Portugal is rising from being the worst student of the Euro Zone to a Unicorn of Growth. In 2016, Portuguese startups raised 115 million euros, nearly half of the aggregate amount in the previous 4 years. The country also enjoyed a 400% increase in value of deals in the same year. It’s now the home to 2,300 startups (34% of which are foreign) and 121 incubators, What helps Portugal achieve such phenomenal revival? During our Breakfast Talk @Causses, Margarida & Fernando from CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut gave us a few answers…
Reduced Labor Cost and Qualified Human Resources
Portugal is blessed with a young and talented population in the fields of engineering, business and design. These well-educated youngsters are willing to work at lower salary (in comparison with other European countries), as the country is still recovering from its biggest recession since WWII (in 2011-2013). Today, 33.1% of them are still unemployed and more than ready to join the workforce.
Fair Real Estate Prices
According to Numbeo, the cost of a house in Lisbon city center reaches only two-third of its equivalent in the center of Berlin, half of Amsterdam Center, and only one-third of Paris Center. Although an increase in demand was recorded in the last 2 years, especially among foreigners (Madonna, Monica Bellucci, Michael Fassbender, Christian Louboutin to name a few), it is still easy to find your perfect place at a fair price in Portugal.
Strong Aerial Network
Literally, you can’t be trapped in Portugal, given its extended aerial network with lots of low-cost companies and various routes/destinations. It is possible to reach all European top destinations from Portugal in a few hours at a competitive price. The country is indeed well-situated: it connects Europe with Africa and South America. That’s why new destinations are added to the aviation map almost every month for relevant tech hubs.
Adequate English Level
It’s true that a significant part of the Portuguese population doesn’t speak English fluently. However, English is now a mandatory skill for most professions. Startups in Portugal prove to have higher English level than most European countries, leading to an increasing number of English-speaking meetups and conferences.
Strong Entrepreneurial Support
As stated before, Portugal is hosting 121 incubators and accelerators (2017). This country has all the infrastructure needed: incubators, acceleration/pre-acceleration programs and governmental support programs. Various meetups, conferences, strong tech and startup communities are available to join (WebSummit, the world’s largest tech event, chose Lisbon as its stop this year). Together with a changing mindset favoring entrepreneurship, it is no wonder that, last year, Lisbon was selected as the startup hub to watch by several media agencies, including The Entrepreneur, Bloomberg and The Financial Times.
The dynamic start-up scene is facilitated by easing access to investment. Venture Capital Firms and Business Angels are keen to find “one billion dollar” ideas to invest in, and the available amount increases every year. Portugal Ventures, for example, is managing several venture capital and private equity funds with a total capital of around 450 million euros.
Life Quality and Culture
As one of the world’s most ancient nations, Portugal has a unique cultural heritage enriched by diverse influences (Roman, French, Flemish, Arabic, Celtic). As one of the warmest countries in Europe, Portugal is a safe and pleasant place to live, where you can indulge yourself in breathtaking natural landscapes and high quality facilities (regarding sports or healthcare). And don’t forget its amazing food, wine and hospitable citizens.
That’s also why there’s no real business code in Portugal. Even in the business context, Portuguese stick to their easy-going nature. Your will normally find yourself working with welcoming Portuguese teams, who have almost no problem adapting to changes. Portugal is indeed a historically globalized country where multiculturalism is truly embraced.
Looking to develop in Portugal? Join our community at http://www.beeleev.com and find your helping hands helping hands!