Last updated on November 23rd, 2021

Startup in Portugal: All You Need To Know

The technology and innovation market in Portugal is growing every day. According to the startup map in Portugal provided by the StartUP Hub platform, the country has more than 2,150 startups.

The country is experiencing a broad technological development and is open to innovative ideas, so much so that it has created specific policies for the creation of companies and even a specific residence visa for foreigners who wish to open a startup in Portugal.

In this article, we will explain how to open a startup in Portugal, the best accelerators, and necessary visas.

How To Open a Startup in Portugal

If you have an innovative company idea and want to open a startup in Portugal, you need to follow a few steps:

Analyze the Market

Carry out a study in the Portuguese country about your target audience, the consumption of your product or service, who your competitors are and what they are doing differently. Also expand the analysis to the European market, since Portugal is part of the European Union and there are great possibilities for expansion.

Source: Starup Portugal ©

Learn More About the Law of Portugal

Knowing and understanding the entire legislative part of the country is important to open a Startup in Portugal. So check the laws that apply to your business. Some laws are applied throughout the European Union, for example, the RGPD – General Regulation on Data Protection. Getting professional help will be very useful.

Make a Business Plan

After analyzing the market and understanding the law, it is time to set up your Startup’s business plan in Portugal. A good business plan should include:

  • Startup Description
  • Goals
  • Mission and values
  • Financial and investment planning;
  • Communication and marketing plan
  • Market analysis
  • Operational
  • Job creation

Understand the Taxation

The taxes for companies can be really high in Portugal. Below are the main taxes for companies:

  • IRC – Corporate Income Tax (legal entity)
  • Social Security
  • Autonomous Taxation (expenses that are not directly related to the activity)
  • FCT – Work Compensation Fund
  • Payment on Account of IRC (applied to the previous year’s earnings, if applicable)
  • VAT – Value Added Tax

There are also taxes on employees and employees, such as the IRS – Income Tax on Individuals – and TSU – Single Social Rate.

As taxation can be complex, it’s essential that you get help from an accountant.

Startup in Portugal: Application

It’s easier than you think to start a business in Portugal. To register your startup, visit an Empresa na Hora services counter and show all required papers, pay the €360 registration fee, and €70 for the Certificate of Admissibility for the company’s formation.

Attracting Investors in Portugal

There are several startup accelerators that offer training for financing projects and connections with investors in the country. Another way to get investment is to participate in technology and innovation events and fairs. Portugal hosts WebSummit, the biggest technology fair in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. Participating in such events can be a great opportunity to attract investors to your business.

The Portuguese government also has financing incentives and support in contacting investors. You can follow IAPMEI for updates.

Startup Accelerators in Portugal

Portugal has a National Network of Startup Incubators (RNI) that provides a list of several accelerators and incubators. We’ve listed some of them below:

Semente Program

The Semente Program gives tax breaks to investors who put money into early-stage businesses. Creating a more advantageous tax environment for capital gains from startup investments (personal taxes benefits in the investment of capital shares of 25 percent of the investment made up to a maximum of €100,000)

Startup Lisboa

Startup Lisboa is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting startups in their early stages of development. It’s a private non-profit organization that offers entrepreneurs office space as well as a support framework that includes mentoring, strategic alliances and perks, access to financing, networking events, and a community built on knowledge and sharing.

Empowered Startup

Empowered Startup accelerates and incubates through relationships with important actors such as public organizations and top-tier academic facilities. It educates and equips entrepreneurs to create market offers and business models that propel their ideas to the top of the world.

Portugal Ventures

Portugal Ventures plays a critical role in the expansion of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem. Portugal Ventures helps companies reach worldwide success by assisting them in achieving competitiveness goals at all phases of development.

In addition to the accelerators, there are startup incubators in Portugal that are part of RNI.

  • University of Porto – UPTEC Science and Technology Park
  • University of Aveiro – Creative Science Park
  • University of Coimbra – Pedro Nunes Institute

Startup Visa Portugal

The Startup Visa is a visa category created in 2018 by the Portuguese government in order to attract foreign citizens who want to open a startup in Portugal.

The first step to apply for Portugal startup visa is making an application through the IAPMEI website. At this stage, it is necessary to present the business plan that will be analyzed by the institution.

If approved, an Incubator Certification will be issued to continue the visa application process.

Conclusion

There you have it. We’ve given you a basic understanding of Portugal startup ecosystem and how you can benefit from the incentives the country offers. Have you ever thought about launching a startup in Portugal? Let us know. We’d be happy to share your experience with our community.