In this guest blog post, Vitor Pereira gives an insight into Portugal’s attitude to entrepreneurship, in the context of Smart Cities.
Registrations for Ovum’s Smart to Future Cities 2015 event are now open. After the great success of the 2014 event, the 4th Annual edition will take place at Waldorf Hilton on 28-29 April 2015, and offers complimentary attendance to city/government representatives.
Portugal, doesn’t like entrepreneurs?
Or, at least, it seemed that way until a few years ago. A crowd of Prophets of Doom bravely resisted the innovation, the boldness, the audacity and the risk of people who owe little or nothing to the country, but, who fell in love with it; with the Portuguese, the food, the landscape, the quality of life – only God knows what triggered so many passions among investors, foreign entrepreneurs and true leaders, which could have chosen large, “more developed” cities and countries, yet still fixed roots here, in this sunny rectangle, in the extreme south of the old continent.
I met one of these extraordinary entrepreneurs a little less than a year ago, at the Smart to Future Cities conference, which took place in London. Between the famous speakers, leaders of large global companies and even the Minister of Science and Technology of England, I heard, at some point, speak of Portugal. I hastened to check the program, but I did not see any connection nor identified a familiar name. I remain focused to the presentation and took some notes. And I was not the only one that was stuck to the theme. The entire room was following the words and explanations of that middle-aged speaker, already with many white hairs.
It was a dynamic and active presentation, which talked about a city. A new city for the future, sustainable and full of technology and latest generation services, ready for the most diverse and varied experiments, the Internet of Things, including some signed by names like McLaren or Microsoft. Yes, it was a city that would have true Formula 1 technology, adapted to buildings and utilities. Like me, many of the people present almost imagined the city. We were transported to its squares, to the laboratories and the streets teeming with the best professionals in the world in the most diverse sectors of activity. Sincerely, I was appreciating the idea. In fact, knowing that it was a great global project, which would be developed in my country, in Portugal, caused me chills of excitement and it seduced me too. I started to visualize a chronicle about the theme and then I searched for more details, even during the presentation. In the meantime, the speaker had finished talking and gave space to questions of assistance. And there were many of them. Curiosity, interest and enthusiasm. Applause and wishes for success. When I tried to speak with him personally to get more details, unfortunately he had already left. But I fixed his name: Steve Lewis.
Crossing the desert