It’s no secret anymore that Lisbon is becoming a paradise for entrepreneurs.

Nowadays, the sunny Portuguese capital is buzzing with ideas, projects, investments and partnerships, having been recently compared to San Francisco or Berlin by several specialized publications.

According to Forbes, in 2014, Portugal “saw 35,264 new companies created, close to 100 new companies every day.  In the first five months of 2015 almost 18,000 new companies were created, an 11% increase comparing to the same period last year”. The publication highlights the “English-speaking workforce” as one of the main factors that contributed for the country’s rise as a startup hub. The article adds that “the Portuguese startup scene has benefited in a big way from the presence and activity of the likes of Faber Ventures, the largest VC, which invests in very early stage tech companies, Shilling Capital Partners, EggNest and the government supported programme Portugal Ventures”.

Startups founded in Portugal like Farfetch, Uniplaces, Codacy, Chic by Choice, Landing.jobs, Talkdesk or Zaask (founded by two The Lisbon MBA alumni) – among so many others – are achieving great success and many of them are already in the process of internationalization. Portugal, and specially Lisbon, is becoming a privileged destination for those who want to see their ideas, companies and projects come to life, being considered, by “Entrepreneur” Magazine, as one of the best cities in the world for entrepreneurial ventures.

Luís Martins and Kiruba Eswaran, The Lisbon MBA Alumni and Founders of Zaask
Luís Martins and Kiruba Eswaran, The Lisbon MBA Alumni and Founders of Zaask

“I am hugely lucky to travel around the world speaking to entrepreneurs, investors and those with a connection to the startup scene.  The perspective of Europe has typically been one of seeing London and Berlin as the two key startup hubs, but in the past few years, and most notably in the past two years, Lisbon has been taking centre stage as a startup destination.  Entrepreneurs, investors and all participants I’m speaking to in USA, Asia and beyond are excited about the massive potential presented by Lisbon”, says Vikas Shah, Visitng Professor for the Entrepreneurship Course at The Lisbon MBA. And why is this happening? “Lisbon is generating significant deal-flow, at a high-level, with startups that are making waves internationally.  The city is embracing entrepreneurs, and letting entrepreneurs get on with doing what they do best.  Lisbon is also an international connector, a city with significant cultural and intellectual heritage- with a great deal of serendipitous interaction between the arts, sciences and more – and that matters.  The final component, but perhaps the keystone to all of this is a network of some of the best universities in the world- right here in one city!”.

 In fact, Lisbon was nominated European Entrepreneurial Region for 2015, thanks to its strategies to promote entrepreneurship and spread innovation among small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The vital steps for this recognition have been the creative spaces for incubation and testing of new concepts (Startup Lisboa, Beta-i, Fábrica de Startups, among others), the financial instruments giving support to the entrepreneurs, the entrepreneur programs in schools, the networking events that connect all partners and incubators, as well as the promotion and support of important international events in Lisbon.

Great news for 2016:

Speaking of international events, by the end of 2015 there was an announcement that shook everything a little bit more: in 2016, Paddy Cosgrave would be moving his WebSummit, one of the most important events in the tech scene, to Lisbon. This is not only great for techies and entrepreneurs… In November, the city’s tourism industry will surely be booming!

And since 2016 began, the good news just keep coming…

In January, Second Home, the coolest startup incubator in London, announced that it coming to town in May 2016.  “Lisbon is similar to the east side of London, before the technological cluster exploded. It is a super creative city, but doesn’t have enough places to bring together all these people. At the same time, large companies are shrinking, there are more people to engage and the city environment must evolve to keep pace”, explained Rohan Silva, Founder of Second Home, in a recent interview.

Entrepreneurial ideas to a sustainable impact.
Source: Impact Hub.

One month later, the also well-known Impact Hub announced a new headquarter in Lisbon, with space to incubate 335 entrepreneurs involved in projects with social or environmental impact. Grand opening is scheduled for June this year.

And finally, in March, the German incubator Factory, led by Simon Schaefer, announced that it’s also coming to Lisbon since there is a “new era of explorers”. And why did they chose the Portuguese capital? Because Lisbon “brings to mind Berlin, not so long ago”, said Schaefer, in a very recent article published in Observador. “Not in terms of market size or the type of industries, but in the culture, which is very entrepreneurial”, he added. Also, for him, “Lisbon is extraordinary” and we think it’s pretty hard to disagree on that one.