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Azores: a Blue Ocean of Opportunities for Startups

Why the Azores? In this blog post we give you 5 reasons to consider the Azores as the next destination on your entrepreneurial journey.

The identity of the Azores goes beyond the natural beauty and romanticism of the islands. After the 2nd Bootcamp of the Azores Accel acceleration and training program, which took place from September 27th to 29th at the Portuguese Industrial Association, we would like to reflect a little more on the opportunities of this archipelago and reaffirm it as an attractive place for the business creation and development - a true blue ocean of opportunities for startups. Furthermore, with the start of another edition of the Web Summit in Lisbon, it’s important to emphasize the relevance of new innovation ecosystems in Portugal.

As we have been communicating through our social media, TERINOV, BGI and the Government of the Azores have been promoting the Azores Accel program, located in the Science and Technology Park of Ilha Terceira. Through this program, we have given a new impulse to business development in the Azores and to the attraction of disruptive innovations and technologies capable of valuing the region's endogenous resources.

As such, we have accelerated 6 disruptive teams over the past few months: BeeSage (Latvia), Plant on Demand (Spain), FHLUD (Portugal), myWater Technologies (Slovenia), Core Protein (Portugal) and Boticário dos Açores (Portugal). With the help of the program, these teams had the opportunity to explore new markets, access financing and new global clients.

The program culminated last week, at the end of Azores Accel's 2nd Bootcamp. The winning project, chosen by the TERINOV team, was Plant on Demand. This startup will benefit from regional tax benefits to be implemented on Terceira Island. More precisely, the team will have the opportunity to be incubated for 12 months at TERINOV, as a co-work.

With the end of the program, and the beginning of a new journey for Plant on Demand, we want to leave a mark that matters for the future: the importance of the country's integrality in promoting innovation. Lisbon has become a major hub of innovation and technology in recent years, with the multiplication of entrepreneurship centers, innovation hubs and investor networks. The reception of the Web Summit also made the city emerge on the international scene. However, it’s necessary to expand horizons to position our country - and not just Lisbon - as an international reference. We believe that creating, integrating and enhancing new centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in Portugal can be the 1st step towards achieving this goal.

Therefore, we present you 5 reasons why startups should consider the Azores as the next destination on their entrepreneurial journey:

1. Geographic positioning

Azores’ location in the North Atlantic Ocean bridges Europe and the Americas and intersects maritime routes with the European, African and American continents. This creates competitive advantages as a hub for mobilization and creation of value associated with the sea.

2. Climate and diversity of natural and cultural resources

In addition to having a mild climate throughout the year, the Azores have the conditions of an excellent living lab to study subjects of scientific interest. These conditions lead to the installation of research centers and collaborative networks in the region.

3. Separate tax regime

As an autonomous region, the Azores have a distinct tax regime, with tax reductions and specific tax benefits. Furthermore, they have different incentives and autonomy in defining economic policies. Thanks to its insularity, the Azores are considered an outermost region, and therefore benefit from specific measures and national and community incentives.

4. Quality of life

Another outstanding reason is the stability, security and conditions that the region offers. The Azores are an accessible destination with a high quality of life: job security, political stability, individual freedom, environmental quality and low crime rate. In the pandemic context, the region was considered a “health and safety destination” due to the sanitary measures implemented, the reduced number of COVID-19 cases and the quality of the local health services.

5. Emerging Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

The entrepreneurial landscape of the Azores has also been emerging. The Azores are strong in transferring knowledge to the market, through collaboration between university departments and the industry. Furthermore, they have a strong know-how in the agrifood and maritime economy sectors.