Lisbon 2018: Why Startups Are Booming In The Portuguese Capital

An article by Heather Farmbrough, published by Forbes  

Lisbon is fast becoming a creative and tech startup hub, helped by accelerator funding, tech incubators and newly refurbished coworking spaces popping up all over the city.

Boosted by the arrival of the annual Web Summit conference (previously held in Dublin), Lisbon's startup community is thriving - with healthy support from the Portuguese government. In June 2016, it created a national network of tech hubs and startups in Lisbon through the StartUP Voucher initiative that gives more than 400 entrepreneurs a one-year fellowship to pursue their ventures.

The entrepreneurial network is underpinned by an impressive range of supports, with incubators such as Startup Lisboa, Labs Lisboa, Inovisa and Tec Labs and accelerators such as EIT InnoEnergy and BGI, according to Silicon Republic.

A 35,000-square-meter former army food factory is going to be transformed into a huge startup campus, Hub Creativo Beato while the Portuguese government has also set up a €200m venture capital fund aimed at bolstering foreign investment in start-ups.


Builders everywhere 

Lisbon is buzzing.  Grants to property owners for the renovation of old properties are transforming the historic city centre while the government's efforts to encourage direct foreign investment with its Golden Visa and Non Habitual Residence schemes for non-EU and EU citizens respectively has led to a surge in interest in residential property and a resulting increase in property prices, due to limited supply.  In November 2017, 700 guests attended a seminar in London held by the Portuguese Chamber on Moving to Portugal. 

Meanwhile, Portugal's economy is growing at its fastest rate of expansion since 2000, according to a report in the Financial Times, thanks partly to the raft of grants and tax incentives created by the government.  


While a stable and flourishing property market may be good news for existing residents, the danger is that young people will be driven out of the city centre as property prices rise, and it will lose some of its vibrancy and spontaneity. And it is young people who are behind many of the tech startups, particularly important in a country where youth unemployment has remained high since the Global Financial Crisis and where growth rates while stable, are lower than in most other EU countries. Portugal struggled to get out of the Global Financial Crisis. 

This may be something the authorities needs to think about while it pursues the advantages of growing direct foreign investment. 

Read the article here