Developing your company in Portugal? It’s time

The last and only major economic mission organized in Portugal dates back to 2010, the Grand Duke had traveled there for a state visit, and an official (ministerial) mission had accompanied him. Since then, regular official visits have taken place between the ministers of both countries. In addition to strengthening financial exchanges, Luxembourg and Portugal have now agreed to integrate the development of their bilateral start-up ecosystems. During Prime Minister Costa’s visit to Luxembourg in 2017, two memorandums of understanding were signed. Another memorandum of understanding was signed in the space sector and another in the research sector.

The next official mission to be organized from 10 to 13 May is a government initiative, accompanied by an economic mission organized by the Chamber of Commerce. The program has already been set up and the Chamber of Commerce has sent more than 5,000 emails to Luxembourg companies informing them about the program and the opportunity to create business opportunities during this mission. “The Chamber of Commerce is the contact person with the private sector on the Luxembourg side, and the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (AICEP) takes care of the Portuguese side, within the framework of this economic mission,” explains Cindy Tereba , Director of International Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce. “We focused on companies in the ICT, tourism, aerospace, sustainable construction and finance sectors, which have common interests with the business opportunities and ecosystems currently developing in Portugal. We expect between 50 and 80 companies to form an economic delegation on site. Luxembourg For Finance, Startup Luxembourg and Luxinnovation will also support them.”

As a teaser, the Chamber of Commerce will host a webinar next Wednesday at 4 pm to praise the achievements of Portugal’s emerging sectors in the above-mentioned areas, with Antonio Gamito (Portuguese Ambassador to Luxembourg) and Conrad Bruch (Ambassador of Luxembourg to Portugal) to speak. To make things concrete, the Losch Group will testify to its successful development in Portugal through the manager of Losch Digital Lab, an automotive research and development agency based in Porto, whose visit is also on the program of the economic mission on 10 May. The floor is left to the participants in the form of a chat, whose questions are asked by the live moderator. Hundreds of companies have already registered.

Go to Portugal: useful contacts

The Portuguese community (about 150,000 people) based in Luxembourg and in the border area already contributes to the economy of the country and naturally stimulates the emergence of commercial exchanges or services with Portugal. Whether conquering new markets, investing, exporting products, finding a local partner or investor, any entrepreneur or company that chooses to develop in Portugal can benefit from Luxembourg support. The first contact person is the International Affairs department of the Chamber of Commerce, which has a specialist for each market area. A program called “Go International” allows them to take care of them, with a funnel panel of services depending on the nature of their activity and their purpose. In 2021, economic missions were organized in China, Poland, Romania-Moldova, the United Arab Emirates and Japan. Luxembourg will also be present at the World Exhibition in Dubai until 31 March under the national flag.

There are no standard steps, because the support is completely customised. “We already have established companies approaching us, simply looking to deepen a contact, and others who need to completely overhaul the basics. First we meet, then we identify targets (partners, distributors, location of a subsidiary on site, etc.), then we make logical connections to the identified networks.”

The Chamber of Commerce encourages interested companies to follow the economic missions abroad, as this makes it possible to “feel the business” and build direct business-to-business relationships. In addition, the Go International program offers regular and free companies registered with the Chamber of Commerce the opportunity to participate in economic missions to foreign markets, to organize pre-organized tailor-made business meetings, to collaborate with local partners, to to participate in trade fairs under the national flag (such as recently Mipim for real estate professionals), or to take guided tours, as well as to welcome foreign delegations to Luxembourg.

Another possible interlocutor: the Investment and Foreign Trade Agency of Portugal (AICEP). Any Luxembourg company or entrepreneur wishing to invest in Portugal, in particular when structuring investment projects, can count on AICEP’s support at all stages of the investment process. “AICEP is in a privileged position to establish contacts with companies, business associations and other Portuguese economic agents in the public and private sectors, and to provide all the information necessary to do business in Portugal, not just from an investment perspective. or purchasing perspective, but also from the point of view of commercial cooperation with Portuguese entities”, explains Rui Paulo Almas, AICEP Director at the Portuguese Embassy in Belgium (Benelux market).

The Chamber of Commerce and AICEP work together. In both cases, the aim is to connect Luxembourgish and foreign business, promote exchanges and boost bilateral relations.

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