Signs of Success for HQA Program in Leiria 

An exciting new chapter of the HQA Visa Program is being authored at the Polytechnic University of Leiria (IP Leiria), where a pair of American entrepreneurs have signed research contracts to develop innovative technologies in the fields of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

Vijay Vaidyanathan, Pedro Amado, Nuno Almeida and Jim Wayner outside Polytechnic University of Leiria

An exciting new chapter of the HQA Visa Program is being authored at the Polytechnic University of Leiria (IP Leiria), where a pair of American entrepreneurs have signed research contracts to develop innovative technologies in the fields of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, respectively. These are the first two projects that will be researched and developed at Startup Leiria incubator as a result of the partnership between the institution and Empowered Startups through the HQA Visa Program. Beyond the collective enthusiasm about the potential for each of the individual projects, there is widespread belief they will serve as catalysts for driving IP Leiria’s contribution to Portugal 2030, a national investment framework designed to increase territorial and social cohesion. 

Vijay Vaidyanathan, Pedro Amado, and Jim Wayner at official contract signing
Vijay Vaidyanathan, Pedro Amado, and Jim Wayner at official contract signing

“The partnership with the Empowered Startups will promote a bridge between entrepreneurs focused on success and researchers in the Polytechnic University of Leiria,” asserted Nuno Almeida, Pro-President of IP Leiria. “We expect growth in the transfer of technology and knowledge between academia and industry with a higher potential for internationalization. The connection with the regional economic environment will generate a dynamic of opportunities aligned with the strategic plan 2030.” 

Accomplished Entrepreneurs 

Jim Wayner, a founding partner in three successful technology startups, will collaborate with IP Leiria on the development of Consumer IoT Cybersecurity, which aims to provide users with affordable, easy-to-use cybersecurity for their expanding household networks. Wayner has a wealth of experience in the cybersecurity sector and is intent on creating a reasonably-priced solution for everyday consumers whose reliance on internet connected devices in their homes continues to increase. In addition to his experience with startups, Wayner has a lengthy background in the technology sector. His previous roles include software development and hardware design with companies like Oracle and Collier IT.  

Vijay Vaidyanathan and Jim Wayner touring CODI in Leiria
Vijay Vaidyanathan and Jim Wayner touring CODI in Leiria

Vijay Vaidyanathan has partnered with IP Leiria to assist in the advancement of Episcribe, an app that will harness AI to record, analyze and synthesize content. Vaidyanathan has spent the past three decades building startups, complex software, and investment portfolios. His combination of technical expertise and business acumen has seen him elevate several companies in a variety of roles, from Chief Technology Officer to CEO. Vaidyanathan’s wide array of experience has allowed him to identify numerous practical applications for Episcribe across a broad range of industries as he, in collaboration with researchers at IP Leiria, attempts to advance the ability for artificial intelligence to simplify previously arduous tasks.  

HQA Visa Program Continues to Expand  

Wayner and Vaidyanathan are the latest transnational entrepreneurs to use the HQA Visa Program as a vehicle to seed their respective futures in Portugal. Over the next two months, Empowered Startups is poised to announce seven more R&D signings between accomplished international businesspeople and Portuguese institutions of higher education. Empowered’s network of universities and polytechnics will also expand this month as the Canadian multinational is on the verge of welcoming a 14th institution to its already expansive group of esteemed partner schools. These imminent announcements will underscore Empowered Startups’ ongoing commitment to bring 25 projects and high potential founders to each of 10 Portuguese universities and polytechnics in the span of 36 months through its HQA Visa Program.