When the city council of Lisbon asked their people ten years ago what they would like for their city, they voted for a startup incubator. If that doesn’t show the love for entrepreneurship in the capital of Portugal, what does? Startup Lisboa was founded out of the participatory budget of the community, which gives the incubator a positive responsibility to create jobs for their people. Situated in three historical buildings in downtown Lisbon, Head of Strategy Andre Costa points out in an interview with Via News:
“One of the reasons why Startup Lisboa was created is to give a boost to the city by bringing young entrepreneurs to the city centre and to bring back the commerce. When the whole startup vibe started in Portugal, we were the first to surf the waves.”
Why choose Lisbon over Silicon Valley?
But don’t think they limit themselves to the west part of the Iberian Peninsula, entrepreneurs who participate are encouraged to look around the world. Technology, commerce and tourism are the main markets Startup Lisboa wants to change the world with. Belgian interior designer Lola Cwikowski explains why she and her American partner (product designer) fell in love with Lisbon and decided to build their businesses in the city: “The sunny weather gives me so much great energy compared to rainy Belgium, and it also has a “West Coast” feel that goes beyond just the colour of the bridge. Professionally, so much investment and renovation mean there are interiors to be designed, and the new focus on tech means my partner has opportunities too. Great!”. With the help of Launch they were introduced to trusted professionals who made it possible for them to call Lisbon their home. André Costa, Head of Strategy at Startup Lisboa, emphasises the advantages of Lisbon as a top European startup hub:
“If you compare the quality of the talent, we’re pretty well classified, if you compare the cost we’re still very competitive. Having an engineering team in Lisbon is less expensive than having one in London, for example. If I go to Silicon Valley I can run a company for three months whereas in Portugal I can run it for two years.”
The human dimension is just as important as the business dimension
Startup Lisboa runs two accelerator programs: WPP booster for startups that aim to innovate the communication and media industry and From-Start-To-Table, a program supported by Turismo de Portugal, to reshaping the ecosystem of restaurants. Two of the things they care a lot about are social entrepreneurship and gender equality. “We’re always very interested in having companies where the co-founders are women. Also, we promote social good: one of the startups that is with us now has a platform for refugees that allows them to teach foreign languages to people. We’re very proud of having those kinds of projects because they’re on the good side of the reason. They have a huge impact on people’s lives, not necessarily in the business dimension, but in the human dimension. Finding solutions for worldwide problems”, as André illustrates.
"Steve Jobs once said that the only ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. At Startup Lisboa, we’re crazy enough to believe it. As do all the crazy entrepreneurs and companies who find success through Lisbon’s incubator."
Why Tribe Theory loves Startup Lisboa
They surf waves
They highlight women founders
They call their community their greatest asset
They encourage entrepreneurs to look around the world
They work with startups from over 35 different countries
They boost the local economy
They focus on human dimensions
They’re situated in a place where you can eat fresh pasteéis de natas twenty-four-seven.
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