One of the world’s top technology conferences, Web Summit, will return to Lisbon this November. Last year the entire event took place online, but earlier this month organisers were given the green light to have the event take place in person and over 40,000 people are expected to attend across the four days.
Web Summit has been running since 2009 and first came to Lisbon in 2016. After two years of taking place in Lisbon, it was decided the Portuguese capital would host the event annually until 2028.
Web Summit has been highly beneficial to the city and has helped bring Portuguese tech companies to a global stage. The last time it was held physically in Lisbon in 2019, over 300 million euros in revenue for the city thanks to the 100,000 visitors that came for the conference.
Among this year's speakers is comedian and actress Amy Poehler. Amy will be speaking about the community she has built up through her organisation and YouTube channel, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Her organisation aims to help women through life’s problems by sharing insights and past experiences from women, in a light and comedic manner.
Other speakers include Prime Minister António Costa, Microsoft president Brad Smith, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and footballer Gerard Pique. Leaders from online companies such as Reddit, Amazon and Tinder are also in the line-up of speakers. As well as over 1000 speakers, more than 1500 journalists and 700 investors are also expected to attend.
The return of Web Summit this year as an in person event is an important step forward after over a year of restrictions. Safety measures will still be put in place, although the exact nature of these has not yet been decided.
Lisbon being selected as the host city of important tech conferences, including Web Summit, shows how important the city is, and will remain, in terms of business and technology. Over half of graduates between 20-30 years of age in Lisbon are STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates, largely thanks to the fantastic science and technology education faculties in and around the city.
Beyond just the capital, there are over forty courses with a focus on technology across the country's top universities and the number of graduates coming from such universities is increasing. Portugal also boasts the second highest rate of engineering graduates in Europe.
The large amount of tech and engineering talent in Portugal’s large cities continues to attract a large number of foreign companies, which has, in turn, led to a development and diversification of talent in the country.
The number of startups in Lisbon, particularly those in the technology sector, continues to grow. As we have already touched on, there is a large amount of tech talent in the city. Salaries in Portugal are lower than in similar European cities making such talent far more affordable for startups.
There is an ever increasing number of startup and entrepreneurial communities across Portugal but particularly in Lisbon, with a large importance placed on networking and events like Web Summit. The Portuguese government has put into place several measures and schemes to help support startups and entrepreneurs across the country.
Not only are there a large number of STEM graduates, but English is very widely spoken in Portugal, making it far easier for international companies and foreign investors to undertake business in Portugal and aiding in communication with international companies.
Thanks to the great climate, vibrant culture, and fiscal benefits for new tax residents, Portugal is attracting more and more talented online workers, or digital nomads, to the country. This increase in remote workers has diversified the talent across the country, and many remote workers who spend long periods of time in the country chose to become residents in Portugal.
Lisbon has several co-working spaces specifically designed for those working remotely. Many digital nomads have skills in areas that Portugal as a country is slightly behind in, primarily in online marketing and sales, and often have a good deal of experience helping online businesses.
Lisbon not only has a fantastic talent pool and an array of opportunities but also scores highly in terms of quality of life. The city has a high safety rating, rich culture, and large international community, all whilst remaining reasonably affordable compared to similar European cities.
Together, all these reasons have made Lisbon particularly attractive for new businesses and investors and why interest in Lisbon, especially in its startup and tech scene, will continue to grow.