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Lisbon is celebrated for its wonderful weather, creative, innovative and dynamic international business community and for its ever growing tech sector, which is crowned by one of the biggest annual technology conferences in the planet – Web Summit. If you are thinking about starting your business here, you’ll need to understand the environment for businesses in Portugal, what types of companies you can set up and what the process for becoming self-employed is. In this piece we’ll try to provide you with a brief overview of all of this process.

Let’s start with different types of business entities. In Portugal there are a number of different legal structures for businesses – from individual sole traders to large companies with many employees.

Businesses Owned By One Individual:

Sole Trader (Empresario em Nome Individual)

This is a basic form of self-employment in Portugal where individuals (sole traders) trade as a business, are free to do what they want with profits once taxes have been paid and have unlimited liability for business debts. There is no minimum capital requirement to start up and no requirement for any formal constitution or articles of association.

Single-Member Limited Company (Sociedade Unipessoal por Quotas)

One person runs the Portuguese business but debt liability is limited to business assets. There must be a minimum capital investment of EUR 5000.

Individual Limited Liability Establishment (Estabelecimento Individual de Responsabilidade Limitada)

Similar to the Single-Member Limited Company but the initial capital investment of EUR 5000 must consist of at least two-thirds cash. Up to a third can consist of collateral that can be used as security.

Businesses Owned By More Than One Person

Private Limited Company (Sociedade por Quotas)

Portuguese company with a minimum of two partners and now in POrtugal the minimum capital investment is 1€. Shareholders are jointly responsible for everything agreed in the Articles of Association. Shareholders are liable for debts up to the amounts covered by business assets.

Public Limited Company (Sociedade Anomina)

Portuguese company that requires at least 5 shareholders and a minimum capital investment of EUR50,000. Liability of debts is limited to business assets and shareholders are liable for amounts up to their share value.

Partnership (Sociedade em Nome Colectivo)

Portuguese company with a minimum of two partners whose liability extends to personal assets that can be used to cover debts.

Limited Liability partnership (Sociedade em Comandita)

Portuguese company with a minimum of two partners who are a mix of general partners who run the business and have unlimited liability (including personal assets) and sleeping partners who provide capital and whose liability is limited to the amount invested.


Non-profit organisations run through cooperative principles and mutual assistance of members. They are freely established legal entities whose capital and composition may vary. Portuguese cooperatives are regulated by the Antonio Sergio Cooperative Sector Institute (CASES).

BWorking Coworking Spaces has offices and other services available to start developing your team – get more useful information here.

Documentation Required For The Creation Of A Company In Portugal

We remind you that if you want to register a company in Portugal, it is best to seek advice and guidance from experts in company formation in Portugal. You should consider the following steps when registering a company in Portugal with the Conservatorias de Registo Comercial:

  • choose a name for your company;
  • draft the Articles of Association;
  • set up a bank account;
  • register for VAT and other social contributions;
  • apply for the proper business license.

There are two simplified ways methods of setting up a company in Portugal:

  • Setting up online (Empresa Online) – this allows certain types of Portuguese businesses to be set up and registered over the internet with 1-2 days for a cost of EUR 360. An electronic certificate is required. The Portal de Empresa website for doing this can be found here.
  • Setting up on-the-spot (Empresa de Hora) – sole traders and limited companies can be created in an hour for EUR 360 via this government scheme. All partners should be present along with all necessary documentation and any legal representatives. Details of how to set up using Empresa de Hora can be found here.

Get Started Together With BWorking Coworking Spaces

If you are a foreign entrepreneur that is interested to launch your business in Lisbon, you might feel a little lost in all the information that you need to know.

Our “Entrepreneurship Support Office” is here to provide you with all the necessary help and assistance needed to start operating business in Portugal. We’ll help you to navigate through bureaucracy and development obstacles from the generation of the business idea to its implementation. We have also started monthly pitching days to help accelerate the start-up ecosystem in Lisbon and we are open to help new businesses. That’s why we invite you to visit BWorking Coworking Spaces to talk about all the challenges!

At the BWorking Coworking Spaces, located at the heart of Lisbon’s business district, well known for freelancers, startups and small/medium companies, there are a few subscription plans to choose from. So, you will easily find the one, most suitable for you. The coworking space has been designed to welcome all types of professionals who want to work here. Obviously, here you will find the main coworking space with designated workplace, but also – private offices and meeting rooms.

Or, you can try the benefits of the Virtual Office services at the BWorking Coworking Spaces! The flexibility offered by the virtual office helps productivity and workforce satisfaction. You will also make cost savings in areas such as technology, as virtual offices require no purchase or lease of telephone systems or mainframe computer systems, and most software packages can be accessed via cloud-based systems for relatively small subscription costs.

Follow the link and get three months of Virtual Office for free!

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