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MIT Portugal venture competition aims to connect innovators with investors

The ISCTE-IUL MIT Portugal Competition — launched by ISCTE-IUL in partnership with MIT School of Engineering, the Deshpande Center, and the MIT Sloan School of Management — aims to foster the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in Portugal.

Open to anyone willing to register their company in Portugal, the high-visibility Venture Competition will help identify and reward global projects that are at an embryonic stage – projects with high-level technological content, or products or services that are able to demonstrate a highly innovative approach. Finalists from other national Portuguese competitions (e.g., CoHitec, Start, BES Inovação, EDP/Richard Branson, Audax) will be encouraged to participate.

To highlight growing areas of entrepreneurial activity, the Venture Competition begins with four tracks:
  1. Sustainable Energy & Transportation systems: projects or companies related to energy and transportation with a focus on renewable energy and unexplored sources such as wave and tidal energy, as well as technologies in reducing waste and its treatment (ex. biochemical reactor technologies).
  2. Life Sciences: projects or companies related to biotechnology, therapeutics, medical devices, biomaterials, healthcare IT, diagnostics and instrumentation.
  3. Information Technology and the Web: IT or Web-enabled projects or companies focusing on making the lives of individuals and businesses easier.
  4. Products and Services: projects or companies aiming at satisfying a broad array of consumer and business needs, ranging from new engineering materials and processes, to high-tech consumer applications.
Each of the four track finalists will be awarded up to 100,000 euros. The finalists will then compete during a televised event for an additional 100,000-euro award. During the Venture Phase, Track Finalist and Grand Finale awardees will benefit from the direction of Catalysts, and have an opportunity to double their award, for a total of up to a 1,000,000 euros in Track Finals, Grand Finale and Venture Phase awards.

Awardees will benefit from an interactive "go-to-market workshop" designed by Professor Fiona Murray, the Sarofim Family Career Development Professor, Sloan associate professor and associate director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center; and Dr. Luis Perez-Breva, research scientist – who are the co-faculty directors of MIT i-Teams.

The deadline for submissions is June 18, 2010.

The Venture Competition is an element of the MIT Portugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI) –– a new component of the MIT Portugal Program. The initiative is a collaboration among the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), one of Portugal’s leading business schools; the MIT Entrepreneurship Center; and MIT’s School of Engineering.

ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute has been a major driving force behind such initiative alongside AUDAX, an associated center for entrepreneurship and family business support. Since its inception in 2005, AUDAX has trained many aspiring entrepreneurs, supported more than 200 projects (business plans, finance or advice) and contributed to the launch of more than 50 successful ventures across all sectors of the economy.

The IEI is led by ISCTE-IUL Professor José Paulo Esperança, Professor of Finance and Dean of International Relations at ISCTE-IUL, Founder and Chairman of the Audax Centre for Entrepreneurship; Professor Edward B. Roberts, David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology, MIT Sloan School of Management, Founder and Chair of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center; and Professor Charles L. Cooney, Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, and Founder and Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, and MIT Professor Daniel Roos, MIT Director of the MIT Portugal Program. José Estabil, IEI Program Director at MIT ( and Gonçalo Amorim, Project Director at Audax / ISCTE-IUL (, oversee day-to-day activities.

More information about the IEI Venture Competition is available at

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