• Hypermotion

Cities of Innovation: Lisbon

Additional information

Local, national and international transport links

Lisbon Portela Airport is one of the largest in southern Europe.

University links and access to talent

Lisbon University is the largest university in Portugal and Lisbon is ranked 50th in the QS Best Student Cities Ranking.

Costs and availability of workspace

Co-working spaces include:

Impact Hub Lisbon
Cowork Central Lisbon

City support for start-ups and SMEs

Made of Lisboa links together Lisbon’s entrepreneurs and relevant events. It also provides cases, tips and quotes from successful entrepreneurs in Lisbon.


Startup Lisboa is an association helping startups to set-up in Lisbon.


Its tool Casa Startup Lisboa helps entrepreneurs find housing. It also provides a Startup visa and other support.

Financial support and access to investors & accelerators

IAPMEI – Funding for SMEs

Credit Line Capitalizar

Raize (only available in Portuguese)

European Investment Project Portal – raising capital for projects based in the EU


Support services:
APBA – Portuguese association for business angels
FNABA – National Federation of Business Angels



Energia de Portugal
Lisbon challenge
Building Global Innovators

Founder Institute

How to set up a business: a quickfire guide

What are my options?

Limited company

Companies in Portugal can be incorporated as private limited liability companies (sociedade por quotas) or public limited liability companies (sociedade anónima). The first type of company can be incorporated with no minimum share capital and with no minimum number of shareholders, meaning that you can set up a private limited liability company with a share capital of just one euro and with one or more shareholders. The second type has to be incorporated with a minimum share capital of €50,000 and with at least five shareholders. In both cases, incorporation costs are below €500 and it is possible to incorporate a company in a single day.



Many entrepreneurs choose to develop their business as freelancers or independent workers. But with tax rates on personal income that vary between 14.5% (for income under €7,091) and 48% (for income above €80,640) and higher social security costs, most of them are moving to incorporate private limited liability companies. For foreign entrepreneurs, however, working in Portugal as a freelancer is still an interesting option because of the non-habitual resident regime, under which they may be taxed at a flat rate of 20% if they are performing high added-value activities (such as architects, engineers, auditors and tax consultants, the medical profession, university teachers, top managers and other professionals in areas such as IT, scientific research and design).


A non-habitual resident is an individual who has become resident for tax purposes in Portugal for the first time in the last five years. After becoming resident and registering as such with the tax authorities, the individual must register as a non-habitual resident to be able to benefit from this regime. The benefits arising from the this status are valid for a ten-year period and depend on the individual remaining as resident in Portugal for tax purposes.


Non-habitual residents benefit from a more favourable tax treatment regarding both income from Portuguese sources and income from foreign sources. As to the income from Portuguese sources arising from employment and self-employment in high- value added activities, this is subject to a special tax rate of 20%. As to the income from foreign sources arising from employment and pensions, it is, in most cases, exempted from taxes in Portugal. This exemption also includes income arising from self-employment in high value-added activities, and from intellectual and industrial property, and capital and real estate gains.

What do I need to set up a company?

Foreign entrepreneurs face no relevant restrictions on working and investing in Portugal. To incorporate or invest in a company, a foreign citizen needs only to obtain a Portuguese taxpayer number, which can be done in a single day (non-EU residents must appoint a tax representative in Portugal). Obtaining a visa for incorporating or investing in a company is also not a difficult procedure and special schemes such as the Golden Visa, the Startup Visa and the Startup Tech Visa have been put in place with great success to attract and make it easier for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to come to Portugal.

Tax rates

The general tax rate on the income of companies is 21%. For small and medium-sized enterprises the first €15,000 of taxable income is subject to a lower tax rate of 17%.

Legal contact