Empowered Signs New Pact with Historic University

Coimbra, Portugal  – One of the world’s oldest universities is the newest member of Empowered Startups growing network…

Coimbra, Portugal  – One of the world’s oldest universities is the newest member of Empowered Startups growing network in Portugal. The University of Coimbra (UC) and Empowered have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will expand Empowered’s HQA Visa Program to include the renowned institution. Portugal’s Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, a distingushed UC alumnus and public supporter of Empowered Startups’ efforts to bring innovative entrepreneurs to Portugal, attended the ceremony in person and offered her endorsement of the new-found partnership.

“We believe that there is no development without knowledge, without research, if we do not invest in our higher education institutions, in our knowledge centres and interface entities. We will never be a developed country if our brand is not to be competitive, with technology-based companies and knowledge-based activity,” stated Abrunhosa in her remarks praising the newly created alliance. She emphasized that with such partnerships “companies are born global” and expanded by saying higher education institutions have an essential role as trainers of the new generations, but, above all, they are “responsible for the transfer of this knowledge outside the walls of the Academy”.

Francesco Berrettini, Manager of Partnerships & Projects in Portugal, represented Empowered at the ceremony on the historic UC campus and applauded Minister Abrunhosa for her conviction in supporting the HQA Visa Program.

“We are forever grateful to the Honorable Minister for affording us the opportunity to demonstrate that we can execute on the vision shared and commitments we’ve made,” explained Berrettini. “It requires both vision and courage to publicly accept our commitment to stimulate scientific investigation and economic activity by bringing direct foreign investment to Universities and Polytechnics in the form of research funding and commercialization expertise.”

Berrettini and Amílar Falcão, Rector of the University of Coimbra, participated in the ceremonial signing of the MOU, which makes official the partnership that will see Empowered bring proven transnational entrepreneurs to UC via the HQA Visa Program.

“The agreement we are now signing with Empowered Startups is another contribution to fulfilling in the best way one of the pillars of the University of Coimbra’s mission: the transfer of knowledge to society”, acknowledged Falcão. “We are a leading university, with a high number of patents and many projects capable of creating value. And I believe that this partnership can bring very positive results for all parties.”   

“We’re elated to welcome the University of Coimbra to our prominent group of higher institutions in Portugal,” remarked Chris Lennon, President of Empowered Startups. “With a global reputation for academic excellence and its world-leading technology transfer mission, the University of Coimbra will immediately enhance the already appealing options of partner universities and polytechnics for the accomplished entrepreneurs we are bringing to Portugal. This is an important step in continuing to stimulate scientific investigation and economic activity, as we tangibly contribute to the government’s vision of making the country more cohesive, more dynamic and more prosperous.”

As the only government-endorsed delivery partner of the HQA Visa Program, Empowered Startups has already welcomed 60 entrepreneurs to Portugal as part of its three-year commitment to bring 250 internationally funded projects to at least 10 universities and polytechnics throughout the country. The addition of UC improves Empowered’s ability to pair even more successful international businesspeople with world-leading research institutions in Portugal.