For close to 200 years, Portugal was a global superpower.
Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese explored the world, traded globally, and established territories on multiple continents including Asia, Africa, and South America.
Portugal ranked right up there with England, France, and Spain.
But more recently, the country has fallen into a prolonged economic downturn. Unemployment spiked to over 15% during its most recent recession. And even today, the country generates just $30,000 in GDP per capita — that’s less than half of what we generate in the U.S.
The thing is, I just got back from a trip to Portugal. And based on what I saw, it seems to be in the midst of a major turnaround…
And it’s all thanks to a small but burgeoning sector of its economy: Startups!
The Silicon Valley of Europe?
My fiancé and I started our trip in Lisbon, which is Portugal’s capital.
One thing we quickly noticed (beyond Lisbon’s amazing seafood) was the number of foreigners from the U.S., the U.K., Spain, France, and the list goes on and on.
But these folks weren’t tourists. They lived there almost year ’round.
After speaking with a few of them, I realized what was going on: the Portuguese government has been very successful in attracting tech startups and tech workers.
You see, tech isn’t just a sector of the economy nowadays. Today, it underpins almost every industry — from manufacturing and shipping to healthcare and finance.
Therefore, if you want to jumpstart your economy, one of the first places to focus is tech. Which is exactly what the Portuguese government is doing…
More Startups, More Jobs, More Money
The government recently launched two major initiatives:
Startup Portugal — A government agency to provide support and recommend public policy to increase the number of startups in Portugal. This agency makes it easier for foreigners to obtain visas to stay and work in the country.
200M — A government-backed fund that will match dollars from private investors when they invest in startups.
By increasing the number of tech workers in the country and supplying startups with capital, the government has dramatically accelerated the rate of entrepreneurship in the country.
In fact, there are a number of Portuguese startups already valued at over a billion dollars, including OutSystems, Talkdesk, and Farfetch.
Furthermore, it’s estimated that one of every two new jobs in Portugal is created by startups.
But job growth coming from startups isn’t just true in Portugal…
The True Impact of Startups
In the U.S., the majority of all new jobs comes from small businesses.
Closer to home in New York City, startups have been responsible for 24% of all new job growth since the pandemic first hit.
That’s tens of thousands of newly employed workers, all thanks to a vibrant startup ecosystem.
And this is one of the key reasons Matt and I are so passionate about investing in startups…
Better Than Profits?
Not only do we have the potential to earn returns that are far higher than we could expect in the stock market…
But our dollars go directly into the companies we’re investing in — as compared to the stock market, where you’re trading shares and dollars with other investors.
When you invest in a new business, your capital is going directly into creating new jobs and new opportunities.
So not only do you have the chance to do very well for yourself financially, but you can also do good for the overall economy.