“We are constantly innovating”: at Incubadora A Praça

“We are constantly innovating”: at Incubadora A Praça

We talked with Toni Barreiros, Coordinator and Manager at Fundão Innovation Area, to get to know how Incubadora “A Praça” is changing the local ecosystem with constant innovation and interaction. Don’t you want to know more?

This content is available in Portuguese.


How did the name “A Praça” come about?

That’s an easy one, because we’re based in the old municipal market, which used to be called “A Praça”. That’s where the Incubadora “A Praça” comes from, but we generally tend to refer to it as the Fundão Incubator.


What kind of projects do you incubate?

We house projects at different stages of maturity, focusing on markets ranging from natural cosmetics, cannabis, cutlery to advanced technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. The incubator is open to a wide range of areas, with no restrictions.


What does your incubation model consist of?

The model is based on a structured plan with clearly defined stages for the development of startups. When they are integrated into the incubator, the startups are assessed on their level of maturity and are then grouped together in mentoring sessions with other startups at the same stage of development. We are constantly innovating and looking for ways to enrich the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


What is the differentiating factor of your incubator?

We have developed and implemented an incubation plan that combines physical and digital spaces, creating a ‘figital’ incubation ecosystem where startups from different locations interact constantly. This plan includes weekly collective mentoring, promoting the sharing of experiences and mutual support in a process of incremental strategic collaboration.
In other words, what sets us apart and enhances the success of the startups we incubate is our ‘figital’ incubation plan, optimized for the success of our mentorships, and the emphasis on collectivity at all stages of development.


Tell us the story of a startup that has left its mark on the incubator?

Selecting just one startup is a challenge, but we would like to highlight four projects that have been through our entire incubation plan and are currently expanding in the market. Musa, dedicated to the production of organic cosmetics, now serves practically the entire national territory. Cutelaria Telmo Roque, known for its world-class chef’s knives. Kannabeira, focused on the production and marketing of cannabis in Europe. And finally, Danyalgil Company, which specializes in blockchain technology and is often recognized in national competitions as one of the startups with the greatest potential in the market.



And how did incubating with you make a difference?

The four startups mentioned were accompanied from the very beginning, when they only had a passionate idea without a defined business model or product, through the entire development cycle in our incubation plan.


Failure is also part of the journey. What do you learn from something that didn’t go as expected?

We’ve learned from some startups that haven’t been as successful as we’d hoped that the alignment between the entrepreneur’s purpose and the business is crucial to the success of startups.


Community is one of the aspects that distinguishes an incubator from a simple office center. How do you promote your community and what plans do you have to make it more cohesive and productive?

The core of our incubation plan is community development. All our mentoring sessions are collective, and we encourage direct interaction between startups in our weekly meetings and through our online collaboration platform. We can say that our incubator is primarily a space dedicated to creating entrepreneurial communities of practice, where mentors and entrepreneurs collaborate to support each other’s success.


What are the main challenges for incubation in your specific context?

Initially, attracting entrepreneurs was a major challenge. However, with the introduction of our ‘figital’ incubation plan, we have overcome this barrier, attracting startups from all regions of Portugal and also from abroad, namely Brazil.



Startup Portugal Team • April 12, 2024