Lisbon mayor wants unicorn factory in city’s new Beato creative hub

  • Lusa
  • 10 November 2021

"Bring innovation to cities, innovation is what brings us employment, what brings us well-being," announced Carlos Moedas.

The Mayor of Lisbon on Wednesday made a commitment to speed up the approval of projects for the Beato Creative Hub, where work is underway to accommodate companies and where it “makes perfect sense” to install the Unicorn Factory.

“Bring innovation to cities, innovation is what brings us employment, what brings us well-being,” said social democrat Carlos Moedas, after a visit to the Beato Creative Hub, accompanied by the councillor for Economy and Innovation of the Lisbon City Council, Diogo Moura (CDS-PP), to acknowledge the current state of the project, through a guided tour with those responsible for Startup Lisboa.

To help the Beato Creative Hub and the creation of the Unicorn Factory, entrepreneur Nuno Sebastião, one of the founders of the technology company Feedzai, was nominated to be Lisbon’s high commissioner for Science and Technology, the mayor of the capital announced, mentioning that he was chosen “because he is a man who is inspiring and who, at the same time, knows what it is to create a company and make that company a great one”.

“Our ambition in Lisbon is to develop big companies starting from scratch, and that this is possible because Portugal has already proved it can do it, that today we have Portuguese unicorns and we are a country with a relative size in relation to the world,” the newly elected mayor said.

With the goal of “scoring goals in innovation”, the Unicorn Factory, also called Enterprise Factory, an idea that was part of the electoral programme of the “New Times” coalition (PSD/CDS-PP/MPT/PPM/Alliance) and that was also announced in the recent edition of the Web Summit, should start operating next year, with the implementation of the first part of the project, said Carlos Moedas.

Questioned about the location of the Unicorn Factory, the mayor argued that “it makes perfect sense” to be installed in the Beato Creative Hub, because that is where “a major innovation project is being developed in Lisbon”, and his visit to the space served to understand where “to fit this idea”.

After hearing complaints about the delays in the implementation of the Beato Creative Hub, an idea that emerged in 2016 and that involves the rehabilitation of the old Military Maintenance factories in Beato to transform the space into an innovation centre for creative and technological companies, the mayor said that “these are normal complaints in project management”, in which he can intervene as mayor to try to resolve.

“To see how we can speed up approvals, how we can speed up the ability to make certain decisions, which are often, I would say, stopped due to a matter of communication between the services themselves,” he explained.