copy the linklink copied!31. Portugal

This country profile benchmarks self-employment and entrepreneurship data for women, youth, seniors and immigrants in Portugal against the European Union average. It also notes current inclusive entrepreneurship policy issues and recent policy actions.


copy the linklink copied!Key trends

Overall, the proportion of the self-employed among the working population has declined over the last decade from 18.7% to 13.5%. Nonetheless, women, youth and seniors were more likely than the European Union (EU) average to be involved in starting a business or managing one that is less than 42 months old between 2014 and 2018 – 7.0% vs. 4.9% for women, 9.7% vs. 7.7% for youth, and 5.4% vs. 4.4% for seniors. However, these groups were also slightly more likely to be involved in entrepreneurship because they could not secure suitable employment. This was especially true for women since nearly one-third (32.1%) reported starting their business out of “necessity”.

copy the linklink copied!Hot issue

Youth entrepreneurship continues to receive a great deal of support in Portugal. This includes investments in entrepreneurship education and several major youth entrepreneurship programmes, including the Programme of Support for Entrepreneurship and Self-employment Creation (PAECPE) and the Youth Investment Programme (Programa Investe Jovem). Monitoring tends to show that many programmes have exceeded their uptake targets, likely due to persistent high youth unemployment.

copy the linklink copied!Recent policy developments

As part of the National Programme of Reforms for the period 2016-21, the government created a national entrepreneurship strategy – “Startup Portugal”. In 2018, a new version of this strategy, “Startup Portugal+” was launched to give a new impetus to the initial strategy. The new strategy adds 20 new measures to the original five and provides an additional EUR 300 million to the original budget of EUR 200 million. Some of the initiatives under the new measures are targeted at people who have difficulties in accessing the labour market and/or are at risk of social exclusion (e.g. women, people with disabilities). These include the Programme of Support for Entrepreneurship and Self-employment Creation (Programa de Apoio ao Empreendedorismo e à Criação do Próprio Emprego – PAECPE) implemented by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional – IEFP).

This profile is based on a recent country assessment report, which can be found at:

copy the linklink copied!Key inclusive entrepreneurship data

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Figure 31.1. Entrepreneurship and self-employment data for Portugal
Figure 31.1. Entrepreneurship and self-employment data for Portugal

Notes: The self-employment rate is defined as the number of self-employed people (15-64 years old) divided by the number of people in employment. The TEA rate is the proportion of adults (18-64 years old) involved in setting up a business or managing a business that is less than 42 months old. Necessity entrepreneurship is defined as entrepreneurship activities that were launched because there were no other options in the labour market. Early-stage entrepreneurs are those who are in the process of setting up a business or managing a business that is less than 42 months old. The EU average in Panels D-F excludes Czech Republic and Malta for the period 2014-18 and Malta for the period 2009-13.

Sources: Panels A and B: Eurostat (2019), Labour Force Survey,; Panel C: Eurostat (2018), Self-employment, Labour Force Survey ad-hoc module,; Panels D-F: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2019), Special tabulations of the GEM survey 2014-18.


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