A symbol of Portugal’s dynamic approach to innovation, Edu Hub Lisbon is set to become a focal point for the city’s business and education community
Lisbon has reached new heights over the last few years. Portugal’s coastal capital recovered from the financial crisis to become one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations amongst tourists, investors, and expats.
An investment friendly government – demonstrated most clearly by the successful Golden Visa initiative – has been instrumental in Lisbon’s transition from a tourist destination to a dynamic and cosmopolitan hub for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurism. “Europe’s San Francisco” or “Startup capital” are common monikers, and ones that look beyond the more commonly discussed benefits of reasonable living costs, wonderful climate and cultural heritage.
Urban planners, investors, and developers alike are responding as knowledge and innovation quarters emerge throughout the city.
Centre of excellence
One of those is Edu Hub Lisbon, a sprawling 50,000-sqm education and innovation hub located in Marvila, at the intersection of some of the city’s most dynamic neighbourhoods next to the city’s famous Park of Nations and just five minutes from the airport in the north of the city.
Created for the 98 World Expo, Park of Nations is widely regarded as a symbol of Lisbon’s arrival into the 21st century, home to exemplary architecture, green spaces, and world-class amenities and culture. It is now host to one of the world’s biggest technology conferences the Web Summit, until 2028. Its return this year saw over 40,000 attendees.
Edu Hub Lisbon, through new development and adaptive repurposing of older buildings, aspires to bring Europe’s most talented innovators, academics, and entrepreneurs together in one truly integrated campus. Opened in 2020 to serve the city’s increasingly global ambitions, the United Lisbon International School was the first anchor project for EduHub Lisbon. Next door, 15,000-sqm of student accommodation, and vast office spaces are underway. The school has already grown to 300 students and has been recently accredited as a Microsoft Showcase School.
Their first commercial tenant was the Atlantic Station, a co-working concept from global operator Atlantic Hub, which helps to support Brazilian companies setting up in Portugal and Europe and, most recently they welcomed innovation consultancy Inodev Portugal. Driving this transformation, developers Elegant Group have also earmarked the delivery of Build-to-Rent housing, adding to the growing supply of BTR and student accommodation surrounding the Park of Nations and Edu Hub, one of the many early indicators suggesting the area could well evolve into a focal point and as a foremost knowledge and innovation hub for Lisbon’s business and education community.
The Golden Visa programme has attracted almost €6bn of investment – a significant portion of which is directed towards Lisbon – in less than 10 years. There are several other initiatives that the government has introduced to attract investment – the 200m venture capitalist investment vehicle for startups, flat tax structures, and the Tech Visa – are just a few of the attractions for early-stage and established businesses relocating from all over the world. Portugal’s commitment to stop using coal, amongst other green policies, meanwhile is evidence of progressive leadership.
It is not just capital for investment that is flowing into Lisbon either. The strong and typically affluent expat population is growing, with those from the US and the UK making their presence particularly felt as they navigate their domestic political environments. They join the likes of China, Hong Kong, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa as sources of Lisbon’s truly global appeal.
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