Portugal discovers its spirit of entrepreneurial adventure

Portugal’s new wave of successful entrepreneurs – who are said to be helping the country get back on track after years of economic downturn – have been featured in an article published online by US magazine Forbes.

Written by the magazine’s contributor Alison Coleman, the article explains how a “tide of entrepreneurship is sweeping Europe, as the Eurozone crisis and accompanying austerity measures prompt more and more people to take a chance on start their own business”.

But according to Coleman, “nowhere has the transformation been more impressive than in Portugal, a country famous for its maritime explorers, rich in history and culture, and now inspirational in its embrace of enterprise”.

In fact, she believes that Portugal has “discovered its spirit of entrepreneurial adventure”.

Coleman says however that the “rapid emergence” of the Portuguese entrepreneur has been “somewhat overshadowed by Berlin’s booming tech hub, and to a lesser extent, by rapid startup growth across Eastern Europe”.

Still, more and more Portuguese companies are winning investment funding and launching international products, with Portuguese entrepreneurs as well as their European counterparts “simply spotting gaps in the market, and applying their creative ingenuity to fill them”.

In the process, they have helped their countries’ economies evolve from “their traditional manufacturing roots to one based on innovation”.

In Portugal, for example, GDP is up 1.6% after several years in recession on the back of “this startup revolution”.

Coleman stresses how “entrepreneurship has enjoyed government support, which includes the launch of investment agency Portugal Ventures, a €450 million fund focusing on investments in innovative tech companies as well as startups in more traditional sectors”.

She added that the creation of a number of “business incubators and accelerators” – organisations geared toward speeding up the growth and success of startup companies – such as Startup Lisboa has provided a “further boost”, offering fledgling firms the office-space and business support they need to get off the ground.

Finally, the Forbes magazine contributor highlights three Portuguese companies which she considers are “the ones to watch” – call centre software company Talkdesk, fraud protection startup Feedzaj, and a startup working on providing free Wi-Fi in urban environments called Veniam.

Between the three of them, they have been able to raise around $37.4 million-worth of funding.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]