The Portuguese government has strengthened its endorsement of Empowered Startups with recent comments from a division within its Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure.
Praise from the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional (CCDR) Algarve further highlights the effectiveness of a growing list of collaborations between Empowered Startups and higher education institutions in various regions throughout Portugal. CCDR Algarve is the government agency responsible for allocating EU Regional development funds in the Algarve region and strongly supports the continued partnership of Empowered Startups with the University of Algarve.
“Our goal as a coordination commission for the region is to welcome the projects of Empowered Startups to create with our ecosystem new challenges, new opportunities for our researchers and our enterprise,” explained José Apolinário, President at CCDR Algarve . “Our hope is that these opportunities of cooperation can be an opportunity to develop the investment in the research and innovation in the region of Algarve.”
Empowered Startups partners with government agencies to create innovation clusters / a strong startup ecosystem for economic growth, and is the only government endorsed delivery partner of Portugal’s HQA Visa. Since beginning its work with the Portuguese government in 2018, Empowered Startups has helped develop multiple innovative clusters within the country by pairing successful entrepreneurs with research and development facilities at universities and polytechnics. That track record of success is attractive to Apolinário regarding future projects at the University of Algarve and other institutions within the region.
“In the context of our smart specialization strategy, we welcome Empowered Startups to develop new projects in the IT and technology in the sector of health to develop the transfer of competence between the university and the enterprise,” he revealed.
That symbiotic relationship is a key component to the value derived by each of the stakeholders involved. The proven model employed by Empowered Startups facilitates the creation of a multitude of opportunities for Portugal’s researchers, students and skilled workers via investment from innovative entrepreneurs, who benefit from the world class abilities and facilities found at the partner universities and polytechnics.
“The entrepreneurs we work with are experienced people, with companies created in other countries, with innovative ideas and a very clear idea of how to implement them. They have proven themselves, they are successful, they can invest in their own businesses, they just need the right technological partner, and that is what they are looking for here in Portugal,” detailed Chris Lennon, President of Empowered Startups, during a recent trip to Portugal.
“They choose the country for the excellent quality scientific research that takes place here, for the quality of Portuguese research centers and scientists, for the results they know they will achieve here. They never tire of praising the excellent quality scientific research that takes place here, the quality of Portuguese research centers and scientists. Portugal is a great incubator and home for these innovative projects.”
When asked about continued expansion of the HQA Visa program, Lennon added that there are further agreements with higher education institutions in Portugal that will be announced over the coming months. As word of Empowered Startups successful delivery of this program continues to spread, there is an abundance of optimism from both entrepreneurs and government entities alike that such announcements will be occurring even more frequently.
Empowered Startups, based in Évora, has been operating its HQA Visa program in Portugal for a little over three years, but recently delivered to the Government a Commitment Letter agreeing to recruit 50 new entrepreneurs, business executives, and domain experts to invest in new projects within the next 12 months, and then to grow the program further each year thereafter.
About Empowered Startups:
Founded in 2009 in Vancouver, Canada, Empowered Startups’ mission is to connect work done in universities with the business world, helping researchers and entrepreneurs commercialize innovation. It has focused its work in remote and rural areas to attract talent and new job and business opportunities to these locations. Since its founding year, it has supported more than 450 startups on 6 different continents.
Photo by: Andrés Monroy-Hernández