As seen in Silicon Valley over the last 20 years, innovation and a booming tech industry can generate a profitable economy. Following their success, many cities throughout the world have recognized the value of cultivating a tech industry, and aspire to bare the economic fruits of their ambitious investment.
One such city that is vying to become an internationally recognized tech hub is Lisbon, Portugal. The Coller Institute of Venture has already recognized Lisbon as a key city for innovation, and on 28-Jan-2015, we co-hosted the first Lisbon-Tel Aviv Water Venture Workshop, where industry, leading academic research and business initiatives relating to water converged.
The Portuguese economy is lagging and in need of rejuvenation and employment opportunities. The government understands the economic growth potential of becoming the next tech hub, and are proactive in laying the groundwork and policy needed for this to happen. To this end, the government successfully convinced the organizers of the Web Summit to relocate their massive tech conference from Dublin to Lisbon for at least the next three years.
According to Chris O’Brien’s article on VentureBeat, The Portuguese government brought the Web Summit to Portugal because they want to transform the young tech ecosystem into an “innovative job-creating machine.”
As part of momentum, the Government Hosted a Venture Summit the day prior to the Web Summit with 600 attendees, and the Prime Minister António Costa announced that the government created a new public fund of $220 million that will match any private venture capital invested in the country’s startups. The government also launched an organization called Startup Portugal, to oversee its four-year tech startup initiative, and take advantage of the global startup spotlight they attracted through the Web Summit.
This is a commendable example of a government utilizing their authority in order to drive an industry. They have pledged to offer better value for growing startups and also create policy and funding opportunities for venture capitals who want to invest. By relocating the Web Summit to Lisbon, they have seized the startup momentum in order to invigorate the sluggish economy and build a better future.
To read more about the development of Venture Ecosystems, see Prof. Manhong Mannie Liu article Growing The Venture Dragon: China, which explores the history of the venture capital market in China from 1985 to 2015, and also Linas Sabaliauskas’ article Seeding A Venture Wolf: Baltics, which presents the enabling role of public entities in empowering the creation of the venture ecosystem.