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Business Funding Options in Portugal

By Bernardo Barbosa

Published on 26 March 2024

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When starting a business in Portugal, securing the necessary funding is crucial for success. Business funding provides the financial resources needed to cover startup costs, expand operations, and invest in growth opportunities. 
There are various types of business funding options available, each with its advantages and considerations. This article will explore the different funding options in Portugal, including traditional options like bank loans, venture capital, and angel investors, as well as alternative options like crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and government grants. 

By understanding these funding options, business owners can make informed decisions and choose the right funding option for their specific needs.

Importance of Business Funding

We cannot overstate the importance of business funding enough, as securing it provides the necessary capital to cover expenses, invest in new opportunities, and expand operations.

Without proper funding, businesses may struggle to meet their financial obligations, miss out on growth opportunities, and even risk closure. With the right funding, they can hire and retain talented employees, purchase necessary equipment and inventory, and implement effective marketing strategies.

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Types of Business Funding

When it comes to business funding in Portugal, there are various options to consider, divided into two broad categories: traditional funding options and alternative funding options.

Traditional funding options include bank loans, venture capital, and angel investors. These sources of funding provide capital in exchange for equity or repayment with interest.

Alternative funding options include crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and government grants. Crowdfunding allows you to raise funds from a large number of individuals, while peer-to-peer lending connects borrowers directly with lenders. Government grants, on the other hand, provide financial assistance to businesses that meet certain criteria.

Considering the pros and cons of each funding option to determine which one aligns best with your business needs and goals is crucial; below, we will explore each one in depth.

Traditional Funding Options

Bank Loans

Bank loans are a common and traditional form of business funding in Portugal. Banks provide loans to businesses based on their creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. These loans can be used for various purposes, such as starting a new business, expanding an existing business, or purchasing equipment.

One advantage of bank loans is that they often have lower interest rates compared to other funding options. However, securing a bank loan can be a lengthy process that requires extensive documentation and a strong credit history.

It's important for business owners to carefully evaluate their financial situation and consider the terms and conditions of the loan before applying for a bank loan.

Venture Capital

Venture capital is a type of funding provided by investors who are willing to take on high-risk investments in exchange for potential high returns. These investors, known as venture capitalists, typically invest in early-stage or high-growth companies that have the potential to disrupt industries or create innovative solutions. 

Venture capital funding can be a great option for businesses that have high growth potential but may not have access to traditional funding sources. However, it's important to note that venture capitalists often have strict criteria and may require a significant equity stake in the company in return for their investment.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are individuals who provide financial support to start-up companies in exchange for equity ownership or convertible debt. They are typically high-net-worth individuals with industry experience who can offer not only capital but also valuable expertise and connections. 

Working with angel investors can be a great way for entrepreneurs to access funding and tap into a network of experienced professionals. Sadly, though, this is one of the types of traditional funding options that's harder to obtain.

Alternative Funding Options

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an alternative funding option that has gained popularity in recent years. It allows entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business ventures by collecting small amounts of money from a large number of people. This method is often used for innovative projects or social causes. 

Crowdfunding platforms provide a plan of action for entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and attract potential investors. Some popular crowdfunding platforms include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe, just to name a few. 

One of the advantages of crowdfunding is that it allows entrepreneurs to validate their ideas and gather feedback from the market before launching their products or services. However, there are some disadvantages too, including the pressure to deliver, the risk of intellectual property theft, and the high fees charged by some crowdfunding platforms.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending is an alternative funding option that has gained popularity in recent years. It allows individuals to lend money directly to businesses without the involvement of traditional financial institutions. 

This type of funding can be beneficial for both borrowers and lenders: the first can access funds quickly and easily, while the latter have the opportunity to earn attractive returns on their investment. 

Here are some key points to keep in mind when considering peer-to-peer lending:

  • Diversify your investments: Spread your investments across multiple loans to reduce the risk of default.
  • Research the platform: Look for platforms with a good track record and positive reviews from other borrowers and lenders.
  • Understand the fees: Be aware of any fees associated with the platform, such as origination fees or servicing fees.
  • Evaluate your creditworthiness: Lenders will assess your creditworthiness before approving your loan application, so having a good credit history is important.

Government Grants

Government grants are typically offered by government agencies and organizations to support specific industries or promote economic development. They can be a great option for entrepreneurs looking for non-repayable funds to start or grow their businesses.

One advantage of government grants is that they provide a significant source of funding without the need for repayment or giving up equity. This financial support can be crucial for research, small businesses, nonprofits, or specific projects that align with the grant criteria. 

A notable disadvantage is the extensive application process and competition. Applying for government grants often involves complex paperwork, stringent eligibility criteria, and stiff competition from other organizations or individuals vying for the same funding. The process can be time-consuming and requires careful attention to detail, with no guarantee of success even after putting in substantial effort.

Choosing the Right Funding Option

When deciding on the right funding option for your business in Portugal, there are several factors to consider: 

  • Assess your business needs and goals: Are you looking for short-term or long-term funding? Do you need a large investment or a smaller amount? Is the money enough to launch your business?
  • Consider the terms and conditions of each funding option: Are there any restrictions or requirements that may affect your business? Are you familiar with Portuguese compliance laws and taxes?
  • Think about the level of control and ownership you are comfortable with: Are you giving away too much control of your company? Some funding options, like venture capital or angel investors, may require giving up a percentage of ownership.
  • Evaluate the financial stability and reputation of the funding source: Can you trust your bank and/or investors? It's important to work with reputable and reliable institutions or individuals who can provide the necessary support and resources.

It's only by carefully considering these factors that you can make an informed decision and choose the funding option that best suits your business needs.

Considerations for Business Owners

Before settling on one or more business funding options in Portugal, consider the following:

  • Risk vs. Reward: Different funding options come with different levels of risk and potential rewards. It's important to carefully evaluate the risks and rewards associated with each option before making a decision.
  • Cost of Funding: Business owners should consider the cost of funding, including interest rates, fees, and any equity or ownership stakes that may be required. Comparing the costs of different funding options can help determine the most affordable and beneficial option.
  • Business Goals: Business owners should align their funding options with their long-term business goals. For example, if the goal is rapid growth, venture capital or angel investors may be more suitable; if the goal is maintaining control and independence, traditional bank loans may be a better fit.

Next Steps

  • Research and compare the different traditional and alternative funding options mentioned in this article.
  • Assess your business needs and financial goals to determine the most suitable funding option.
  • Seek advice from financial professionals or business advisors to ensure you make informed decisions.
  • Start the application process for the chosen funding option, ensuring all required documentation is prepared and submitted.

Remember, finding the right funding option for your business is crucial for its growth and success, so please take the time to explore and evaluate your options wisely.

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Written by Bernardo Barbosa

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Rauva is partnered with Swan who will be providing all payment services to Rauva clients. Rauva does not have access to client funds. Funds are kept in accounts provided by Swan, held in BNP Paribas. Swan is an EMI, based in France, supervised, and regulated by ACPR/Banque de France. Swan is authorized to carry out such services in Portugal and registered with Banco de Portugal under the registration number 7893.
Rauva is a certified accounting firm, but is not a certified legal services provider. As such, Rauva does not provide legal services. Rauva acts as an intermediary who facilitates the introduction to our customers of legal services partners who are legally registered and certified in Portugal. A list of Rauva’s partners can be found here.