The Ignition Programme, an initiative led by Portugal Ventures, aims to strengthen the Portuguese technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem and thus foster the development of a modern, more competitive economy open to the world, based on knowledge, innovation and highly qualified human capital, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
The Call For Entrepreneurship is the access point to the Ignition Programme for Founders of innovative scientific and technology-based entrepreneurial projects.
Once submitted to the Call For Entrepreneurship, projects are subject to an initial screening by Portugal Ventures, followed by an evaluation by a multidisciplinary panel of experts and, finally, a pitch presentation to Portugal Ventures' Board of Directors. After that, Portugal Ventures will make its investment decisions and present investment term sheets to the selected projects.
Up to now the Call For Entrepreneurship had more than 3,400 registrations, resulting in the submition of more than 1,100 deals for assessment by Portugal Ventures.
Portugal Ventures is looking for tech-based projects with the following characteristics:
- Product-oriented (tradable good & services);
- Based on internationally referenced R&D;
- Innovative and differentiated;
- Appropriable Technology;
- Positioned in global value chains;
- Significant global market potential;
- Implementable with available resources;
- An initiative by the Founders.
Please bear in mind that our Ignition Partners are available to guide you in this process.
In the Tourism Sector, Portugal Ventures focuses its investment in technology-based projects aimed to Tourism, and tourism animation projects, as well as other projects which complement the already existing tourism offer.
The purpose of the Call For Entrepreneurship is not to finance research as such, but rather entrepreneurial projects which:
a. Offer new global solutions for existing problems; and which
b. Have a clear marketing strategy for the new solution or, at least, a willingness to develop it.
In other words, if you have a solution for a global target market, based on a technology you have developed or; which you helped develop; or which you licensed from a third-party, then you are welcome to submit your project.
If the technology in question has already resulted in the creation of a company, then that company will be eligible for the Call For Entrepreneurship if:
a. It is considered an SME, in accordance with IAPMEI Certification;
b. Its registered office is in Portugal;
c. It has settled all payments owing to the Ministry of Finance and Social Security and if there are no payments outstanding to IAPMEI;
d. There are no constraints which limit the global economic potential for marketing the project's technology.
The Call For Entrepreneurship differs from those other initiatives in that it is neither a competition for ideas/projects nor an academic exercise or a training session, nor does it intend to give out any awards or grants but rather the chance to obtain venture capital investment if Portugal Ventures considers the project worthwhile.
- Pre-Seed stage projects: should have a working prototype completed that allows us to validate the practical application of the technology and/or business idea, and should have potential customers with a confirmed interest, even if the company has not yet made any sales, or
- Seed stage projects: should have some customers using its products, and be seeking funding to expand operations, or
- Venture stage projects (Start-up and Growth): should have an established product range and client base and be seeking incremental capital to expand into new geographies or product ranges.
The business idea should already be sufficiently structured as a project (including a detailed roadmap for the project with milestones to be achieved in order that each tranche will only be put into the company if the respective milestones are achieved, as well as minimum evidence that supports the business opportunity evaluation), as this information, together with a pitch from the Founders, will be the basis for the assessment process carried out by the panels of experts and for the investment decision made by Portugal Ventures.
In order to validate the project's potential, assessment panels will be formed and will be made up by both national and international experts from the four target industry sectors (Digital, Life Sciences, Engineering & manufacturing and Tourism). These assessment panels will support Portugal Ventures during the evaluation process and will use international benchmarks and state-of-the-art technology references from the respective international industry sectors.
Based on the information given on the Application Form about the project and the assessment/recommendations from the respective assessment panel, Portugal Ventures will invite selected projects for a second presentation to its Board of Directors in order to evaluate the extent to which each project proves to be an investment opportunity, within the investment vehicles it manages. Projects selected by Portugal Ventures will receive a term sheet.
The investment amount from Portugal Ventures will be set case-by-case.
The investment made by Portugal Ventures will be channelled to fund the project until it is ready to market the product and starts to scale, which typically occurs up to 24 months after the initial investment.
The release of funds by Portugal Ventures will be done progressively in accordance with the achievement of milestones defined at the time of the initial investment.
Projects that benefit from Portugal Ventures' equity financing will also benefit from:
1. Mentoring by international seasoned experts, with accumulated experience and relevant contact networks suitable to the needs of each project;
2. An incubation period in an international hub of reference in order to expedite the international validation of the project and build a network of international contacts.
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This evaluation process allows Portugal Ventures to obtain a qualified opinion on the project from national and international experts.
This process has two stages:
- First, the Founders will pitch their ideas to the assessment panel in a session which will be followed by Q&A. In this way the assessment panel will have the opportunity to interact with the Founders, so as to better form an opinion about the team and the project;
- Secondly, and based on: (i) the information sent in the Application Form; (ii) the pitch made by the Founders and (iii) the subsequent discussion, the assessment panel will formulate a qualitative evaluation of each project, taking into account the requirements set forth in the Rules and Regulations; identify the main risks the project presents and suggest measures to mitigate said risks: and will also formulate an assessment of the merit of the underlying investment opportunity.
Portugal Ventures strives to have on its assessment panels renowned experts in the technical fields of expertise and industries where the projects plan to insert themselves. On Portugal Ventures' website, you will find information on several of the experts that have helped us in the previous editions of the Call For Entrepreneurship.