- 08/07/20

Portugal and Finland: Partners in Innovation at Ombria Resort

The Nordic countries have traditionally been the most innovative countries in Europe, with this year‘s edition of the European Commission‘s Innovation Scoreboard rating their performance above 125 per cent of the EU average. Finland in particular improved its performance by 20 per cent between 2012 and 2019, firmly establishing themselves as Europe’s elite innovators. 

 

What was more surprising was that although the expected innovation divides remained, some countries like Portugal were steadily closing the gap. With their innovation performance growing by over 20%, Portugal seems to be following in the footsteps of Northern Europe and developing its reputation as an innovation hub in the south.

 

Coming from opposite ends of Europe, and with cultures heavily influenced by their Nordic and Iberian roots, Finland and Portugal might seem to have little in common at first glance. What we value, however, says far more about us than where we come from, and here is where the two countries share a similar vision for the future. Both are being bought together through a shared passion for innovation, with Finland continuing to lead the way and Portugal emerging as a growing force.

 

Promoting innovation across Europe is hugely important, as a number of essential EU policy objectives on health, climate, environment, and energy cannot be achieved without it. Bit by bit innovation transforms all aspects of our societies and economies and change the way people live and behave. Multi-disciplinary, application-driven research and innovation are crucial to take on the many societal challenges we face in the future. 

 

Over the last few years, Portugal has gained a growing number of entrepreneurial companies and market leaders in Information and Communications Technology and has been responsible for some high-tech innovations that have changed the world we live in today. Examples include the Multibanco network, one of the worlds most sophisticated banking networks; Via Verde, the first closed road toll system; and pre-paid mobile phones, that quickly became the foundation for the mobile revolution we live today.

 

Innovation has brought incalculable added value to the Portuguese economy and boosted the growth and diversification of businesses across the country and enjoys a strong political commitment from the Portuguese government and the Presidency of the Republic, both keen to emulate the social and economic success of Europe’s front runners.

 

In trying to achieve this, Portugal has developed an international culture where it’s never been easier to set up a business. Alongside several incentives and programs available, Start-ups benefit from simplified licensing and special legislation designed to make life easier for tech and innovation businesses. In fact, the country ranks 29th in the “Ease of Doing Business Rank” (World Bank DB, 2018, out of 189 countries), and the average time to set up a company in Portugal is less than 1 hour. 
 

With this in mind, alongside an improved quality of life, perfect climate and ease of accessibility, Portugal is an excellent base for entrepreneurs and business leaders with numerous financial incentives for a primary or secondary home in the secure property markets of the Algarve. English is widely spoken, and Portugal ranks as highly connected in terms of remote working and travel infrastructure. One of the most important things for Ombria Resort was to not only innovate sustainable technology but to also promote the Algarve as the perfect place for such individuals to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

 

As the two countries continue to bridge the innovation gap between the north and south of Europe, we can look to Ombria Resort as a metaphor for what has already been achieved, the fruits of all their combined labours. Pontos Group, the Finnish owner of the resort, is a real estate and private equity investment company that promote sustainability and innovative construction methods. With Ombria Resort they have worked with Portugal to create a pioneering concept for the region, one that will inspire sustainable tourism in the Algarve

 

Yet it is the unspoiled location of Ombria, and Pontos respect for it, that makes it so unique. After all, our similarities may be what brought us to the same place; but it is our differences that allow us to remain fascinated by each other.


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