Startup Portugal

SUPPORT MECHANISM:

Startup Portugal is the Portuguese Government’s strategy for Entrepreneurship. 

It's a four­-year plan focused on three areas of operation: Ecosystem, Funding, Internationalisation.

I. Ecosystem

A set of measures included in this part of the program have the purpose of identifying and overcoming sector and regional gaps in acceleration programmes, business incubators, fablabs, maker spaces and design factories. It will also strive to increase the international competitiveness of these assets, increase a culture of sharing resources and know-­how, and help incubators develop greater professionalization of teams and services offered to entrepreneurs and startups.

This line of action also contemplates new regulatory task forces to facilitate the research, testing and production of cutting­-edge technologies, in order for Portugal to become a pioneer in the creation of regulations that attract R&D, production and investment in emerging sectors. The process to facilitate the relationship between start­ups and the Public Administration is also under heavy revision, in aspects such as simplification of company information that the State requires from new businesses and the implementation of Fast­-track Visas for foreign employees of science and technology­-based companies.

Some of the initiatives implemnented: create a National Incubators Network, create a National FabLabs and Makers Network, create Free Tech Zones for cutting­edge technoloiges (drones and driver-less vehicles), Simplex for Start­ups, Inclusive and job­oriented Entrepreneurship laws.

II. Funding

Portuguese public financing policies for startups are focused on offering alternatives to bank loans, namely by regulating and promoting new methods of financing, such as equity crowdfunding and peer­to­peer lending, but also by the State co­investing with the best national and international investors. Portugal Ventures, the public VC institute, has a new public venture capital strategy in key sectors for the national economy and in projects at a stage at which the risk is perceived to be too high for private investors. Other policies for financing startups in Portugal include vouchers for startups to acquire professional incubation services, and for young people who live in Portugal or abroad and wish to create a startup in Portugal, regardless of their financial situation. There is also the Seed Programme, the most favourable tax regime for startups in Europe, and job creation incentives for companies with less than 5 years.

Policies that are already being implemented to this purpose are: the Startup Voucher, the Momentum Programme, the Incubation Voucher, the Seed Programme, Hiring Incentives, the Calls from Portugal Ventures, and several recently launched Coinvestment Funds with Business Angels and Venture Capital Firms (126 million euros to coinvest with domestic and foreign investors)

III. Internationalisation

In this area, a number of initiatives are being implemented to help position Portugal as a global destination for startups, investors, incubators and accelerators and to promote the national ecosystem in the markets. We are supporting the presence of Portuguese startups at the main global trade fairs, the largest global tech events, in official delegations to foreign countries, in State visits abroad and State receptions for foreign entities. The Web Summit, which will take place in Lisbon in the next 3 years, is the most visible side of this promotional effort. 

RESULTS:

In 2016: for every company that died, 3 new were being born. Among those, 10% were selling to foreign markets in their first year of life. More than half of all new jobs in Portugal were being created by new companies. Also, Portuguese scale­-ups raised over €150 million in the past year from venture capital alone. These are some indicators of how the ecosystem developed. 

KEY ADVISOR(S) OR LEADER(S):

João Pedro Vasconcelos, Secretary of State of Industry. He was a 2016 finalist for the Startup Nations Award for National Policy Leadership.