
The footwear sector enjoys a great reputation, its quality level is outstanding and its diversity reaches different market segments.
7-IMPORTANCE OF THE MINING SECTOR, which obtains good results in production
8- ASSOCIATIONS. In Valverde there is an Association of Commercial Entrepreneurs that belongs to the Huelva Federation of Entrepreneurs, as well as the Association of Footwear Entrepreneurs (APICAL) with a long tradition in the city trying to highlight, defend and promote the needs of local companies.
CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL RESPONSE PLAN TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS
The Valverde City Council has already paid the 60,000 euros to the 99 self-employed workers and SMEs that took part in the Extraordinary Business Support Fund at the end of March 2021.
The initiative is included in the City Council’s Special Response Plan to the Covid-19 crisis, for which a credit modification has been unanimously approved that will bring the enhancement of the responses of the Plan that began more than a year ago with the approval of more than 350,000 euros to help the self-employed, SMEs and families during the pandemic.
In addition, the city council has offered 120,000 euros in direct aid for current expenses to the self-employed during the hardest months of confinement; 10,000 euros for training programs and 20,000 euros for business associations.
1- MINING SECTOR
These mining operations are obtaining very good results in terms of production, something that is being accompanied by great benefits due to the average prices that elements such as copper, tin, lead, gold, etc. are trading in international markets. Therefore, the city is considering a multitude of business activities aimed at providing services of all kinds to these mining operations.
The dynamics of business activity of this sector in this area create many opportunities since its main strategy when it comes to the exploitation and management of the deposits is to subcontract most of the general services necessary for the operation.
The location is a competitive advantage over other towns, but in Valverde we must also highlight the accesses to the cities of Huelva or Seville. Quality highways, the Port of Huelva, airports and the high-speed train has fast and comfortable access.
To this, we must add a significant amount of available industrial land for the implementation of economic activities, good Internet connection infrastructures, industrial estates (which will be expanded shortly) well equipped for the storage and management of goods.
Opportunities are generated around:
-Logistics node of companies.
Valverde is a magnificent place to locate delivery platforms (food sector, energy sector, mechanical sector), merchandise storage management centres or delivery and courier companies.
-Companies with provincial coverage.
Valverde is a competitive option for the establishment of companies that wish to provide provincial coverage to their offer, in terms of services or products. Due to its location, it will mean a reduction in transport costs, greater availability and proximity to the customer, as well as a reduction in movements and logistics links.
-Green logistics companies
Green logistics is one of the trends today in the logistics world, so the creation of green packaging companies, environmentally friendly transport or sustainable storage and automation by robotization generate great investment alternatives in the area.
This sector has traditionally been one of the so-called engines for the Valverde economy. It is a sector with a great tradition that some years ago accounted for 44% of the local GDP. Currently, the 15 footwear and leather goods companies that make up this sector are experiencing a great resurgence, which allows for a hopeful forecast with a solid present and a very attractive immediate future for this activity.
The sector is run by the Association of Footwear Entrepreneurs (APICAL) with a long tradition in the city, which tries to highlight, defend and promote the needs of local companies.
The opportunities of the sector are generated around:
On-line and off-line platforms for the commercialization of footwear supported by the great quality, variety and design that is offered and manufactured in Valverde.
-Creation of new brands
Valverde has the right conditions for the creation of new footwear brands or accessory lines. It is the productive centre for the manufacture of these products and that is why there are many auxiliary companies (leathers, soles, etc.) that support the footwear industry.
-Valverde: Production Centre
The production capacity is large and the production costs are lower, which would be a great opportunity for brands with production needs.
-Export and import
Investing in companies whose purpose is to export Valverde footwear and accessories, as well as importing materials that are necessary for the sector such as leather, heels, dyes, etc., these companies could serve both local companies and companies from other regions. This type of initiative greatly favoured the development of the sector in the city, as well as offering good results for investment.
Local shoe companies have certain automation processes for the manufacture of the shoes. However, certain opportunities are foreseen around a higher rate of robotization and process automation not only in production processes but also in areas such as marketing, ERP, CRM.
4- FURNITURE SECTOR
The economy of the city requires a conversion towards the culture of digitization both for production and for the commercialization and control of products and services.
In addition, Valverde is going to initiate a conversion process towards a ‘Smart City’ that will bring benefits to citizens.