Evora, Portugal, April 4, 2023 – University of Beira Interior (UBI) has entered an MOU with Empowered Startups to expand Empowered’s HQA (Highly Qualified Activity) Visa Program to the institution. This will give University of Beira Interior (UBI) the opportunity to receive foreign direct investment towards research secured through the program.
Empowered Startups, a Canadian multinational 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. The Commitment Letter was presented to the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa in a session, at the Alentejo Science and Technology Park, earlier this year, on February 8th, 2023.
Empowered Startups has already established partnerships with the universities of the Algarve, Aveiro and Évora, and with the polytechnic institutes of Bragança, Guarda, Leiria, and Santarém. With the addition of University of Beira Interior (UBI), Empowered Startups will further its commitment to expand the program to Universities and Polytechnics throughout the interior regions.
The HQA Visa Program aims to recruit highly qualified foreign professionals, with domain expertise, business leadership, and entrepreneurial experience, to start and finance research projects at Universities and Polytechnics and to spin out new startup companies to commercialize Portuguese innovation resulting from those projects.
“With this program, we bring direct foreign investment to Universities and Polytechnics in the form of research funding and commercialization expertise. Our program also brings broader economic stimuli, particularly to the interior regions, by creating and establishing new companies, commercializing new technology, and bringing international talent to local economies,” says Chris Lennon, President of Empowered Startups. “We work outside of major urban centers because by strengthening the connection between the quality research that takes place there and the local business fabrics, we are able to create meaningful impact and generate new opportunities in these territories. This is, we believe, fundamental for the sustainable future of the country.”
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