Every country in the world seems to be wanting to get a piece of the startup scene. While we already know about the US, UK and Indian startup scene, the country of Portugal also seems to be wanting to catch on. Last year, the much talked about Web Summit in Lisbon attracted the attendance of more than 50,000 people. Seeing such high number of people flocking the event encouraged the government to start thinking about the startup industry in the country and set up a number of partnerships around the world, with a special interest in Asia and the Far East.

During a recent meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Secretary of State of Industry João Vasconcelos said that they are considering speeding up the visa application process for Indian entrepreneurs who are looking to start their businesses in Portugal, with the creation of a special kind of visa category called the ”Startup Visa". The Portugal Prime Minister and Secretary of State of Industry were recently on a visit to the Indian subcontinent to meet the Indian PM and attend the "India X Portugal" startup event in Bengaluru.

Talking about the reason to introduce a special ”Startup Visa" category for India, Vasconcelos said that the Web Summit held in Lisbon, Portugal last November saw more than 700 entrepreneurs arriving from India to Portugal. This made them realise that Lisbon has also emerged as competitive as San Francisco or London, when it comes to narrowing down a place to start a company.

According to industry experts, fresh graduates in the field of engineering and ICT-related disciplines could emerge as real winners of this new Visa category move by the Portuguese government. Since, a lot of details haven’t been given out yet, nothing much can be said about other sectors and disciplines. The experts also feel that the Visa move is just a small part of the Portuguese government efforts to transform the country into a gateway to Europe for Indian entrepreneurs and startups, while still allowing the native entrepreneurs to start their joint ventures and enter into commercial partnerships in the subcontinent.

Apart from ICT and startups, both the countries are hopeful of finding and establishing mutually beneficially collaboration opportunities in diverse fields like agriculture, infrastructure, food processing and security, renewable energies, water and waste management, defence and automotive.

The startup visa project isn’t the first step taken by the Portuguese government to attract foreign entrepreneurs to set up their bases in Portugal.

Eight years ago, in the year 2009, the country launched a non-habitual residents' taxation regime with an aim of attracting foreign capital into the country. The taxation regime enables people who become a tax resident in the country become eligible to pay only 20 percent of taxes for the first five years. Three years later, in the year 2012, the country also launched a Golden Visa scheme that fast-tracks the process of enabling entrepreneurs from outside Schengen area to stay in the country and set up their bases there.

While it is not yet clear when will the “Startup Visa” project see the light of day, but whenever it does, we will keep you updated.

[Top Image: Shutterstock]

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