Porto Attracting New Blood in Business, Tech, and Talent

Is Portugal's number-two city on the rise to rival the capital?

According to a Time Out survey based on 27 thousand responses, Porto is the ninth-best city in the world. Invest Porto reported that the survey focused on aspects such as food and drink, community projects, green spaces, and sustainability. Time Out’s editors who created the survey "wanted to discover cities that are not only thinking about now, but also about the future. Cities that are making life better for us and our grandchildren.” 

The author of the piece in Time Out, Ana Patrícia Silva, noted, “Porto has also started to give back public space to its citizens, with an effort to make it more pedestrian, more cycling infrastructure, expanded terraces, and new community gardens. We went to concerts in parks, bought books under the shade of trees, supported local businesses and discovered new ones.”

And it’s not just the locals who are taking notice of all that Porto has to offer, it’s the tech scene, new and scaling businesses, and digital nomads from all sectors. In the tech sector, the sixth-annual Porto Tech Hub Conference on November 18 and 19 of this year will take place online but it will be attended by representatives of technological giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix. Vice president of Porto Tech Hub, Samuel Santos, said, "The main objective for this edition is to focus at 100% on the most relevant themes for IT professionals linked to software development.”

Although Porto may not be as popular as Lisbon is among digital nomads, it’s growing in popularity. There are plenty of great laptop-friendly cafes and co-working spaces that offer a cozy place to work remotely as well as a variety of networking opportunities, like the IPBN’s first-ever Porto Conference on December 2. Groups like the IPBN can help foster important connections with other local business people and digital nomads alike who are living and working in the region.

According to Digital Nomad World, “Because Porto is much smaller than Lisbon, it’s an excellent alternative for digital nomads who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of city life and prefer a more peaceful lifestyle [and] ideal if you are looking to keep your living costs low. Thanks to the city’s growing population, many people in Porto now speak English, and the locals welcome the boost to the economy that digital nomads bring. In 2021, Porto has developed an artsy, hipster vibe, and both design and tech startup companies are frequently popping up here.”

Back in 2019,  Porto City Council reported that “technological and industrial investment in the city of Porto have soared, with a rising number of investments by foreign venture capital or private equity firms and tech businesses that make more than 1,600 skilled jobs and several million euros pumped into urban rehabilitation.” This investment saw Porto achieve a GDP growth two times faster than the national average, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing in this post-COVID environment. Invest Porto announced that in the third quarter of 2020 alone, the office market recorded a total occupancy of 10,269 square meters— a 6% increase above the same period of 2019— thus managing to offset the deceleration that occurred during the COVID confinement season. 

Whether you are a business looking to scale to Portugal, a digital nomad, a tech start-up, or otherwise, it seems fair to say that Porto is an excellent city to begin looking at new opportunities and talent to help your business or project thrive. It seems the bridges the city is famous for can do more than move people over the water, they can move your business forward and beyond what you may envision is even possible. 


You can hear more from keynote speakers from Aicep Portugal Global about what makes the city of Porto a business destination, get an overview of the landscape from the Director of Investments and the Councillor of the City of Porto who is responsible for the economic development of the city, and find out why Global Shares, an Irish company, has chosen Porto as their home away from home at the IPBN's upcoming Porto Conference. Register today!

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