Nearly 70 incubators are certified through the Portugal StartUp Visa program to help foreign entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Here’s how to apply.

The Portugal StartUp Visa application process went live on March 15, and now over 65 incubators throughout the country are certified to help foreign startups.

The first phase of the StartUp Visa was concluded with the certification of incubators, and the startup application phase of the program is now underway.

The evaluation of the candidate projects will have as criteria the innovative potential of growth, the scalability of the business in the market, and also the prospects of working in Portugal once the program is finished.

The full list of certified Portuguese incubators can be found here.

Portugal StartUp Visa, How to Apply

The Institute to Support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (IAPMEI) recently released its “StartUp Visa Mini Guide for application submission,” which reads in its entirety as follows:

The StartUp Visa application takes place in two steps.

First step:

The entrepreneur should start the process by filling out the identification and description of the project and upload the following documents (for each entrepreneur):

• Letter of motivation with demonstration of interest in developing an entrepreneurial and/or innovative project in Portugal;
• Copy of the passport;
• Official declaration of the country of origin that certifies the settlement of tax and social security debt, when applicable.
• Statement from the bank that proves the existence of own financial means of subsistence corresponding to € 5,146.80,80, and that the possibility of transferring these funds to a bank operating in Portugal;
• Curriculum vitae. The entrepreneur can also attach a project presentation file that can help the incubator do the evaluation.

After completing this information, the entrepreneur must send a request to at least one incubator, to obtain a declaration of interest in the incubation, namely taking into account:

a. The innovative side of the project;
b. The potential for growth;
c. The scaling up of the business in the market;
d. The perspectives of the setting up in Portugal, after the end of the program.

To advance to the second step, the entrepreneur must obtain a positive feedback from at least one incubator. After that the entrepreneur must complete application information and submit it through this online platform, for IAPMEI approval.

Portugal StartUp Visa Criteria

International entrepreneurs wishing to access the Portugal StartUP Visa and obtain a residence and work visa must accomplish the following criteria:

  • Intend to develop business activities to produce innovative goods and services;
  • Open or relocate companies and/or projects focused on technology and knowledge, with a perspective of developing innovative products;
  • Have the potential to create qualified employment;
  • Have the potential to attain, three years after the incubation period, a €325,000, or a turnover of more than €500,000 per year.

The evaluation of the economic and innovative potential is made based on the degree of innovation, the scalability of the business, the market potential, the capacity of the management team, the potential for creating qualified employment in Portugal, and the relevance of the applicant in the team.

The Portugal StartUp Visa program took place in two stages: an initial process of certification of incubators that can host and support foreign entrepreneurs in the creation and installation of technology-based companies, and then the granting of residence permits to these entrepreneurs.

The purpose of incubator certification is to ensure that these incubators are able to host citizens from non-EU Member States (as defined in Administrative Rule 344/2017), with IAPMEI being responsible for the analysis, selection and certification of applications and and by monitoring the implementation of the program.

About the Portugal StartUp Visa

In 2016 the Ministry of Economy launched a National Strategy for Entrepreneurship, called StartUp Portugal, whose vision is to widen the country and all sectors of activity of the entrepreneurial dynamic underlying the realization that Portugal has today one of the most vibrant ecosystems of entrepreneurship, resulting from the investments made over the last decade in qualifying human resources, infrastructure and technology, which provide enormous opportunities for those who intend to launch or invest in new businesses.

The objectives pursued by StartUp Portugal include:

  • Creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem at the national level;
  • Attracting domestic and foreign investors to invest in start ups;
  • Co-financing startups, especially at the idea stage;
  • Promoting and accelerating the growth of startups in foreign markets;
  • Implementing government measures to support entrepreneurship.

The Portugal StartUp Visa program aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and to affirm Portugal as an open country to entrepreneurship and to all those who, with their knowledge and capacity for innovation, can bring investment to the Portuguese economy, capable of strengthen and enhance national skilled human resources.