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Carlos Melo Brito: Driving force behind Porto's innovation boom

Portugal · Apr 03, 2019· By Gareth Gardiner Jones

Copyright: CompassList

The professor has overseen the creation and growth of the University of Porto-based UPTEC incubator, birthplace of many of Portugal's most successful startups 

Under the steady guidance of Professor Carlos Melo Brito, the University of Porto (U.Porto) has developed a thriving incubator and accelerator for globally focused startups, registering some 500 international patents and launching more than 450 companies over the last decade.

As the university's current Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and director of the incubator UPTEC (Science and Technology Park of University of Porto) until last year, Brito has been instrumental in building U.Porto into a European leader in innovation. Such has been the university's success in creating and fostering startups, that Porto is now Europe's third-fastest growing tech hub behind Sofia, Bulgaria and St. Petersburg, Russia.  

“A total of 24.8% of Portuguese GDP now comes out of the University of Porto. [It's] more than just having an obligation to create value with a basis for growth, it's a fountain of competitiveness,” Brito said during an interview with Portuguese television.

Today, U.Porto lays claim to some of Portugal's biggest startup successes, including Veniam and Uniplaces. Brito attributes the success of university's ecosystem to his focus on protecting and commercializing intellectual property, developing management competencies, nurturing new businesses to help them generate technologically competitive spin-offs, and incubation support of startups as they scale up.  The last five years, he says, have seen Porto become a “blue ocean" for entrepreneurs and investors.

“We have many startups created at the University of Porto that don't have a single customer in Portugal, why? Because Portugal is not their market, it is the world.

“In the EU, it is Portugal that had the most patents registered last year making our companies more competitive, giving us a global presence, sustainability and creating quality jobs,” Brito said.

Edited by Sophie Douez

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