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Portugal Take off  

Portugal To Take off is a program focused on accelerating the growth of Portuguese companies in California. The first edition started on June 25th, 2021. Meet the portuguese companies that had the chance to polish their go-to-market strategy by Silicon Valley experts and gain access to California.


Our unique approach is focused on tackling the challenges most entrepreneurs face when entering the North American market.

Workshops & Mentorship
– Our California-based mentors will validate your business value proposition and market approach, provide you feedback about your commercial presentation, identify potential customers, etc. They will challenge your vision and strategy through personalized insights.

Networking - We will connect you to relevant contacts, industry leaders and potential customers in California.


How it works 

AICEP has selected two Executives in Residence that will work and mentor 8 companies for 5 months, according to the timeline below.



The companies will be selected based on their fit to the Californian market, and commitment to enter the market and build up a solid presence.



What types of companies are we looking for?

We are looking to support early-stage tech-enabled companies with customers in Portugal or Europe. We are open to work with Business to Business or Business to Consumer companies with a strategy to enter the US market.


How are the final participant companies chosen? What is the criteria?

We will select 8 companies that have a differentiated product that could be interesting for the Californian market. Experience with other overseas markets would be a plus. It could be a tech company or a company from a more traditional sector (e.g. food, fashion, home decoration, etc), but with a significant digital approach. The executive team should have a market strategy and budget to create significant impact in the market.

In detail, we will select the companies based on Product Market Fit and the Impact of Project for the Portuguese Economy as detailed here


How does the application process work?

The application process begins online, with an application form, all in English. The questions are geared towards giving us an understanding of both your business needs and the commitment to enter the market. Shortlisted candidates are invited for video conference interviews conducted in English.

What can you expect from the program?

During the course of the program, you will attend workshops and one-on-one meetings with the Executives in Residence (EIR) that will give you feedback on your go-to-market strategy and assist you in preparing the commercial presentation. Additionally, they and AICEP will facilitate access to potential customers, partners and investors. 


Although every effort will be made to keep this calendar, AICEP will closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation evolves we may take some contingency scenarios that may imply delaying or postponing some activities, which will not in itself make AICEP liable.


What if the travel ban to and from US goes beyond September?

We expect to organize all the program activities forseen until September, including some one to one meetings, remotely. The in person activities that involves flying to US will occur only on October. We will try that you make the most out of the program, so we may have to adapt the program, depending on the circumstances, which may imply delaying the travel to San Francisco or doing the meetings remotely.

Does AICEP provide accommodation in California for participants?

You will be expected to participate in the various travel activities of the program, including two trips to California to meet potential customers, partners or investors. You will need to cover all travel and accommodation expenses associated with these elements of the program and you will be responsible for obtaining any visas or other travel authorizations required.

How much does the program cost?

The program is free of charges but you will have to pay your travel expenses.

Additionally, you should be prepared to develop market approaches and participate in the activities of the program, mainly workshops, mentorships, one a one meetings with potential customers and demo day

What is the role of the incubation partners?

The incubation partners network are Portuguese entrepreneurship ecosystem players, like Incubators, Universities, R&D Centers, Business Associations, who have been helping the company, especially in the internationalization and will continue support after the program.

Together, we share a common goal: to support and accelerate the growth of Portuguese companies. For further information: aicep.s.francisco@portugalglobal.pt

Who are the incubation partners?