Startup Portugal: A Program To Support Entrepreneurship

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The European startup scene is on the rise, making it easier for entrepreneurs to found their companies and realize their ideas. Here's how Portugal's government takes on this matter.

On the 8th of March, the governmental strategy to support entrepreneurship – Startup Portugal – was launched by the Portuguese government during the new office’s opening ceremony of one the biggest growing startups in the country, Uniplaces (raised $24 million last year).

According to João Vasconcelos, State Secretary for Industry and former Executive Director of Startup Lisboa, a local incubator, ‘Portugal is rich in talent and diversity. (…) It has currently one of the most vibrant startup ecosystem in Europe, being the perfect place to create, test, fail and try again’.

Hence, this strategy aims to promote and support national startups and attract international entrepreneurs to build their business in Portugal. Also, its vision ‘as a national strategy for entrepreneurship, is to expand this dynamic to the entire country and across all sectors’, João Vasconcelos declared.

The Startup Portugal program is made of 15 broad and diverse measures:

#1 Launch Startup Portugal Calls

Portugal Ventures, one of the biggest venture capital institutions in Portugal, will play a new role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem – it will no longer focus only on investment, but it will have a more active role coordinating, implementing and monitoring several measures.

#2 Launch Startup Voucher

It aims to support young people with college education in developing business projects.

#3 Create Ignition & Acceleration Vouchers

The government will distribute vouchers worth 10 million euros for incubators and accelerators to support startups in their incubation and acceleration stages.

#4 Launch Momentum Program

New graduates that benefited from higher education scholarships can apply for a set of tools to help the development of their business idea.

#5 Match-Funding Along With Business Angels

Matching funds can go up to 66 million euros, aiming to attract more private, national and international investors.

#6 Match-Funding With Venture Capital Funds

Use of matching funds that can go up to 400 million euros in order to reinforce the venture capital strategy.

#7 Equity Crowdfunding & Peer-To-Peer Promotion

The regulatory process for equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer financing is going to be initiated.

#8 Launch Seed Program

Create a more favorable tax system for those who invest in startups.

#9 Launch Portuguese Incubators Network

Promote the cooperation and the sharing of resources between existing business incubators and support the launch of new ones, mainly within the Agrifood, Sea, Energy, Tourism, Culture, Industry and Public Administration sectors.

#10 Launch Portuguese Fablabs Network

Similar to the previous, this network aims to create synergies for existing equipments and promote the launch of new prototyping spaces.

#11 Create A Leading European Acceleration Program

A national acceleration program to support Portuguese startups in their internationalisation stage and attract foreign startups to set business in Portugal.

#12 Promote Portuguese Startups In Major Global Tech Events

Include startups in official delegations to international events, coordinate their communication within the foreign press and promote their presence in international events such as WebSummit, TechCrunch Disrupt, Cebit, CES and World Mobile Congress.

#13 Leverage Portuguese Presence At The Web Summit

Support Portuguese entrepreneurs that want to promote initiatives that can contribute to boost the event throughout the year (for the next 3 years) and all over the country.

#14 Create Portugal Free Tech Zone

This initiative focuses on changing the current regulation and legislation in order to attract researchers, manufacturers and investors from new business areas related to innovate and cutting-edge technology, such as driverless cars.

#15 Implement Startup Simplex

An initiative that invites entrepreneurs to submit ideas regarding projects or applications that can simplify the use of public services by citizens and businesses.

João Vasconcelos stated that ‘the investment made on human resources, infrastructures and technology over the past years in Portugal has created a set of opportunities for those who intend to start or invest in new businesses’.

Thus, the Startup Portugal program reflects the current government’s priority in supporting the Portuguese startup scene and it represents another good motive for both national and international entrepreneurs to jump start their businesses in one of Europe’s entrepreneurship hotspots.



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