351 Portuguese Startup Association – A new chapter for the Portuguese Startup Ecosystem

Date

Community Update

The Community

The 351 community was born in 2019 as an informal grassroots gathering of startup founders and ecosystem players. We built a place where startup people could come together, share their experience and help each other.

Our mission: to create a Portuguese startup scene that’s more connected, inclusive and wise.

Since the beginning we have been fuelled by a passion for Portuguese innovation.

The 351 community has helped innovators, organisers and entrepreneurs share ideas, discuss projects and find support.

By partnering with existing organisations and, at the same time, promoting our own initiatives, we offer our members the opportunity to network with people from all stages and areas of the startup journey.

As well as our popular live community events and partnerships such as Coworking Thursdays and Startup Grind, we have a busy Slack community where fellow founders and ecosystem partners contribute wisdom and keep up to date with the ever-growing startup scene in Portugal.

We have also worked to build bridges with other communities to support and amplify their message for the good of the whole ecosystem.

Thanks to our members and volunteers, we have now grown to become the biggest and most active startup community in Portugal, with +1600 members among startups, investors and corporate.

As a result, today 351 is widely recognized as “the place where the ecosystem gathers”, not just because of its community, but also due to the work of its +60 very engaged volunteers who manage +15 nationwide initiatives.

The Association

But this story is just the beginning. Until now Portugal has made incredible strides in becoming a startup-focused country. With the commitment of all players large and small across public and private sectors, Portugal has consistently punched above its weight in the league tables of innovation, attracting talent and investment (and creating seven unicorns in the process).

We believe that Portugal can grow further. We see Portugal as a leading tech nation, with the potential to be one of the top startup countries in the world.

It’s true that, compared to other players, Portugal is not a large country; the population and economy are modest. But there is a strength and an opportunity. Startups are supposed to start small and lean. They build and test and iterate, learning quickly as they find their route to rapid growth.

Portugal already has everything it needs to become a world-leading startup nation: talent, ingenuity, openness, commitment, support and a drive to succeed.

One thing is missing.

There is no single independent organisation in Portugal that represents the interests and concerns of every startup and its founders.

There are several public and private organisations that do amazing work in their particular niche or region – Lisboa Unicorn Capital, Startup Portugal, Porto Tech Hub… – but none of them directly represent all founders and their startups. Until now, all initiatives, all decisions, all opportunities, have been led from the top down, or limited in scope.

We propose that Portugal urgently needs a national association of startups. An independent, non-profit organisation created by founders, composed of Portuguese startups and run with an entrepreneurial spirit for the benefit of the entire Portuguese startup ecosystem.

The Vision for a National Startup Association

A Portuguese Startup Association

We want a startup ecosystem that is smarter, more connected, better organised, more visible and more aware of its opportunities both inside and outside the country. From pre-seed to scaleup, we want to breed baby camels and unicorns (or whatever animal’s name they may be called), in Portugal and send them out into the world.

To help founders and startups at every stage of their journey to succeed and grow – with fewer barriers and greater velocity. That is a vision which is not just good for Portuguese startups and the Portuguese economy. It’s good for everyone.

In a few words: Enabling Portugal’s startup ecosystem to be a globally renowned hub of innovation, with rapid growth, vibrant collaboration, and sustainable founder success

As the largest and most active startup community in Portugal, 351 is in the perfect position to understand the issues and create real meaningful change. We are built out of startups, we have founder DNA. And together, our depth of experience is unchallenged.

After reaching 1600 active members of our community, now we are reaching another milestone in pursuit of our vision and goals.

Our goals

  • Create and coordinate coherent programmes directed at startup founders at each stage of the startup lifecycle
  • Promote an entrepreneurial culture and mindset among all startup players
  • Create the conditions for sustainable growth of the ecosystem, with self-financed initiatives and projects and by fostering a culture of innovation and experience sharing
  • Help Portuguese startups to become EU and world leaders in fundraising, through concerted ecosystem initiatives

Achieving Association status allows 351 to access urgently-needed resources to continue our work. Until now we have been run by hard-working entrepreneurs who have volunteered their precious moments of spare time. As we grow and drive for change, that is no longer sustainable. We need full-time staff that can dedicate the necessary time and attention to running and managing our community initiatives and direct the development of our upcoming projects.

As an Association, we become eligible for many opportunities that can help us and benefit the ecosystem, having an official status and recognised voice across government bodies, public organisations and within the technological and innovation scene in Portugal.

As an association, and having full time people working with us, we will be able to help founders in 4 pillars:

The Association builds on the Community

We envisage the 351 Association as being the main maintainer of the 351 Community, making sure that the community is always alive and graduating new ecosystem leaders.

Both will co-exist and support each other, nurturing a supportive and inclusive community environment where founders and startup partners can contribute to a more robust and faster growing startup ecosystem.

Effective Members of the 351 Startup Association will be startups with some relationship degree with Portugal. The Association will be maintained either by their membership fees, public grants,  profits from 351 initiatives. donations from individuals or corporate, or corporate sponsorship. All the profits made by 351 will be reinvested into the association projects, so 351 can accomplish its vision of making Portugal the most dynamic ecosystem in the world.

Associated Startups (according to its tier) will have access to: 

  • Being eligible to vote on 351’s general assembly (*)
  • Perks and discounts on tech stack
  • Matchmaking with investors and corporate clients
  • Feedback and mentorship
  • Access to an exclusive community and events with other founders that are at the same stage as you
  • Joining 351’s exclusive projects, such as sectoral committees, participation on reports and others
  • Access to 351 network, exchange products and services and recruit
  • Free access to all 351 events (**)
  • Mention on our website, PR and social media channels

(*) Members need to comply with the requirements from 351’s statute

(**) Until tickets runout

Effective Members of the 351 Startup Association will be startups with some relationship degree with Portugal. The Association will be maintained either by their membership fees, public grants,  profits from 351 initiatives. donations from individuals or corporate, or corporate sponsorship. All the profits made by 351 will be reinvested into the association projects, so 351 can accomplish its vision of making Portugal the most dynamic ecosystem in the world.

Effective Members of the 351 Startup Community will be individuals related to the tech / startup scene in Portugal. They can be either startup founders, tech employees, investors, innovation managers, coworking, incubator or accelerators managers.

Students, consultancies or founders who are not in Portugal won’t have access to 351’s slack (or whatever online community platform we choose), although they can sign up for our newsletter or join 351’s events.

Access to 351 Portuguese Startup Community will be always free and its costs will be mainly maintained by 351 Portuguese Startup Association.

Members from the Community will have access to:

  • Discounts on tech courses provided by our partners
  • Limited access to perks and discounts on tech stack
  • Limited access to mentorship & matchmaking
  • Access to 351 community slack to network and find job opportunities
  • Volunteering for one of the  351 Portuguese Startup initiatives (*)
  • Organise and Lead 351’s community initiatives(*)

(*) Members need to comply with the 351 Community requirements to ensure that projects are managed well

For further information, please visit the 351 Portuguese Startup Association new website here

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