Empowered Startups has programming in Canada, the USA, France, Portugal and in Asia. The HQA residency visa business incubation program is the flagship offering of Empowered Startups Portugal. Who participates in this particular program?
Experienced executives and senior professionals choose the Portugal HQA program. The program is designed for highly qualified international professionals looking to establish residency in the EU. Through the HQA program, they found their own university-linked venture in Portugal. HQA founders are from a variety of disciplines — C-suite executives, doctors, lawyers, crypto and fintech professionals, as well as entrepreneurs with multiple businesses. These are ambitious and accomplished people who want the security of residency in Portugal. LA Magazine recently reported that Portugal is the new California dream. A rapidly growing number of successful people see that establishing a base in Portugal is a smart move, both personally and professionally. These are savvy international professionals, so they want their path to residency to create valuable opportunities. They’re getting what they want by founding a venture in the HQA program.
What does Empowered Startups do for these highly qualified professionals?
The HQA program supports international professionals in launching a venture that leverages their expertise. We pair participant/founders with university-driven startup ecosystems and build them a base of operations that connects to their activities abroad. It’s a simple concept, and the impact is tremendous. We deeply value our relationships with the rectories and presidencies of universities and politechnics in Portugal, and the government entities driving Portugal’s economic development. The work being done in Portugal’s regional ecosystems is not only world-class, it’s inspiring — the ecosystems in development are models for how the world could function. Launching a venture in Portugal is the perfect testbed from which to then scale to the EU, to South America, to Africa, to Asia… Start in Portugal and the world is your oyster.
Why are people choosing the HQA program?
Accomplished professionals choose the HQA because it’s a smooth path to a future in the EU. The EU Commission has made strong statements specifically against so-called Golden Visa programs. Frankly, every one of our HQA founders considered Golden Visa offerings as a path to residency. Each one chose the HQA because they felt it clearly has a stronger value proposition. They’re smart people, so they recognized how the HQA benefits them and benefits Portugal, meaning it’s an astute choice. The personal reasons for choosing the HQA vary, of course. Some people value that they can easily expand their existing business into the EU through Portugal. Some value the connections to senior people of influence in Portugal. Some value the speed of processing — as reported in industry publications, HQA applications are prioritized, so people can expect to be legal residents in a few months. All of the HQA founders value that the program itself builds value for everyone involved — the founder, the university researchers and students, the other local startups, the non-metropolitan regional ecosystems where these ventures are launched, and the people of Portugal writ large. The HQA is just such a good news story — it’s a win for everyone.
Why is the HQA growing so fast? It has been reported that HQA application rates have more than doubled for two years’ running, especially from Americans.
The short answer is timing. HQA legislation has been around for years. Now Portuguese public bodies are using HQA legislation to specifically attract the people that Portugal knows it needs — highly qualified professionals with strong international connections. The world’s experienced executive-level talent are hearing the call, they see the HQA program provides a smooth path, and they’re coming.
Through partnerships with key people and world-class research facilities, Empowered Startups accelerates and incubates innovative international business ideas, working with professionals and entrepreneurs committed to creating outstanding startups with strong growth potential. For the company, the startup ecosystem in Portugal is a market with extreme potential – the climate is favorable for business and the professionals, holders of knowledge, guarantee their commitment to success. As a gateway to continental Europe, with strong ties to Asia, Africa and South America, Portugal assumes itself as the ideal and intelligent launching pad for companies with potential for international expansion.