How to create a business in Portugal: Answers to entrepreneur’s main questions
For the last few years, Portugal has been a hotspot for European and international entrepreneurs attracted to our relative ease of doing business, and despite the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, this seems to still remain true.This past month we have seen an influx of interest from entrepreneurs near and far looking for business support, such as how to relocate a business from abroad, registering a new company, and sourcing necessary funding to start a business in Portugal. It would appear that there is still strong interest from locals and foreigners in wanting to start a business in Portugal amongst the global pandemic.
This post is part of a collaborative effort between Startup Portugal, The Next Big Idea, and Sapo24, meant to create relevant content to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Content available in Portuguese.
For the last few years, Portugal has been a hotspot for European and international entrepreneurs attracted to our relative ease of doing business, and despite the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, this seems to still remain true.
This past month we have seen an influx of interest from entrepreneurs near and far looking for business support, such as how to relocate a business from abroad, registering a new company, and sourcing necessary funding to start a business in Portugal. It would appear that there is still strong interest from locals and foreigners in wanting to start a business in Portugal amongst the global pandemic.
One way we have seen this continued interest is through one of the newest Startup Portugal initiatives, the One Stop Shop- Balcão do Empreendedor. The online platform allows entrepreneurs and investors to request technical and substantial support in setting up a business or a company in Portugal, all free of charge. Through this platform, we have been able to identify key questions entrepreneurs are asking when starting a new company in Portugal.
Here are the top questions and initiatives that can help you start a business in Portugal.
1. Can I start a company if I am not a European Union Citizen?
Simple answer? Yes. There are a few visa options available for entrepreneurs wanting to work in Portugal, with the Startup Visa being a very strong option. The Startup Visa is a residence visa for non-European Union-Schengen startup founders who want to be part of one of the fastest developing startup communities in Europe. Executed by IAPMEI, it involves the National Network of Incubators which ensures that your business will be set up next to a community of entrepreneurs already hacking in the ecosystem and acquainted with the Portuguese and European markets. If you are over 18 years of age, with a clean criminal record, and enough funds to support yourself for up to a year, then you can apply for the Startup Visa, available all year round, so why not start today.
2. What co-investment schemes are available and can I apply?
We all know that funding is an essential way of life when starting a new business, and our local investors know it too. That is why the government of Portugal, together with PME Investimentos, created the 200M Co-investment Fund. Regulated by Bank of Portugal, this fund aims to provide a direct financial commitment to startups through a co-investment and risk-sharing scheme with national or international private Co-investors. The 200M Fund co-investment is able to match up to 100% of a private investors’ commitment, with a minimum commitment of €500 thousand and a max of €5 Million. If your startup is working in the Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Digital and IT, Engineering, and Industry 4.0 sector, you could be eligible to access technical, commercial and market expertise, with faster innovation and growth, and have the chance to develop a better strategy to internationalize your business.
3. I’m under 35 and want to start my own business but don’t know where to start?
You’re young, you’re exploring various career and business opportunities and you want to figure out your next steps in life, why not think about starting your own business? This sounds daunting at first, we get it, but there are programs out there designed to help people under the age of 35 prepare and develop their own entrepreneurial venture. One such option is the Startup Voucher. This specific program was created to streamline the development of business projects still in the idea phase and help young business-savvy Portuguese people between the ages of 18 and 35 to start out in life. This is accomplished through various instruments of support made available over a period of up to 12 months of business project preparation. So if you have Portuguese nationality or reside in Portugal, are not benefiting from a grant for the same purposes and have no other source of income, and do not have a company already established, you are eligible to apply.
4. What is the quickest way to register a company?
There are various ways to register a company in Portugal, with the traditional approach usually involving going to various government departments, getting a ticket, and standing in long queues. But there is good news, through the Empresa na Hora, you can create a company immediately on the spot. It’s simple, all you need to do is book an appointment, collect all the required information and get ready to fly with your new business. Don’t forget to bring along your identification card or passport, the new name of your business (or you can select one there), and 360€ for the registration fee.
5. Where can I find other startups like mine to network with?
One of the perks of working in Portugal is the ease and friendliness the startup ecosystem works with. There is a strong sense of comradery and support amongst the various startups which makes networking a breeze. If you are looking to connect or source a local incubator or accelerator to touch base with, then Startup Hub is the place to go. This online portal allows entrepreneurs, founders, and investors to identify and geolocate startups and incubators, benchmark public and private initiatives promoting entrepreneurship, and have a thorough insight into the Portuguese startup scene. It is a tool you can use for your matchmaking, networking, and promoting needs.