Could Portugal be the Next Silicon Valley? Maybe So.

Image Credit: Startup Lisboa

It’s no question that Portugal is known for its rich history, delicious food, and vibrant culture. However, what if we told you it’s also known for its entrepreneurial spirit?

Over the past few years, Portugal has made waves within the entrepreneurial space. Thanks to the Portuguese government, its abundant resources, and quality of life, entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world have set their sights on Portugal as an upcoming startup hub.

For one, the Portuguese government takes entrepreneurship seriously. In 2018, the government established a public-private thinktank StartUP Portugal which, helps design and implement public policies and private initiatives that support local and international entrepreneurs and, attract top investors globally. StartUP Portugal offers an array of services and resources including its networks to accelerators, incubators, funding opportunities, and job opportunities. More importantly, it offers a streamlined process to gain necessary visas for international startups to relocate to Portugal. Other initiatives the government established over the past decade include:

Startup Lisboa: an incubator and non-profit organization dedicated to supporting early-stage enterprises

200M: a state-sponsored investment fund that will match investments in Portuguese startups from €500,000 to €5 million.

Non-Habitual Tax Resident (NHR) Program: Companies such as tech startups are taxed a 20% flat rate and are not taxed from income generated outside Portugal.

Additionally, the Portuguese government has taken measures to support entrepreneurs during the pandemic through a €25 million funding initiative that financially supports startups in various capacities.

Secondly, Portugal has created and continues to expand its startup ecosystem. In Lisbon alone, there are several incubators and accelerators that support startups at any stage including Maze X, Tec Labs, EDP Starter, and many more. Additionally, while entrepreneurs in Portugal still heavily rely on foreign investment, Portugal has established an array of domestic VC firms that have also gained some traction. Some include Portugal Ventures, Indico Capital, and Faber Ventures.

Lastly, the quality of life in Portugal is pretty swell. Other than its nightlife, beaches, and art & culture, it is ranked #13 on the Global Peace Index, prioritizes work-life balance, and is relatively cheaper than other startup hubs when it comes to the cost of living.

Portugal may not be as established as Silicon Valley, but it’s swiftly gaining a reputation as a country of innovation.