International Execs Pivot to Portugal

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New Portugal Angel Visa provides a clear path to life in the EU for accomplished professionals who can provide strategic direction to their own innovative startup, in the care of Empowered Startups' transnational business incubator.

Portugal Angel Visa provides clear path to life in EU for accomplished professionals

We need experienced professionals launching startups that add value right away and have access to international connections - Alex Rodrigues, Entrepreneuship & Investments Officer - Brigantia-EcoPark, Portugal

Continued political unrest in key global regions has top executives with international savvy looking to move their lives to Portugal. The EU country was recently ranked at 3rd most peaceful country in the world, in the 2019 Global Peace Index. The IMF is reporting that Portugal is outpacing the EU for economic growth.

The increasingly virtual nature of work, especially for decision-makers with business interests in multiple countries, means relocating their base of operations to a more stable and secure country is not only practical but also meet key personal needs. Many are leaving to secure EU citizenship for their children.

Until recently the only viable option for executives whose professional commitments prevented them from moving immediately to a different country were residency-by-investment or citizenship-by-investment programs, often called “Golden Visas”.

“Golden Visas are in their sunset days – governments are seeing the problems they bring,” commented Paul Girodo, founder of Empowered Startups, a transnational business incubator that co-created a new residency-by-startup program with public partners in Portugal.

Local authorities launched the pilot initiative to attract international executives, marketed as the Portugal Angel Visa, using existing legislation. “We’ve already got millenials with great ideas and global companies opening satellite offices. We need experienced professionals launching startups that add value right away and have access to international connections,” says Alex Rodrigues, Entrepreneurship & Investments Officer at Brigantia-EcoPark, where Empowered Startups runs one of its Portugal Angel Visa incubation programs.

The new program is part of a global trend towards startup visas as a path to EU citizenship or permanent residency. The Portugal Angel Visa differentiates itself from other such programs by targeting accomplished professionals who can provide director-level oversight for their own startup. The venture evolves in Empowered Startups’ transnational business incubator, starting with an R&D project in a public research facility in Portugal. The entrepreneur-investors provide strategic direction to their innovative venture, while preserving their freedom to travel as needed.

“We’ve noticed an uptick in interest from Hong Kong, which makes sense,” reports Shawn Olson, VP Business Development for Empowered Startups, “When you’ve got a lot of business interests abroad, it just isn’t rational to live in a country where your mobility is at risk and everyday life is unstable.”

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Laura Bock Blumes : Managing Director Europe