In the framework of Innova-FI, the National Innovation Agency (ANI), organized the second interregional learning event which took place in Lisbon, Portugal. Designed along four days, the event focused the state-of-play of Financial Instruments (FIs) targeting highly-innovative enterprises put in place in Portugal.

On the first day, the project’s partners coming from Belgium, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Spain were welcome by Mrs Mafalda Dourado (International Promotion Director at ANI / National NCP Coordinator), and visited the Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) - public Institute, aimed at supporting micro, small and medium enterprises.

To explain the set of instruments developed to enhance the capacity of companies regarding innovation and competitiveness to the entourage were present Mrs Vanda Narciso (Head of Department for Collective Efficiency, Innovation and Competitiveness) and Mrs Sandra Alvim (Head of Department for Entrepreneurship and Finance).  

The second day of the exchange of experience (13 February) started with a keynote speech of Mr Antonio Bob Santos (Managing Director of ANI) and the Learning Workshop ‘Review of measures for Financial Instruments’ where the Slovenian stakeholders, i. e. Ministry of economic development and technology made an overview of FIs in the previous and current financial perspective, their internationalisation aspect and the role of Business Angels of Slovenia in drawing new FIs (with an emphasis on cooperation with the Slovene Enterprise Fund). 

The project’s partners and their stakeholders then moved to Banco de Portugal, the central bank of the Portuguese Republic. The idea behind this visit was to comprehend the spectrum of available instruments preferentially leveraged by private co-financing so that “viable” SME may increase their equity capital and finance their investments (while developing their activity in industries concerning tradable goods or services) in the start-up stage.

The afternoon focused on the beta version of the mapping tool ‘Financing Innovation' and on the Learning Workshop II, which comprised hands-on case studies as a way to impart valuable knowledge on the design of financial instruments in other regions.

Other study visits took place on the 14 February: ANI used an interactive approach and organised different types of study visits to facilitate and stimulate the exchange of new considerations and ideas on public financial resources. 

  • The day started with a field trip to StartupLisboa, a private non-profit association that supports the creation of companies and their first years of activity. It provides entrepreneurs with office space, as well as, a support structure (mentoring, strategic partnerships and perks - such as access to investment, networking activities and a community based on knowledge and sharing). 

  • Next on the agenda was Portugal Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in seed rounds of Portuguese startups in tech, life sciences and tourism. Their investment (tickets from 100K€ up to1,250K€) is always in equity, with a counterparty holding a minority position in the company. In 2017, CB Insights considered Portugal Ventures the most active venture capital in Portugal. 
  • To finalise the day, the partnership gathered at the Commission for the Coordination of Regional Development Lisbon & Tagus Valley to learn more about the equity type instruments under Compete 2020 (Portuguese Competitiveness and Internationalisation Operational Programme) and the Portuguese case study on ‘Social EFSI and Innovative ESF Financing Instruments’

The exchange of experience was concluded on the 15 February with the steering committee, chaired by Alexandre Almeida, lead partner of the project. After the greetings, the partners discussed the state of play of the activities. A specific focus of the committee was to discuss the state of affairs of the Progress Report for the first semester.

 *[Animated Lisbon Photo by Amanda Lima on Amanda Lima Art]