In an recent survey undertaken by EY, Joana Mendonça, President of the National Innovation Agency of Portugal, was quoted saying that “Portugal has become more attractive for technology-based development and the country now hosts the R&D operations of several high-tech companies’ and a number of unicorns. In fact Portugal has one of the largest number of unicorns per capita.” This positive development is, according to her, due to a myriad of factors and it is meaningful in numerous ways: Portugal will not only attract foreign talent, but also retain the talent educated at Portugal’s universities, including those with PhDs. At the same time, these types of investment are made for the long-term and tend to be high value-add. In the same survey, Portugal’s increased attractiveness is also demonstrated by the fact that the number of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) projects increased by 30 percent in 2021, compared to the previous year, and Portugal is now ranked 8th amongst its European peers in terms of attracting FDI-projects.
Lisbon’s Start-Up Scene
Equally significant to note is that there is also a very significant start-up company eco-system coming into existence in a city like Lisbon. According to Dealroom.co, total value of the start-ups registered in Lisbon in 2022 amounts to EUR 2.1 billion, a factor three increase as compared to five years ago. For the city and the country, this provides a further economic and social dynamic that over the next years will become tangible. According to Savills and supported by the European Innovation Index, Lisbon is now ranked 12th in the table of most innovative cities within the European Union (“EU”). A further boost is provided by the selection of the capital to stage the Web Summit until at least 2028, by some described as the most important tech event in the world and it is primarily dedicated to venture capitalism and emerging technologies.
A few weeks ago we were able to read in The Portugal News that Portuguese GDP is forecasted to increase at the highest rate of all EU countries, primarily because of the return of tourism. The latter, as the Covid-pandemic so cruelly demonstrated, can be very volatile. And therefore, for an economy to become resilient in times of adversity, it needs to grow sectors, such as R&D and start-ups, that through investment become economic partners of a country for the long-term. It will take time to harvest the fruits of the seeds currently being planted, but some of the positive effects are undoubtedly already quite visible.
At Blacktower, we have felt this emergence in Portugal and as a direct result have recently recruited additional staff to satisfy the increased inflow of foreign investment. Take advantage of our many decades of financial experience in Portugal. Contact us in the Lisbon office today and find out more about our client-partnership mandate.
Tel: +351 214 648 220