7 Reasons to Launch Your Startup in Portugal

Written by:
Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

Silicon Valley, London, Paris, and Berlin are all big locations in the startup world, but what about Portugal? For a long time Portugal has been seen as somewhere you would move to for a better quality of life, somewhere you might retire to, or somewhere you might kick back and enjoy a beach holiday. Yes, the bridge in Lisbon looks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the trams have a bit of a San Francisco vibe to them too, but other than that, Portugal has never really been considered a place to launch a startup.

But all that’s starting to change. Portugal has a lot to offer including attainable residency visas which can lead to citizenship for you and your family members, tax incentives, and an educated workforce. In this article, we’ll look at some of the reasons to consider Portugal as a potential destination to launch your startup.

Great Residency Visas for Entrepreneurs

Thinking of launching a startup? Also want to have residency in an EU country and, within 5-7 years, a passport from that country? Then consider launching your startup in Portugal.

Portugal has a number of visas aimed at attracting entrepreneurs. High on the list is the HQA visa, which is aimed at entrepreneurs that want to partner with a Portuguese university and have Masters and PHD students work on their idea. The physical stay requirements are very flexible, so you could stay for a few days of the year or the entire year, depending on your other obligations.

Another option is the D2, which is a more general entrepreneur visa for those that want to start a business in Portugal. The exciting thing about this visa is that there’s no minimum capital requirement, so it could be perfect for those launching their startup on a shoestring. Naturally, you’ll need to show enough capital to be able to get this business launched and to be able to support yourself and any dependents in Portugal.

The New NHR Regime

Portugal’s “new NHR regime” offers significant tax advantages for new residents that are still working, including a flat 20% tax on certain types of income.

Affordable and Highly Educated Workforce

Portugal boasts a skilled and educated workforce that speaks English to a high level, and often Spanish too, at a cost significantly lower than in many other EU countries. Portuguese universities are well known for their IT and engineering programs, producing graduates who are ready to take on challenges in the tech sector.

High Quality of Life

Hopefully you won’t be working all of the time, and you’ll have some freedom to enjoy some of what this country has to offer. The Portuguese lifestyle, with its mild climate, rich culture, exceptional cuisine, and outdoor recreation opportunities, is widely celebrated. Portugal consistently ranks highly in global quality of life indexes. Entrepreneurs can enjoy a healthy work-life balance while being immersed in the country’s vibrant community.

Attraction for Global Talent

Lisbon, in particular, has become a magnet for international talent. The city’s stunning architecture, coastal beauty, and bustling tech scene make it an appealing destination for tech professionals worldwide. This makes recruiting skilled employees from around the globe considerably easier.

English Proficiency

Portugal is ranked as one of the top countries in Europe for English proficiency, crucial in today’s globalized business world. This high level of English proficiency, combined with a strong workforce, makes it easier to communicate, collaborate, and innovate in Portugal.

Strategic Location within the EU

Portugal’s geographical location offers a significant strategic advantage. Being a part of the EU, startups can access the European Single Market and its over 450 million consumers. Additionally, Portugal’s close ties with Africa and South America (Brazil mainly) make it a gateway for businesses looking to expand globally.

The small print: Portugalist may generate a commission from mentioned products or services. This is at no additional cost to you and it does not affect our editorial standards in any way. All content, including comments, should be treated as informational and not advice of any kind, including legal or financial advice. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or damages arising from its display or use. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement. [Disclaimer Policy]
Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

Spotted a mistake? Suggest a correction

There are 7 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.


  1. This article feels short in details, e.g. there are incubators in other cheaper cities then Lisbon like Porto , Coimbra https://ipn.pt/ , Leiria https://startupleiria.com, Braga https://startupbraga.com/ a bit outdated, of course Azores http://www.azores.gov.pt where because you are close to the US timezone makes most sense to move if you are targeting the us market.

    There are several co-working places in Lisbon, Coimbra and Leiria that i am aware of.

    All these cities have a ready talent pool of engineering colleges where a ready talent pool is available.

    • Hi Fredy – I am looking for partners/collaborators for a community start-up in Portugal, aimed at aiding the country’s post-Covid restart. I need to source social media champions who would have a stake in the business if they help grow it. Where can you suggest that I can contact a talent pool of Portugal’s next generation of digital entrepreneurs?


Leave a Comment