The country has been witnessing a rapid increase in the number of projects creating new competence and software development centres, benefiting from the local skills and renowned Engineering capabilities. Companies tend to seek the right mix of talent, multilingual skills and stability at several levels – political, social, economic - together with one of the highest safety levels in the world.
Several opportunities arise within Life Sciences, Medical Devices, Technical Textiles, as well as on Electric Mobility and across the Digital sphere, including Cybersecurity and Fintech. Portugal has been able to shift from tradition to innovation, showing very high levels of resilience, creativity and new business thinking.
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Key factors according to EY Attractiveness Survey on Portugal from July 2020:
Fostering a business-friendly environment and reducing administrative costs has been a priority for Portugal. According to the World Bank’s report Doing Business 2020, Portugal is a top performer when it comes to ease of registering property and ranks 15th out of 190 countries in resolving insolvency procedures. Recent labor regulation changes have also been well received by companies.
Growing strategic appeal
Portugal is a member of the European Union with a strong integration in global value chains and located at the intersection of some major global shipping routes. It also has privileged relations with Portuguese-speaking countries, serving as an entry way for an emerging combined market of over 250 million people spread over 4 continents.
Quality transport and ICT infrastructure
The country is served by multiple well-connected international airports (Lisbon is a hub to Brazil and several African countries), relevant seaports (e.g. Lisbon, Leixões or Sines) and the road network is extensive.
A rapid growing technology and innovation ecosystem
Portugal’s status as a tech and innovation hub continues to grow. According to the European Innovation Scorebard 2020, from the European Commission, Portugal joined the rank of Strong innovators this year. Lisbon’s tech and start-up scene has cemented its status as a hotpot and the city has been regularly hosting highprofile events such as the Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech event and, more recently, MoneyConf, a fintech conference for leading global banks, tech firms, and start-ups. Other cities, such as Porto, are also on the rise internationally. In 2018 alone, Porto was noted as the “Best Startup-Friendly City of Europe” by the World Business Angels Investment Forum as well as Europe’s third fastestgrowing tech hub, in Atomico’s State of European Tech report for that year.
Highly skilled talent
International recognition of Portugal’s workforce, especially the younger generations, as a highly skilled, flexible and adaptable labor pool with high language skills has been growing. While employment has been growing in many sectors of the economy, highly skilled and tech based job demand has been experiencing a boom over this past decade. According to a survey present in Atomico’s “State of European Tech” report, Portugal’s tech talent pool is also the most open to global mobility, followed by Sweden and Ireland. This global mindset, especially in times of ample local job opportunities, further enhances its attractiveness to large multinational companies.
Portugal establishing itself as an attractive FDI destination
Portugal has always been recognized by factors such as climate, social and political stability or its friendly and hard-working population. However, its FDI success story is in no small part due to more recent efforts taken toward improving international attractiveness and addressing some of the country’s main competitive shortcomings. These have been leading to the growing recognition of Portugal’s new image as a more business and investment friendly country (red tape has been reduced and some regulatory regimes have been reformed), with a skilled and internationally-minded talent pool, world-class infrastructure, a vibrant tech and innovation ecosystem and increasingly helpful local authorities. International investors have also been receptive to the country’s special tax and residency regimes for foreign investors.
There is no doubt that 2020’s pandemic crisis will affect Portugal, but past years’ work and results will be key to ensure that Portugal’s attractiveness for investors stays high, as it is linked to structural “assets” that are leading FDI trends around the world.
Source: EY Attractiveness Survey Portugal July 2020