This is Porto: resilient community, strong local leadership and solid sense of place
15 February 2019
This is Porto: resilient community, strong local leadership and solid sense of place

Cities are not immune to occasional crisis and setbacks, be it of natural, political or economic nature. Porto's economic troubles first began in the 1990s, when the trade industry lost ground to its Asian competitor, causing the deflation of Northern production lines.

Journalist Sebastian Shehadi, of the FDi Magazine, a Financial Times supplement, takes a look at Porto to show that the city has "bounced back" and is now "a very competitive location in the tech scene", on the basis of its own efforts, to a huge extent. 

While reading the article, especially focusing on Mayor Rui Moreira's interview and the testimony of many investors and managers in the city, one can better understand the "secret" behind the thriving of this unique city; there are a number of key factors that contribute to this momentum (which will linger), namely the simple (not simplistic) way of governing with accountability, love (of the city), and the extraordinary people from Porto.

Long story short, it is due to the nature of good public policy and management, or, as Mayor Rui Moreira well puts it, "com contas à moda do Porto", which translates as "doing things properly, with transparency and accountability" that Porto is now an open city, cosmopolitan by the week and able to further its own "not any longer" hidden treasures.

"Guided by a pro-business mayor, Porto is experiencing a business and tourism boom", the article reads.

Porto second largest Portuguese city, boasts a river and a coast. It has nearly 230,000 inhabitants and more than 1.9 million in its metropolitan region, in northern Portugal.

Porto is almost as old as time, preserving both its traditional and ancient heritage and its innovative tech districts as "civil society took matters into its own hands", leading to a revitalised job market and "a rise of a strong, entrepreneurial tech-based ecosystem and of hi-tech manufacturing", supported by the best educated generation Portugal has ever had, as the University of Porto is one of the world's top educational excellence, generating world-class work force and entrepreneurs.

"Indeed, the University of Porto is Portugal's highest ranked institution, according to the QS World University Rankings 2018. Porto has the highest number of students in higher education in Portugal thanks to the afore-mentioned University of Porto and other institutions such as Porto Polytechnic, Porto Business School and the Catholic University", as stated in the article.

And the figures are here to confirm this scenario: 9000 researchers in Porto Metropolitan area, 200 R&D institutions, such as the first Fraunhofer Institution outside of Germany or the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health to fight cancer.

This ecosystem was possible because Porto fosters strong relationships between business, government and education. Also, the city of Porto won the "Best Start-up Friendly City of Europe" title in the World Excellence Awards 2018, and it is the Portuguese city to file more patents with the EU.

Porto is, nowadays, the country's leading hi-tech hub for companies and start-ups, such as Farfetch, BLIP, Critical Software, Feedzai, Talkdesk and Veniam.

"FDI figures reflect this positive trend, with 2018 seeing the highest number of greenfield projects in Portugal since 2003, according to data form greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets", Sebastian Shehadi reports. 

So, it comes with no surprise the fact that the number of jobs created by foreign investors grew by more than 300% in Porto and northern Portugal from 2013 to 2016, according to local IPA InvestPorto.

And the "perfect storm" continues in the city of Porto, with the city being "a unique place for business" and where key factors such as quality of life, cutting-edge pool of talent, infrastructure excellence and outstanding city governance make Porto the place to live, study, work, invest, visit or learn from!

By the way, this is only the "short story of this long story". Take a peek at the article to really understand the Porto way! 

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