Media Coverage

Portugal is Fosun's Top European Startup Hub

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LISBON, April 15 (Xinhua) —

Belgium-born Frederik Massie, 24, realized that by adding intelligence to sensors he could make a more reliable diagnostic and put an end to a bundle ofwires to analyze sleep disorders.

 

His idea Ectosense was the first

winner on Thursday of a "Protechting" startup competition launched last year by Portugal's leading insurer Fidelidade and Chinese conglomerate Fosun.

 

"It (Protechting) fitted very

well (with our project) because it centers on healthcare and insurance," Massie told Xinhua after the results were announced.

 

"Portugal is a good place for

innovation because it has a flexible reimbursement system," he added.

 

CleenBeen and Life Symb came

second and third respectively out of 15 finalists announced at the Fidelidade headquarters in central Lisbon following a pitching session attended by Fosun CEO Liang Xinjun, Fidelity President Jorge Magalhaes Correia and President of Luz Saude, Isabel Vaz.

 

CleenBeen aims to resolve

bacterial and superbug and MRSA infections in hospitals, and Life Symb uses 3D depth cameras and accelerometers to analyse a person's posture and movements to provide health recommendations.

 

The "Protechting" program came

out of a desire to benefit society and help the younger generation, Fosun CEO Liang Xinjun told journalists on Thursday, highlighting that Portugal was the first country the program had been launched.

 

"Portugal has always been an

entrepreneurial country and its future depends on the younger generation," he said, adding that during the pitching session he had seen several eye-opening projects and that entrepreneurship was essential for the development of any country.

 

"Portugal is our gateway for

Fosun to enter Europe," he said, adding that Fosun wants to extend this program to the rest of Europe and perhaps to the United States.

 

The three top winners will now

have the opportunity to participate in a roadshow in China, which is planned for June, gaining access to some of the world's biggest investors.

 

"We want to introduce young

Portuguese people to Chinese investors," Liang added. "I think it is exciting for them and an opportunity to not only get money but to find a space in the market."

 

The 15 winners include Bclose,

an app to change lifestyle habits, Consulta do Viajante, an internal-run medical clinic, among others.

 

The Protechting competition

looked for businesses which were related to protecting people and heritage, to improve people's quality of life.

 

"For us the most important

factor was to put motivated multi-cultural people working in a creative environment ... and give them a good sense of business," Fidelidade CEO Jorge Magalhaes Correia told journalists, adding that the program focused on areas that were important for Portugal, namely insurance and health.

 

As Portugal starts to recover

from a financial crisis that forced the country to ask for a 78 billion euro bailout program in 2011, many people have turned to starting their own businesses amid high unemployment and austerity measures.

 

According to the barometer

Informa D&B, between March last year and February 2016 around 37,399 startups and other organisations were launched in Portugal, compared with the 36,195 startups that arose in the same period the previous year.

 

"I would say the most important

thing for growth is entrepreneurship," said Liang." People think that China's growth is due to low cost and labor but in fact the most important reason is entrepreneurship, people want to start their own businesses."

 

One of Socialist Prime Minister

Antonio Costa's ways to support this entrepreneurial spirit in Portugal was by recently launching business incubator Startup Portugal.

 

It offers funds for risk capital

amounting to 400 million euros, fiscal benefits in initial phases, as well as startup vouchers for young people who need a monthly allowance for a period of time to develop their ideas.

 

Portugal's economy grew 0.9

percent last year and a report by the World Bank Group, Doing Business Portugal, highlights that the country is among the top 25 as a place to start business due to a low number of procedures compared to other countries, lower cost and lack of minimum capital required.

 

However companies in Portugal

have a low survival rate, according to Eurostat, where newborn enterprises are less likely to survive a year after creation.

 

Fosun

CEO Liang said: "We know some (startups) will survive and some will not. It is venture capital, so it is like a venture ... And we have to tell some people to give up. But for young people to give up is a unique experience for the rest of their lives."