Praise for Portugal’s business reforms

PORTUGAL’S reforms to the way businesses are established have been praised by the World Bank.

The organisation’s annual report for 2005/6, Doing Business 2007: How to Reform, praises the country for a scheme that allows a company to be created in an hour.

The Empresa Na Hora (ENH) is available at a number of Centros de Formalização de Empresas (CFE), one stop shops, throughout Portugal.

As a result, a business can begin trading within an average of eight days from its official publication in the Diário da República.

A year ago, the average time it took to set up a company was 54 days.

In 11 months since the ENH scheme was introduced, 11,263 companies have used the new system, generating an estimated investment of 116.6 million euros in social capital investment for the country.

Information released by the Ministry of Justice states that it is cheaper and quicker to create a business in Portugal today than ever before. In recent years it cost 500 euros, today it costs 360 euros.

So, how do you start up a company at a CFE in one day?

The partners or shareholders and their legal representative must arrive with their personal documents, tax number, residence card and social security number. They must also have 5,000 euros social capital and pay a minimum of 360 euros as Stamp Duty.

The 5,000 euros must be paid into a company bank account within five working days and the Stamp Duty must be paid within 48 hours.

A fictitious name can be chosen for the company (Nome de Fantasia) and checked from a data base that it has not already been taken.

The partners must then sign up for Segurança Social, social security, for all members of staff and managers and register with the Finanças, tax authorities.

It is possible for this to be done at the same time and in the same building.

In many cases a Registo Nacional de Pessoa Colectiva, certificate of admissibility or the signing of an Escritura Público, company deeds, are no longer required.

There are no restrictions on foreigners, providing they are legally entitled to live and work in Portugal.

Together with other reforms made by the government, Portugal is now 33rd in a world ranking of 175 countries when it comes to how easy it is to conduct business in the country.

However, Portugal was one of the countries in the world with the highest incidence of failed businesses (18th position).

• For more information on setting up a business in Portugal, including the location of CFEs visit