Porto “The Undefeated City”

Image provided by Porto

The city of Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, and the ‘capital’ of the Northern region, which is the heart of industry in the country.

Porto is one of the major urban areas in Southern Europe and one of the most ancient European cities, having the historic center classified by UNESCO as World Heritage. The metropolitan area, with around 1.8 million inhabitants, is home for higher education institutions, hundreds of startups and scaleups, SMEs, R&D Centers, manufacturers and industry leaders.

In Porto, innovation meets tradition, and history paves the way to the future. The strong connection between academia and know-how, a strong entrepreneurial community, the collaboration between public and private stakeholders and the Municipality, make this a competitive city. Porto has become one of Western Europe’s most vibrant cities – and not only because of its success as a tourism destination, the thriving cultural scene, the sun and the unique ratio of quality versus cost of living that it has to offer.

With an interdisciplinary approach, the city is attracting talent, creating new career opportunities, developing solutions required by citizens, reducing social exclusion and increasing security. Porto is a facilitator for innovation. The city becomes a living lab, citizens challenge companies, entrepreneurs and researchers. All of them work together to solve real problems, with differentiated solutions, able to be replicated. Synergies and the reduction of fragmentation have been making the city a tech, innovative and creative entrepreneurial hub where the ultimate goal is to improve the citizens’ quality of life.


The regional economy is strongly based on traditional sector industries that are combined with a significant growth of knowledge-intensive activities. The northern is the country’s main exporting region.

The city of Porto is undergoing a huge touristic and investment growth and developing as an emerging hub for innovative and highly scalable companies.

Porto is the 3rd Best City to Invest in Southern Europe (fDi Intelligence 2014/15), the 3rd fastest growing tech hub in Europe (Atomico 2018) and the Best Start-up Friendly City of Europe (World Excellence Award 2018/ World Business Angels Investment Forum).

Porto region is a major center of R&D and innovation and hosts three of the most important Portuguese universities. The strong cooperation between this vibrant knowledge ecosystem and the traditional industry sector is a key enabler for a rapid growing sector of creative and technological industries.

By the end of 2019, there were more than 350 startups mapped in the region. These new tech-based companies show a 28% annual growth rate of turnover and have been generating job positions in a higher rate than traditional companies. The region is home to leading hightech companies with Portuguese DNA, such as BLIP, Farfetch, Critical Software and Veniam, and has been attracting international companies like Natixis, Adidas and Euronext.

Companies choose Porto due to its highly qualified talent, world-class innovation, state-of-the-art infrastructure and accessibility, strategic location, excellent quality of life, and cost competitiveness.

Future Projects and Goals

Porto has designed and embraced policy strategies focused on citizen’s centered sustainability, energy efficiency, R&D and economic growth.

Innovation is at the core of a broader municipal strategy, where the city works as a facilitator.

Porto keeps investing in improving connectivity and the digital infrastructure. One of the main digital policies is to provide the city with advanced communication equipment, a wide range of sensors and technologies for data collection and analysis, and thus creating the conditions for an informed (data based) decision and policy making. The city will keep expanding the telecommunications and IoT infrastructure (in particular, the optical fiber, Wi-Fi and environmental sensor networks), and developing the urban platform to consolidate and provide data.

Technology must be an enabler for innovation, and people must not be left behind. Porto will keep working in involving people in co-creation processes to develop citizen driven services with high impact. By engaging academia and research centers and by developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Porto also aims at supporting the development of technologies and powerful digital services, able to be replicated.

By networking this vision, Porto seeks at keep being part of the efforts for digital transformation in cities and communities, towards an inclusive digital Europe where the ultimate goal is to improve quality of life.