The country has always been one of the best tourist destinations on the continent, offering some of the best weather, food, and scenery of any Mediterranean country. The high quality of life index and the government’s visa schemes and incentives for entrepreneurs have seen a lot of talent heading to the country over the last few years.
The entire country is very welcoming to tech entrepreneurs but Lisbon, in particular, is seen as the tech hub of the country. Currently, the startup scene throughout the country is still growing, and it’s developing at a much faster rate than more established places such as Silicon Valley. There may be a long way to go before Portugal overtakes California, but many experts believe that Europe could soon surpass the US in terms of tech talent.
A growing number of companies are establishing themselves in Portugal, and the country also represents a new frontier for the gig economy. Digital marketing agency AWISEE has reported an increasing number of clients based in Portugal, and many international companies are also looking to set up offices here.
Why is Portugal the Ideal Place for Startups and Entrepreneurs?
There are many different reasons for Portugal’s emergence as a top destination for tech entrepreneurs. The European country offers a high quality of life as well as lots of available talent and favorable government schemes.
Both of Portugal's largest cities offer an excellent quality of life. Porto and Lisbon are safe and clean cities with beautiful architecture and a flourishing cultural scene. People from many walks of life are naturally drawn to work in such an interesting and lively environment. Most importantly, it aids in the retention of talent from top universities in the country, as well as attracting talent from elsewhere.
When it comes to the cost of living, Portugal is much cheaper than other European countries. Even major cities like Porto and Lisbon are relatively cheap compared to similar-sized cities across the EU. The low cost of living is also helped further by the fact that the government offers a lot of support to newly emerging businesses.
In order to attract international investment in firms, the government launched a €200 million venture capital fund in 2018. The Portuguese government encourages foreign entrepreneurs to set up shop in the country by providing tax breaks and financial assistance.
The Non-Habitual Resident regime (NHR), which permits the applicant to pay a 20% flat rate on taxes for the first ten years, is one of the tax benefits available. The NHR also has the benefit of exempting applicants from paying taxes on income earned outside of Portugal. Starting a business in Lisbon and Portugal has various advantages for non-EU citizens, including the option of acquiring a Golden, D2, or Startup visa for entrepreneurs.
Companies That Are Moving to Portugal
Over the years, a lot of big businesses have also moved to Portugal from other countries in Europe and across the world. Recently, UK-based Revolut expanded into Portugal, opening up a new customer operations center in Porto. The Fintech company is one of the biggest to have moved to Portugal in recent years and has plans to hire up to 400 new staff.
Many other fintech companies have also set their sights on Portugal, drawn in by the availability of talent as well as lower costs. However, there are companies from all sectors that are now looking to call Portugal their second home. Google, Mercedes-Benz, and Amazon are just some of the major corporations that have opened up offices in the country over the last few years.