The Portuguese Government announced in India the “Startup Visa” program, on January 9th, 2017, during the India – Portugal Summit. This will be a visa facilitation program for Indian entrepreneurs, aimed at Indian entrepreneurs who want to launch their startups in Portugal. Graduates in Engineering and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are also covered by this measure, according to the statement sent to the media.

This “Startup Visa” program, is designed to facilitate access to Portugal and granting residence and work permits for these specific categories of visa applicants. In addition, during this event a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Startup Portugal (the national strategy for entrepreneurship) and Invest India. This memorandum has three objectives:

  • To provide a favorable business environment and the orientation needed for startups and its business in India and Portugal.
  • Coordination between the two Governments, investors, incubators, consultants, universities and research/development institutions to strengthen the start-ups sector in both countries.
  • To assist startups throughout their life cycle in aspects such as financing, market expansion, business structuring advice and technology marketing.

More than 700 entrepreneurs from India were in Portugal for the Web Summit last November. They helped us understand that Lisbon has become as competitive as London or San Francisco when it come to choose a place to start a company, as referred by João Vasconcelos, Secretary of State for Industry, in the beginning of the event.

Five startups established in Portugal participated in the event: Aptoide, Feedzai, Outsystems, Zaask and Zomato. The goal is, for some, pitching to recruit engineers; for others, to develop the market and to raise investment. Portugal Ventures was also present, the venture capital of the state that went to India looking for foreign co-investors. From the Indian side, there were many engineering students, and participants in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Bangalore, from accelerators like 10,000 Startups, to representatives of the Indian section of Microsoft, Amazon and other technology giants. At night, Startup Portugal organized a cocktail for about 100 Indian investors.

In the third of six days of official visit to India, the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, made clear his intention to continue the strong presence of young Indian startups at the last Web Summit in Lisbon. India, according to estimates from several international institutions, is already the third largest country in terms of number of startups. After a memorandum of understanding was signed between Startup Portugal and Startup India, the prime minister has called on Indian youth to take advantage of this visa facilitation measure.

Portugal has a long tradition of tolerance and openness to the world, something that has been recognized internationally. The capacity of interaction between people of different origins, cultures and religions is part of the DNA of Portugal

António Costa, Portuguese Prime Minister

In his speech, the prime minister also referred other measures already underway in the country, such as the Startup Portugal program, aimed at young entrepreneurs. This is a great opportunity for both countries to increase cooperation in the economic and business sectors, while benefiting entrepreneurs from India, which hope to expand their markets.