Holding a strategic and unique location on the West Coast of Europe, Portugal presents a market potential far larger than what initially appears. One of the oldest countries in Europe, Portugal is a gateway to an impressive global market of about 250 million people in Portuguese-speaking countries like Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique, among others. In addition to these lusophone countries, Portugal primarily caters to 10.4 million people in its mainland.
Portugal offers numerous advantages for foreign direct investment. Over the years, the Portuguese government has introduced highly supportive initiatives to simplify procedures and remove some red tape in establishing and running venture capital companies and private equity companies in a form of one-stop shop in Portugal. Lesser restrictions mean that foreign investments are allowed in all activities under the private sector, and foreign entrepreneurs can enjoy complete ownership of a firm without the need for a local partner. The government also announced a series of investment initiatives and incentives with residence programs such as the golden visa for non-EU residents, the green visa, start-up visas, tax incentives, subsidies for film production and government co-investment schemes for start-ups, among numerous other initiatives. In 2020, the government embarked in co-investment with private investors in startups and scaleups with a cost of €200 million fund.
“The conditions have been created to carry out investments and reforms for Portugal to be more prosperous, fairer, more innovative.” Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal
There is no greater testimony to Portugal’s suitability for investment than the fact that it is home to six unicorn companies – privately held start-ups valued over a billion dollars. Remote is the latest company to join the exclusive list of six unicorn companies in Portugal. The impressive speed with which the company achieved the unicorn status, with less than three years presence in Portugal, has attracted the world’s attention. The country’s predictable political environment that creates a favorable foundation for investment is one of the different factors that paves the way for notable business performances for these companies. Luís Figueiredo, Chairman of the ETE Group that specializes in Maritime explains, “The country’s solid political stability is an excellent reason for investors to pursue any business venture and live comfortably.”
Portugal is arguably one of the best places to invest in the world as the country offers opportunities not merely to increase one’s wealth but also enjoy a more balanced life. Portugal boasts over 900 kilometers of beautiful coastline, amazing islands, white sandy beaches, and scenic landscapes, presenting unavoidable mix of business and pleasure. “Foreigners who want to come to Portugal look for three things. They look for enjoyable sunny weather, hospitable people, and a place they can live well in. We have all three in abundance,” says CEO of the engineering and construction firm, VHM, Vitor Hugo. Moreover, Portugal ranks very highly on the global peace index. Historically, the country has received immigrants from all over the world with roots in Asia, South America, and Africa. Its welcoming hospitality and personable nature is ideal for investors who would like to consider the country a second home.
A combination of high quality and good economic conditions compared with other countries, as well as the government’s initiatives and commitment to support investment, has proven to be very advantageous for the start-up scene in Portugal and continues to bring human and financial capital to the country. “We have an economy that is steadily growing. We had a GDP growth of 4.9 in 2021. It is expected to be 5.6 in 2022 and that by 2023, will be a high growth rate in the eurozone,” explains Inês Sequeira Mendes, GMD of Abreu Advogados, one of the four major independent law firms in Portugal.
Portugal’s mesmerizing landscape, its welcoming people, and strong government commitment and support to foreign investors cumulatively poise the country as one with an ambitious future and infinite possibilities.