Putting together an IT team can be complicated, particularly if you’re trying to gather all of your employees in one city. In this article, we'll introduce you to 5 cities (plus one region) that present attractive conditions for the challenge of setting up a nearshore IT team.
Portugal is a very attractive country to conduct business in, especially because of its talented professionals and great infrastructure (for more reasons, check this article). However, putting together an IT team can be complicated, particularly if you’re trying to gather all of your employees in one city. And I bet you’re thinking about either Oporto or Lisbon, right?
Here’s where the usefulness of remote working comes in: why not use it to increase the chance of finding the right people by extending your recruitment to other regions and cities in the country? It is a well known fact that remote working can considerably increase your team’s productivity!
Fiber optics and 5G networks allow stable and high-speed internet connections, allowing you, and your team, to work from anywhere in the territory. The technology hubs and business incubators are not limited to Oporto and Lisbon: there are options all over the country that can fit your needs.
Many cities are learning how to take advantage of this new demand, creating these facilities and combining them with emerging coworking spaces. So, it's time to look at the map and discover the best 5 tech-friendly Portuguese cities (plus one region) in Portugal to start nearshoring your dream team.
Braga is one of the youngest cities in Portugal and it has a lot of hidden talent. With an academic population and a growing Brazilian community, the “city of Archbishops” has a lot of infrastructure that’ll allow your nearshore IT team to grow and evolve.
The international airport is only a 30-minute drive away from Braga and it also has fast train connections to the whole country however, what makes this city tech-friendly is its own investment program: “InvestBraga - Agency for the Economic Dynamization of Braga” - a local and public entity that has several spaces that allow investing in the city.
One of these spaces is “Startup Braga”, a hub with a strong technological component which emerged after the rehabilitation and transformation of an old police station, with the particularity of being within a creative and cultural center, “gnration”. In line with this investment policy, InvestBraga also regularly promotes debates and meetings at the Altice Forum Braga, one of the main venues in the city.
Braga offers a great variety of coworking spaces that provide services such as consultancy and continuing training.
Due to the canals that cross the city and the moliceiro boats that travel its waters, Aveiro is often called the “Portuguese Venice”. This city and district are also known for having strong academic (with a university of reference) and business foundations.
The city knowns how to properly integrate projects and creative hubs, bringing people, companies, research institutes, and state-of-the-art tech solutions together to redefine how to live and work in a more digital and connected reality. So, you see, Aveiro is definitely a city to consider when deciding where to locate your nearshore IT team.
One of the spaces to keep in mind is the PCI - Creative Science Park – Aveiro Region. Founded in 2009, by the University of Aveiro, to mobilize the business agents in the region and create a space for promoting the economy, the “Science Park” focuses its activity on strong areas of the region and academy such as agro-industry, energy, and in the ICT.
The technology park also includes an "innovation space" and the "design factory aveiro", both with a strong connection to the University. In addition, it also includes a business incubator, “UA Incubator”, which has already hosted 48 companies and more than 150 research projects. Regarding the city's accessibility: it has fast and daily train connections to Lisbon and Oporto.
The 1987 song “Porto Sentido” (“Meaningful Oporto” in a free translation) by Rui Veloso, describes the city as “an old house that extends to the sea”. More than 30 years later, it continues to rise “in the middle of the fog”, now assuming itself as a hub of innovation and creativity, consolidating its position as the second metropolitan area in the country.
The University and the Polytechnic of Oporto have been driving this development, greatly helped by the connections between the Oporto airport and the whole world and because it’s the metropolitan area closest to Galicia.
Being a tech-friendly city came as an addition, with the commitment by public and private entities to invest in business incubators and creative hubs. Thus, there is an increasing number of people interested in working in the “Undefeated” city, consolidating an already solid innovation ecosystem.
To assist companies that want to settle in Oporto, the municipality launched an investment promotion agency, called “Invest Porto.”. This agency provides access to installation incentives for companies and teams, including nearshore IT teams in the city.
It also offers access to a B2B marketplace, which brings together service providers in the Oporto region, specialized advice by “Invest Porto.”, and a network of young talent, the “Portonauts”.
In recent years, the Oporto has also been able to keep up with trends, giving assertive responses to those who want to implement a nearshore IT team with multiple coworking spaces in the city.
As the capital, Lisbon could not be left out of our list of Portuguese tech-friendly cities. Connected to the world by plane, boat, train or bus, Lisbon is a city that everyone loves. It’s, in fact, the scenario for one of the main tech events, WebSummit, which transforms Lisbon into the main European technological hub, for an entire week.
At this event, leaders of the biggest companies, politicians, start-ups, and entrepreneurs discuss the trends that’ll take businesses to the highest level, creating an environment for sharing, learning and networking through talks and a tech show that takes place at the same time as the event.
There are, therefore, good reasons to choose the "city of seven hills" to install your nearshore IT team and create an environment of creativity. There are dozens of coworking spaces (some of them free!) scattered around Lisbon that may suit your team.
If you’re dealing with a large-scale project, the Lispolis - Polo Tecnológico de Lisboa might be a good fit for you. This structure currently includes more than 120 companies and teams, more than 50% of which are connected to technology.
Finally, if you choose KWAN as your outsourcing partner, you can count on our office in the centre of Lisbon, equipped with monitors, ergonomic chairs and tables, a small kitchen, and meeting rooms - more than ready to receive your team!
Perhaps you know Coimbra for its university, made famous by the voices of students dressed in black or even for the tragic yet intense love of Peter I of Portugal and Inês de Castro. The city on the banks of the Mondego river is all of this: as the song says, it "is a lesson of dream and tradition" that keeps alive its connection to academic knowledge and focus on new horizons.
Currently, Coimbra is included in an economically dynamic region, offering a good quality of life and access to qualified human resources. One of the city's contributions to this dynamism is the Coimbra iParque - Park for Innovation in Science, Technology, and Health.
Complementing other entrepreneurship offers in the city, the space is ideal to install your nearshore IT team. Under the responsibility of the municipality of the city, Coimbra iParque has a Business Center, the “Leonardo DaVinci Business Center”, with an area of 500 squared meters, comprising a meeting room and an auditorium fit for 200 people.
The space welcomes companies from several areas, including ICT, creating a favorable environment for innovation and business development. All information and characteristics of the space are shared on request.
Despite being a city in the interior of the country, Covilhã has established itself as a Portuguese technological hub. Close to Serra da Estrela and boosted by the University of Beira Interior, this city is a great choice for digital nomads and companies who want to settle their nearshore IT teams in Portugal.
The main reason is simple: housing is relatively cheap. In addition, the city has tried to offer suitable infrastructure to accommodate this new digital reality: the CIEC - Covilhã Business Innovation Centre is one of them.
The Centre is a mix of offices, coworking spaces, and workshop spaces, open to welcome entrepreneurs, start-ups, or even multinationals. The aim is to promote business activity and competitiveness on a global scale from Covilhã, while exploring a sense of community and sharing among members.
For large-scale projects, Covilhã also has Parkurbis, the Covilhã Science and Technology Park. Its aim is to develop new tech-based activities in that region, creating a link with the university while getting closer to the local business fabric, creating synergies.
The park has various support services, access to a network of contacts, and exchange with other technology parks in Portugal and around the world, in addition to administrative support and business promotion. The integration of startups and teams in these spaces is subject to application.
We put Algarve on this list as an extra tip, since it isn’t possible to choose just one city.
The whole region is very tech-friendly! In addition to the beaches and sunny climate that both Portuguese and foreigners enjoy, Algarve has the right conditions for digital nomads and nearshore IT teams to prosper as the language barrier is lower due to tourist activity.
However, the economy isn’t just based on tourism and Algarve has sought to diversify its economy, focusing on creating connections to other European countries, using Faro airport, as one of the differentiating factors.
In this context, the Algarve Tech Hub appears. It is a tech system at regional scale that aims to present Algarve as a competitive and technological region, helping the creation and development of a global hub.
This project involves municipalities, institutions, and local companies to assist with the implementation of your team, all of them working together to make the region even more attractive, identifying talent and opportunities, and enhancing international interest.
In addition to this, it claims to be the best "Lifestyle Tech Hub" in Europe as it organizes several community events such as the "Algarve Tech Hub Summit", a sought-after event for professionals with technology as their major area of interest.
5 Portuguese Tech-friendly Cities to Start Your Nearshore IT Team - Final Thoughts
Many different features of these tech-friendly cities make them attractive to set up a nearshore team. Being one of the youngest cities in Portugal, Braga is constantly growing and is now a well-equipped city in terms of infrastructures with fast connections to the whole country.
Coimbra and Aveiro are good alternatives due to their offerings for those looking for a city with a good quality of life and new horizons. The strong connection to their universities brings them dynamism and prominence in innovation, attracting an increasing number of people interested in settling there to work.
Covilhã, as an inland city, stands out on our list, offering more advantageous conditions than other cities, maintaining the characteristics of a small but extremely dynamic city. The metropolitan areas of Oporto and Lisbon, even with a more expensive cost of living, are always very attractive places to implement a nearshore IT team.
That is due to their centrality and infrastructures and the fact that they are poles of innovation and creativity, with higher education institutions driving the engines of this great development. Finally, the Algarve region is also a great area to consider: the lower language barrier and the good weather all year round makes this a good location for digital nomads and tech teams.
In short, there are 5 cities (plus one region) that present attractive conditions and advantages for the challenge of installing a nearshore IT team: the hard part is choosing one of them.
The good news is that you don’t have to.
Access a wider network of talent by setting up your team all around the country! Allow your employees to benefit from remote work and give them the chance to work from wherever they feel most comfortable, be it a cowork space or their own home office. You will soon find out that their happiness will be decisive in the results achieved by your company!
But in the end remember: whatever your choose, KWAN is available to help you out! We have IT professionals spread across the country and with years of experience in remote work. In addition, whether you choose a face-to-face, hybrid or remote work model, we will help you find the dream team to achieve the best results. Talk to us and let’s assess, together, the needs of your tech team.