'Developing New Attitudes' and supporting the creation of value in Cascais
In the 2021 edition of the Portugal City Brand Ranking, Bloom Consulting placed Cascais, along with Lisbon and Porto, as one of the three most attractive Portuguese municipalities for doing business. This placement is due to the municipal public policy designed and implemented 15 years ago to support entrepreneurship and innovation – the creation of EU|BIC DNA Cascais. DNA Cascais is today the example of how municipalities should support the creation of value, promote, and generate innovation and how they seek to become competitive.
Their impact is undeniable. In 15 years, DNA Cascais had an impact by supporting the creation of more than 455 new companies with a three-year survival rate far above the national average.
EBN had the privilege to travel and visit EU|BIC DNA Cascais at their premises, visiting the incubator and meeting different entrepreneurs, and the business support actors that guide their growth. Our Research and Impact Officer, Isabel Carreira, met with Pedro Lourenco, Rodrigo Melo e Castro, both Project Managers at DNA Cascais, and Marta Nunes, Financial and Administrative Department Coordinator; during the ”Match Up Talks”, an event on the morning of the 23rd February at the DNA Cascais auditorium. Several speakers shared their inspiring entrepreneurship life stories, highlighting the passion and resilience their work takes, marking the diversity and quality of their work.
We believe these results are due to our individualized and personalized support for entrepreneurs and the risk mitigation methodology we employ in Cascais. We also believe that, in order to capture and retain talent and to have entrepreneurs capable of creating value in the future, it is essential to develop an education program for entrepreneurship. DNA Cascais has the largest youth entrepreneurship program at the municipal level. In the last 15 years, the Entrepreneurship Education program “Escolas Empreendedoras” has already reached close to 50,000 young people, 300 teachers and 50 schools in the municipality.Pedro Lourenço, Project Manager at DNA Cascais
EU|BIC DNA (Development of New Attitudes) Cascais is a non-for-profit Entrepreneurship Agency, with the mission to foster Cascais’ entrepreneur ecosystem, including social entrepreneurship and support for young entrepreneurs. In this sense, DNA Cascais works mainly on the development skills and knowledge sharing among its community, supporting the construction of a more dynamic business environment in Cascais.
Their imprint is reflected in their region: 30 companies supported per year, higher than average survival rate, more than 2293 new jobs created in the county and internationally competitive companies that can boast of the great potential impact of their activity. For example:
Leitek Innovative Solutions – founded in 2016, it is a technology company that develops, customizes, and commercializes products in sectors of activity with high growth potential. They emphasize solutions for the early detection of forest fires, operational security of aircraft at airports, as well as in the provision of air vehicle services, such as terrain mapping, image processing with advanced analytics, with a view to agriculture and precision forestry.
Medbone Biomaterials – founded in 2008, it was created with the aim of filling a gap in the synthetic bone graft manufacturing market. Biomaterials are commercialized worldwide, being used in more than 90 countries, in orthopaedic, dental, and veterinary surgeries.
Casca Wines – It is a project of winemakers who created a brand of wines with the best grape varieties from the wine regions of Portugal. Without heritage in the wine business, Casca Wines found a path to reach its dream. In 2015, an investment fund (Creative Capital) brought the necessary financial support to achieve between 2 and 2.5 million bottles produced in 2020. Their clients in 4 continents are specialized shops, restaurants, and distributors.
Optimal Solutions – founded in 2008, based in Cascais, owned 100% by Portuguese private investors, it is a company focused on designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced composite and metallic structures for applications in space, aeronautics, defence and automobiles. In 2021, the company employed around 60 people, with an estimated turnover of 5 million euros.
Of the 4 companies, only Leitek is still at DNA Cascais. All the others were born in a 20 square meters office, with one, two or three entrepreneurs and today they have dozens of employees and occupy a space much more than 10 times the office where they started their activity.
What is an EU|BIC? Certified EU|BICs use business and innovation as a force for regional (economic, social, and sustainable) development with the best possible actions to create thriving startups and SMEs. EU|BICs meet the highest verified standards in business support services and take real steps to ensure that their services are best advantageous to their clients and support greater wellbeing in their regions. There are now more than 110 quality-certified EU|BICs and 30+ Associate Members in over 35 countries shaping the global EU|BIC community.
About EU|BIC Certification: EU|BIC Certification and brandmark is provided by EBN, being a highly selective status recognised by the European Commission. It is the only certification that stimulates business support organisations to continuously improve the quality of their service delivery to client companies. The Certification process uses credible, comprehensive, transparent and independent standards of business support and organisational impact performance.