Portugal – Paradise for Entrepreneurs

by alrou on February 27, 2011

I came across this text from a Business Angel who conducts business in Portugal, which shows to all the naysayers and the prophets of doom out there that if it depends on private initiatives, Portugal will not let be down.

Portugal – Paradise for Entrepreneurs

By Robert Boogaard

I get many comments and emails saying that in Portugal it is difficult to arrange financing to launch a business because banks will not lend, the state does not support entrepreneurs, (include your favorite complaint here), etc…etc.. In general, it is said that in Portugal it is almost impossible to be an entrepreneur.

For several years I have been saying quite the opposite. I believe that Portugal is a haven for entrepreneurs.

For those who are still reading after my comment of the previous paragraph, they might say that as someone from “out there” living here, I see Portugal with different eyes. My paradigm is different.

There are several reasons that led me to conclude that, unless you are seeking several millions to launch your business (because in this segment, it is true that Portugal lacks the dimension), Portugal is a great country to be an entrepreneur:

  • “Out there” banks do not lend money to entrepreneurs, as well. As a general rule, banks will not lend to entrepreneurs because they do not like taking risks.
  • “Out there” money may be more abundant to support entrepreneurs, but on the other hand, competition for it is much more fierce. Comparatively, in Portugal it is quite easy to arrange financing for a start-up. There is the Finicia Program (which facilitates the access to credit by small companies/entrepreneurs), there is the QREN program (National Strategic Reference Framework), there are incentives for the unemployed to create their own job, etc.. All are within reach of anyone with not more than a moderately good business plan.
  • “Out there” practically everything has already been created. It takes a really creative idea to be able to successively launch a new business. Here in Portugal, there is much to do. We just need to find out what works well “out there”, to adapt it to the local market and we are ready and set to launch our business.
  • “Out there” for a start-up it is difficult to attract capable people to hire, and when they find these people, it comes at a cost. Here in Portugal it is possible to find qualified people, many of them college students with salaries starting at a meager € 600.

I could continue on with more examples, but I like to keep articles short. Surely I agree that Portugal also has negative points. The tax system, the rigid labor laws that block job creation, the Justice system and finally, the fear of failure because in Portugal this has a negative connotation. But they are part of the experience: you cannot have it both ways by cherry picking the good things and leaving out the bad ones.

I have lived “out there” and chose to live in Portugal and be an entrepreneur here. I think we should focus more on what is good and on what works in our country. And then we could all get together to discuss what is wrong and improve it, instead of just whining and complaining.

Just one more comment before finishing. When things are going bad and you are having a rough day, just head to the terrace of a café on the beach (or in the countryside), lay back and feel the rays of sun in your face and sip a nice and cold beer (€1.20 compared with €4 to €5 “out there”), and suddenly, life seems much better. Try to do this “out there”!

Good success to your business!

By Robert Boogaard in Empreendedorismo+     Translated under permission by BestInPortugal.com
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