Startup Portugal with new leadership and strategy for the next three years

  • ECO News
  • 4 October 2021

Internationalisation, funding models and taxation for startups are part of the strategic agenda for the next three years.

Miguel Carvalho is the new president of Startup Portugal, replacing Simon Schaefer, whose mission is to support the development of the national entrepreneurship ecosystem. Entrepreneur António Dias Martins takes over as executive director of the organisation that moves forward, from October, with a new strategy for the next three years. The former Minister of Economy Manuel Caldeira Cabral leads the strategic council, ECO confirmed with Startup Portugal.

The new leadership marks the end of a cycle at Startup Portugal until now chaired by Simon Schaefer – in charge of the body since October 2016 – and who left in August after a general meeting on August 27, where the new governing bodies were elected. João Borga, the executive director of Startup Portugal, had already left in May, having moved to the National Innovation Agency (ANI), as executive director.

The new leadership of Startup Portugal, chaired by Miguel Carvalho – manager with two decades of experience in the banking sector (Millennium BCP and ActivoBank), with brief stints at Microsoft, founder of ThinkLand, current chairman of the general meeting of DSPA, founder of YuBuy, CEO of Optimistic Blue and non-executive director of Fábrica de Startups – was presented last Friday at an internal meeting, as well as the strategy for the next three years.

The new executive director, António Dias Martins – an entrepreneur with experience in funds, investment companies and venture capital, acquired in FIEP, as Director and Board Advisor – and a strategic council led by the former Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, which includes the main players of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, public and private, take part in the meeting, according to an official Startup Portugal source.

The government that, through IAPMEI, established a contract programme for the promotion and execution of public policies in the area of entrepreneurship with Startup Portugal, was present at the meeting. “A meeting is scheduled (referring to last Friday’s meeting) between the elected bodies and the Secretary of State for Digital Transition (André de Aragão Azevedo) to share the vision and strategy of entrepreneurship for the coming years,” said an official source from the Ministry of Economy when contacted by ECO.

New strategy for the next three years

With the new leadership already in place, Startup Portugal starts this month a new strategic cycle for the next three years. Strengthening the ecosystem, internationalisation, new funding models, taxation for startups, approaching large corporations and investment funds, and attracting and retaining talent are the key topics on the strategic agenda, according to an official source from Startup Portugal.

“This is a challenging mission, but also an exciting one. The work done so far by Startup Portugal has allowed us to place our country as an international reference in terms of entrepreneurship. In this new cycle, it is essential to take a new qualitative leap in Startup Portugal’s intervention and in its ability to create value in the ecosystem, as well as to promote greater proximity between all its stakeholders. I expect to contribute strongly to achieve this vision and foster the growth of the entire ecosystem on an international scale,” says António Dias Martins, in statements to ECO.

A few weeks before the start of another edition of the Web Summit, the new leadership’s short-term focus is to coordinate the national presence at the entrepreneurship and technology event, as well as preparing startups to return in person to the conference through the Road 2 Web Summit programme.

Startup Portugal was created in 2016 with the mission of boosting the development of the national entrepreneurship ecosystem, which has since seen the birth of five national unicorns, Remote being the most recent.