Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs

Last update: 28 November 2023
On this page
  1. Access to information
  2. Access to capital

Access to information

The national business ecosystem possesses infrastructures that offer support to the development of business projects.

This support is given in three basic functional fields:

  • Facilitation/Networking;
  • Qualification/Training;
  • Development/Financing.

Nationally, within the public framework, there are crucial roles being played by IAPMEI – Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, PI; the Employment and Vocational Training Institute (IEFP, I.P.), and the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, PI (IPDJ, I.P.).

IAPMEI, I.P., is the indirect administration body of the State responsible for promoting and providing support to entrepreneurship. In the manuals available online there is no specific information directed to young people. In the website, the information on funding programmes for young people coordinated by IAPMEI, I.P., is available in the menu related to incentives and financing.

The IEFP, I.P. offers information on its website about the various programmes and measures it promotes, regarding youth entrepreneurship. They are programmes/measures incorporated in the Youth Guarantee programme.

The CASES, António Sérgio Cooperative for Social Economy, provides information and support for social entrepreneurship projects, including about COOP-Jovem, Social Investe and social economy for youth.



The IPDJ, I.P., provides information about youth entrepreneurship in various information channels: Youth Portal website, Ponto JA information centres and a Youth Line call centre (707 20 30 30).

The information about measures and programmes related to young entrepreneurship is spread mainly through non-governmental organisations that streamline projects and initiatives financed by European funds and/or in partnership with public entities, namely IAPMEI, I.P. and the IEFP, I.P.

Among them, the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) stands out. It is an association, of private law and of public utility, which promotes entrepreneurship and supports entrepreneurs through a series of initiatives:

  • WE' BIZ – Entrepreneurship Magazine, financed by the Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Programme (COMPETE 2020);
  • Entrepreneurs Academy. Among the projects developed by the Entrepreneurs Academy, the following ones are highlighted: The Young Entrepreneur Award, the Entrepreneur Fair, the Competition of Ideas and the Entrepreneurship in Motion road shows.

In the scope of partnerships between ANJE and some municipalities, various business centres have been developed, intended for the incubation of businesses, designed for young people between the ages of 18 and 40, who wish to start or continue a professional activity.

In addition,  CASES, António Sérgio Cooperative for Social Economy, provides information and support for social entrepreneurship projects, including about COOP-Jovem, Social Investe and social economy for youth.

An Enterprising Portugal

Another service of ANJE is An Enterprising Portugal (Portugal Empreendedor). This is a portal for entrepreneurship and incubation, whose mission is to promote qualified entrepreneurship, especially in two specific target audiences: the female and the young.

The portal is the product of a project that involves the following entities: ANJE, the Union of Business Associations of the Northern Region (UERN) and the Central Business Council (CEC/CCIC)/Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Centre, in the scope of an application to COMPETE – Support System for Collective Actions (SIAC).

Beside the role of non-governmental organisations, the promoting programmes and initiatives of youth entrepreneurship mainly work at a regional level.

Regionally, the Portuguese Business and Innovation Centres Associations (BICS) are structures for promotion and development of entrepreneurial activities. The Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), also known as European Business and Innovation Centres (CEEI), is incorporated in the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN) of the European Commission.

At a regional level, it also merits to highlight the role of local public administration: many municipalities developed programmes and measures in partnership with non-governmental organisations and private companies, in order to promote young entrepreneurship. The dissemination of information is mainly done either through centres and support offices, or through initiatives such as workshops and seminars.


Access to capital

The main sources of public funding to support youth entrepreneurship are incorporated in different programmes/measures that are promoted through public strategic plans at a national level, or by non-governmental organisations with national or European public co-financing.

StartUP Portugal

Under the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship, the XVI Constitutional Government of the Portuguese Republic launched the StartUp Portugal programme. The programme is structured in three lines of action: ecosystem, financing and internationalisation, consisting of a set of 15 measures to support entrepreneurship. The objective is to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and to support entrepreneurs and companies, by promoting their longevity and capacity for job creation. From those measures 9, more closely related to capital access, are presented below.

National Incubator Network

Aims to identify, map and interconnect existing incubators and accelerators in the country, created by universities, scientific and technological centers, municipalities, private companies or foreign entities. It also seeks to identify and fill gaps at the regional and sectoral level and to promote cooperation and sharing of physical resources and know-how, networks of mentors and investors. It also promotes the training of managers, the professionalization of services offered to entrepreneurs and incubated companies and the increase in the competitiveness of Portuguese incubators at national and international level. The aim is to place incubators and accelerators in a central role of the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

StartUp Portugal - Incubator Voucher

Support to promote the integration of entrepreneurs and startups in the ecosystem, through the hiring of professional services to support business development provided by incubators. This includes management, marketing, advisory and legal support services, support for the digitization and protection of intellectual property and support for applications for entrepreneurship and innovation contests.

StartUp Portugal - StartUp Voucher

Aims to stimulate the development of entrepreneurial projects that are still at an idea stage, promoted by young people aged between 18 and 35 years. It consists of the attribution of several technical and financial tools, which include a monthly subsidy of around € 700, designed to enable the creation of new innovative companies by young entrepreneurs, made available over a period of up to 12 months.

Semente Programme

Support to individual investors who are interested in entering the social capital of innovative startups. It creates a more favorable tax regime for these and favors the creation and growth of projects of entrepreneurship and innovation

Startup Visa Programme

Hosts foreign entrepreneurs who wish to develop an entrepreneurship and / or innovation project in Portugal, in order to receive a residence permit (i.e. residence permit for entrepreneurial immigrants). The incubators are previously certified by the program in order to be entities able to host and support entrepreneurial immigrants in the creation and installation of technology-based companies.

Business Angels Co-Investment Fund

Creation of matching funds. It is intended to attract domestic and foreign Business Angels.


Road 2 Web Summit

Support and prepare Portuguese startups to maximize participation in the largest technological entrepreneurship event in the world. In 2018 the number of Portuguese startups to participate in Road 2 Web Summit rises to 200. The preparation of bootcamps are also open to large Portuguese companies and SMEs.


Missions Abroad

Development of national representations abroad by including quotas for startups’ participation in Official Committees in foreign visits and international fairs, by coordinating the communication of Portuguese startups with the foreign press and by providing for technological services and knowledge of external markets. Goal: support 50 startups. Presence of Portuguese startups has been assured at events such as the Web Summit, Tech Crunch Disrupt, Cebit, Mobile World Congress, CES or South By Southwest


Also in the scope of Startup Portugal, new measures were introduced in 2018, under the designation of Startup Portugal +. The measures aim to boost the support to startups initiated by Startup Portugal Program.

Startup Hub – Digital Mapping And Matchmaking Platform

Development of a digital mapping platform for startups and national incubators, which will include centralized information on all types of support available to the national entrepreneurship ecosystem. The platform will also include a tool to bring startups closer to companies in the industry and services.

Pitch Voucher

Access password assigned to startups so that they can have the opportunity to develop business / corporate relationships with corporate companies, thus seeking to secure financing and new clients, as well as mentoring. This measure aims to facilitate the access of startups to consolidated companies established in Portugal, stimulating and strengthening relations between both. This initiative will be associated with the development of the Startup Hub.

Training For Entrepeneurs

Training courses for entrepreneurs and their staff, 90% reimbursed through COMPETE funds. This measure will allow to increase the training offer of the incubators and respond to the needs identified by the entrepreneurs, enabling them to face the demanding challenges related to the development of a startup.

Inovgov – Innovative Startups Solutions For The Public Sector

The aim is to bring startups closer to the public sector and to promote the innovative solutions developed by them to public sector managers from different sectors. This measure aims to reduce existing barriers so that innovative companies know how to access and compete for public tenders in their business areas. It also aims to promote the modernization of the public sector through the diffusion and transmission of knowledge and awareness about the innovative products or services developed in Portugal.

Open Kitchen Labs

Provision of facilities and equipment of the network of 12 Tourism Schools throughout the country to startups who want to test new products, services or concepts in the area of catering.  Through this measure, startups will be able to evaluate and validate the viability of their businesses in a sustained way.

Energy Challenge

Support to technology-based startups to develop innovative ideas and projects in the energy field that help solve existing technology challenges. Provides funding to the initial development of innovative technological solutions in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency (measurement, management, technologies to reduce consumption, materials) and generation from renewable sources. It includes support for the development of business plans, risk analysis, protection of intellectual property, development of laboratory prototypes or certification and marking activities, with a view to developing innovative products and services with strong market and internationalization potential. The financing will be between 20 and 50 thousand euros per project, non-refundable.


Inov Commerce

Trade in Portugal is predominantly made up of small companies, in the context of family management, with difficulty in attracting new talent and promoting the modernization of the sector. Inov Commerce launches competitions to present projects and ideas that contribute to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in the area of commerce.


International Coinvestment Funds

Implementation of an international co-investment fund to house venture capital funds in Portugal. The aim is to attract capital funds for investment in startups under co-investment arrangements originating from international multilateral institutions, ensuring a national public contribution that, together with the private counterpart, allows a co-investment of between 10 and 50 million euros by fund. The financial envelope of this instrument allows the creation of funds up to 200 million euros.


Adn Start Up Line

Creation of financial support through a credit line with specific guarantee for startups and micro-enterprises in the initial phase of their life cycle. This line has 10 million euros available for companies with 4 or less years of existence and with a minimum of 15% of equity. The maximum amount of financing per company is 50 thousand euros which can be doubled under specific conditions. The term of the operations supported may go up to 8 years. The capital shortage period can go up to 24 months. The Start Up DNA line includes counter-guarantee mechanisms directed at startups, provided through the Mutual Guarantee System with the national eco-system of entrepreneurship.


Keep- Key Employee Engagement Programme

Tax incentive for workers in companies in the technological sector with less than 6 years, in order to stimulate competitiveness and the ability to retain highly qualified staff. Through this initiative, workers who hold equity interests of the company, through a salary premium or individual acquisition, will be exempt from personal income tax in the remuneration included in these shares.


Co-investment instruments with incubators and accelerators

Creation of support for acceleration programs and co-financing lines with incubators and accelerators, in a model similar to the lines developed with Business Angels and Risk Capitals. This new mechanism will facilitate access to capital by entrepreneurs and will encourage the emergence of acceleration programs involving several incubators of the national incubator network, following the model that has been implemented by international incubators and accelerators.

Capital + Acceleration

Creation of a line of financing to capital inflows to accelerate the growth of the startups, improving their access to different mechanisms of financing. This instrument will be operationalized by the IFD (Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento – Financial Institution for Development). It foresees that the capital investment operations in the startups can be reversed in the medium term, with the transformation of the participation into a loan in the medium and long term, using a fixed repayment scheme.


Financing Lines For Tourism Technological Projects

Launch of instruments to support the development of technological projects in Tourism, including innovative solutions in the area of digitisation of tourism experiences and projects based on virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. A specific support line will be created for Tourism Scanning within the framework of the Valorizar Program and Portugal Ventures will launch a call for venture capital - Turismo tech.

Call Mvp – Minimum Viable Products

The initiative aims to provide access to risk capital investment by projects of new ideas, technologies, products or services that foresee the creation of an MVP and its commercialization in the global market. Among others, the areas of Digital (Enterprise, Cybersecurity, Networks, Artificial Intelligence, AR / VR, Marketplaces, Blockchain and IoT) and Engineering & Manufacturing (New Materials, Electronics, Robotics, Cleantech, Agrotech, SeaTech) will be covered. The projects selected by Portugal Ventures will benefit from an investment of up to 1 million euros.

Metro Accelerator For Hospitality Powered By Techstars

METRO Accelerator is an intensive program that involves consulting, joint learning, product testing and mentoring for business development and attracting more investment. It allows the access of selected startups to more than 500 restaurants and hotels, to test and validate their products or services, as well as establish contacts with several international investors of the Techstars network - one of the largest worldwide accelerators - focused on the use of technology in the hospitality sector (accommodation & catering). The attraction of this program to Portugal will contribute to the internationalization of the national entrepreneurship ecosystem, as well as to the development and acceleration of innovative business projects in the tourism area.

Company Space For Startups – Fast Track To Land In Portugal

Creation of two points of service for foreign entrepreneurs with bilingual service (Portuguese and English), and a specific package of information in several languages for startups that wish to be installed in Portugal. This space will act as a centralized and integrated information point for national and international entrepreneurs who wish to perform services and obtain information inherent in the creation and development of their activity, including all types of support available to the national entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Tech Visa –Talent Attraction To Portugal

Program aimed at innovative and technological companies that are part of the global market and who wish to attract new highly qualified and specialized staff to Portugal from countries not included in the Schengen Area. The analysis of the eligibility and merit of the candidate companies will be the responsibility of IAPMEI. Tech Visa will accelerate and facilitate the entry of highly qualified staff in the Portuguese labor market.


Digital Hackathons In Commerce, Tourism And Industry

Promote the development of thematic Hackathons to accelerate the digital transformation in the sectors of Commerce, Tourism and Industry. It is intended that startups solve concrete technological challenges identified in these sectors, thus increasing their visibility and recognition. In the specific case of commerce this initiative will respond to the challenges related to the emergence of new technologies and new habits of consumption. It is a program addressed to both Portuguese and foreign startups, thereby contributing to the internationalisation of the sectors concerned.


Center For Innovation In Tourism With A Digital Academy And An Incubator Specialized In The Sector

Creation of a dynamic center for tourism innovation, involving the various national and international stakeholders in the sector. Its mission is to promote innovation in the tourism sector, supporting the development of new business ideas, the development and experimentation of projects and the capacity building of companies in the field of innovation and the digital economy. Within the Innovation Center, the Digital Tourism Academy - a business training program for digital - and an incubator of companies specialized in the development of innovative solutions for the Tourism sector, will also contribute to attract international startups.


Think Tank For European Digital Single Market Support

Creation of a think tank to analyse and design measures to help startups to scale up within the European market, significantly accelerating the creation of the Digital Single Market (DSM) and affirm Portugal’s role in leading an innovative policy for digital entrepreneurship in Europe. The Startup Portugal association will be responsible for moderating and promoting dialogue with key partners in Brussels and in EU Member States, in particular with the main European startups associations. This group will propose new measures to facilitate the internationalisation of startups within Europe, to modernize industry (Industry 4.0) and to promote more and better access to a single market of more than 500 million people.



IncoDe2030 is an integrated public policy action aimed at stimulating and ensuring the development of skills as tools to support the preparation of the new generations for the "unknown", increasingly investing in new knowledge and in the capacity to create new jobs - more qualified and with better remuneration - encouraging the entrepreneurial capacity of young people. In this scope some measures have been put in place under the qualification axis.


Academia I4.0

To promote a network of i4.0 academies in companies that develop plans to improve the qualification of their staff in response to the challenges of the 4th industrial revolution, in the fields of know-how, reducing set-up times. At the beginning of a new function and increasing the efficiency of the person and the company as well as the quality of the product or service.

Learning Factories

Encourage and enable the development of Learning Factories in i4.0 academies as demonstrators of innovative technologies, processes, operations and methodologies.

Hiring Researchers In I4.0 Critical Areas

Boost the recruitment of researchers in critical areas i4.0 to ensure technical and scientific excellence in i4.0 academies.

Inter-Entreprise Actions In I4.0

Encourage inter-company actions promoted by entities of the business environment and qualification centers with proven experience in providing individual and collective training services for people, which contribute to the development of digital skills.

Tools For Assessing The Maturity Of Companies Against The Challenges Of Industry 4.0

Create and test tools for evaluating the maturity of companies in the face of the challenges of the industry 4.0.

Plans Of Action And Reference Contents In I4.0

Propose the creation of action plans and reference contents available in a universal and freeway, via e-learning, to boost self-training and qualify the demand for services, in line with the evaluation and diagnostic tools.

Network Of Qualified Trainers On I4.0 Subjects

Encourage the creation of a network of qualified trainers in themes i4.0, ensuring the qualification of academies i4.0 to meet the challenges of the market with technical excellence.


Partnerships I4.0

Encourage the alignment of themes i4.0 in R & TD partnerships


Other measures in the scope of capital access

Empreende JÁ Programme

The aim of this program is to stimulate an entrepreneurial culture centered on creativity and innovation, by supporting the creation and development of enterprises and social economy entities, and to promote the creation of jobs for and by young people. It is intended for young people aged between 18 and 29 who do not work, are not studying and are not in training (so-called NEETs).


Portugal Social Innovation

Portugal Social Innovation is a national public initiative that aims to contribute to the promotion of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives (IIES) in Portugal, as well as the creation of investment practices that bring new actors (public and private) and a greater scale to financing of social innovation, stimulating impact philanthropy. To make this possible, Portugal Inovação Social manages four financing instruments that accompany the life cycle of the IIES and complement each other: Capacity Building for Social Investment, Impact Partnerships, Social Impact Titles and Innovation Fund Social. This is the first program in a Member State to use the European Structural and Investment Funds to boost social innovation. It is responsible for the mobilization of approximately EUR 150 million by 2020. In addition, Portugal Inovação Social also intends to be a catalyst for the sector and partner entities that train, finance and accompany IIES, helping them achieve greater scale and impact.


Gov Tech

GovTech is a Government initiative that aims to reward and support innovative products and services created by startups that fit the solution of one of the 17 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It supports the creation of functional prototypes of products and services that fit the public sector or the private sector with an associated business model. The prizes for each of the 3 winners are: € 30,000; Protocol of collaboration with the State to develop and test the product or service; Space in a national incubator; Support for internationalization; Access to the Alpha package for Websummit, consisting of 3 tickets and the possibility of exposing the product or service during a day at the event.


Other measures aiming at supporting young entrepreneurship

Terceira Tech Island

An initiative of the Regional Government of Azores that aims to transform Terceira Island into a center of technology companies. The Regional Government is highly committed to creating the conditions to attract IT companies to Terceira Island either by providing infrastructure, supporting the training and recruitment of qualified human resources and offering financial incentives for investment.

Biocant Park

Free office facilities, as well as other infrastructures related to business activities, located in a privileged location, overlooking the sea and plenty of green spaces. Free rooms for senior programmers, located inside a private condominium adjacent to the office area. Intensive Training in JAVA / JAVA SCRIPT fully subsidized, in association with the training entity ACADEMIA DE CÓDIGO. The goal is to train 300 highly skilled workers in a short space of time.


Gulbenkian Hack For Good

Hack for Good is a 2 days non-stop development marathon organized by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to foster the development of technological solutions to social challenges. Programmers, designers and entrepreneurs work together to develop apps, websites, platforms or even prototypes that translate into true innovative and scalable solutions for real problems, in an event that also wishes to strengthen the connection between the technological sector (and its professionals) and the social sector. Gulbenkian Foundation believes that technology is a potentiator of innovative solutions to the main social worldwide and nationwide problems. Due to the big diversity of these problems, a new topic is explored in each edition. The 2 last editions generated more than 600 registrations, translated into 308 participants and 69 projects.


Ies - Social Business School

IES-Social Business School is the first business school focused on Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. It is the starting point for a path dedicated to Social Innovation in the creation of sustainable business solutions, offering a portfolio of training, research and consulting. It relies on excellence and a strong network of partners to inspire, train, support and connect organisations and people from all sectors of a converging economy.


Lisbon Challenge

Lisbon Challenge is the acceleration program focused on the people behind the startup, designed to hone skills and prepare them to face the challenges ahead.


Startup Braga Acceleration Program

This program was created to help entrepreneurs establish and define business models, create stronger products, create new customers and grow their business, together with a network of partners and mentors.

Dream Assembly

Dream Assembly is a fashion and retail tech accelerator that offers the world’s most promising startups with a program of education, mentorship, networking opportunities, early-stage funding, and access to investors. Dream Assembly will provide a cohort of the world’s most promising startups with a program of mentorship, networking opportunities and access to early-stage funding.


Techstars Lisboa

Techstars Lisbon in partnership with Semapa Next will invest in startups that are bringing Digital Transformation to the following key areas: Industrial & Environmental Tech, Smart Transportation, Travel & Leisure Tech.

Bright Pixel

We're a group of experienced builders, creative thinkers and investors, whose goal is to transform two key things: the way companies address innovation and how new ventures are put together.


Lisbon Entrepreneurship Week

The creation of an entrepreneurial culture and spirit shared between all actors and partners of the city of Lisbon is fundamental for the promotion of a dynamic and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Lisbon City Council organizes, since 2012, the Lisbon’s Entrepreneurship Week. The municipality challenges all partners who share this ambition to transform Lisbon in an entrepreneurial city to present and organize an event / initiative to be held on this week. After the success of the first edition, new editions of this initiative were organized annually, demonstrating unequivocally the strong will of the City Council and of all partners to celebrate entrepreneurship in Lisbon. During the LEW 2013 the “Lisbon’s Entrepreneurship Manifesto” was produced with the contribution of all of those who are part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which defines a set of measures to promote entrepreneurship in Lisbon. In these 5 editions of Lisbon’s Entrepreneurship Week more than 120 events were undertaken, with the presence and contributions of over 140 partners.


Porto Start & Scale Week

A week dedicated to promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and technology based in the city of Porto. With initiatives aimed at the most diverse public, and which promise to strengthen the role of the city of Oporto as a reference for the ScaleUp movement on a national and international scale.


Internationalization Support Missions

Support for the participation of Portuguese startups in major international technology events and in official visits abroad with members of the Government. It aims to promote the visibility of national startups and also of Portugal as an innovative country. Upcoming missions/events 2018 Germany, Brazil, United Kingdom, TechCrunch (Sept.), SLUSH - Helsinki (Dec.), TechCrunch - Berlin.