Portugal at the top: from “startups” to unicorns | opinion

Just a year ago, before the first restriction, the National Action Plan for the Digital Transition was presented, with the aim of making digital the engine of acceleration and economic change in our country without leaving anyone – and no region – behind.

The aim is to position Portugal as a digital nation through the digital empowerment and inclusion of citizens, the digital transformation of the business structure and the digitalization of the state.

Portugal is now using the Presidency of the Council of the EU to usher in a new cycle of European entrepreneurship and to re-position Europe as a true startup continent.

The start-up ecosystem plays a doubly differentiating and relevant role: in the economic recovery in response to the pandemic and the economic crisis and in the structural transition to a more competitive economic model.

In the context of Digital Day, a historic consensus was adopted among Member States on different areas of the digital transition. Portugal has strengthened its role at the forefront of this mission by creating the Europe Startup Nations Alliance – European Alliance of Nations for Entrepreneurship, which is part of a permanent European structure for the field of entrepreneurship, based in our country and with the support of the European Commission .

We believe that this structure will serve as a catalyst and a call to mobilize all Member States for the purpose of digitization. The aim is to be the main source of information and the great promoter of the European ecosystem for entrepreneurship, attracting investment, talent and start-ups from Lisbon.

The European Union has a unique identity and that should be its greatest strength: a strong ethical commitment that manifests itself in a non-negotiable respect for individual rights and democratic values ​​in an area as sensitive as the digital.

No other region has set the bar so high. At a time when we are all aware of the challenges of informing and protecting our data, Europe is setting a global standard for transparency and credibility that fosters trust in citizens and consumers. This rigor can – and should – be the differentiating factor and the attraction of new investments and see itself as our brand image in relations with other countries and regions.

The so-called European way of doing business, especially when translated into the digital context, allows us to see Europe as a reliable partner.

However, challenges still remain. From fragmentation and regulatory heterogeneity between member states to Europe’s difficulties in keeping its own startups that insist on moving to other regions in exchange for larger investments.

We have grown, made a name for ourselves and counted on our talent. But we want more and we are opening this new chapter in European entrepreneurship. And so Portugal will reach the level of a unicorn

The work that Portugal has to do will certainly be to harmonize and implement these standards in all Member States. We therefore need a coordinated European policy that enables national agendas to converge.

The acceleration of the digital transition and the international confirmation of Portugal as the digital market leader require even greater ambitions. We have come a long way and are already internationally recognized as a startup nation that is taking big strides to become a solid digital nation.

As a startup: We have grown, made a name for ourselves and counted on our talent. But we want more and we are opening this new chapter in European entrepreneurship. And so Portugal will reach the level of a unicorn.

The author writes according to the new orthographic convention

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