Since travel isn’t what it used to be, we decided to travel the world through our Impact Shakers City Guides, in which a member of our community shares some of the highlights of their city’s impact ecosystem.
Today we are introducing you to an inspiring brand strategist, storyteller and platform manager in the vibrant city of Lisbon, Portugal! Cristina Almeida is head of platform at MAZE, an impact investing company that accelerates and invests in solutions for social and environmental challenges.
Cristina: MAZE was founded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2013 to answer the question ‘How can we create a positive impact on people and the planet?’. It is an impact investing company that accelerates and invests in solutions solving social and environmental challenges. We want to prove that impact investing is the greatest economic opportunity of our time.
I joined MAZE in 2017 to help impact-driven entrepreneurs tell their stories and create innovative solutions that will define the businesses of the future. When it comes to the impact startup ecosystem in Lisbon, I would say that this is the European capital of impact investing in the making. Besides many emerging startups focused on impact, entrepreneurs in Lisbon can find guidance and support from the many programmes, incubators, accelerators and government funding in this city that help impact entrepreneurs.
Check out this overview of the most important supporting initiatives in Lisbon:
The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is an organization with the mission to improve quality of life through art, charity, science and education, innovative programmes that develop pilot projects and support by providing scholarships and grants for institutions and social organisations.
Portugal Inovação Social is a government initiative aimed at promoting social innovation and stimulating the social investment market in Portugal. They mobilize around 150 million euro from the European Social Fund, which are channeled to funding projects that offer alternative and innovative solutions for social problems. This initiative is particularly special because it is the first of its kind in Europe. Portugal is the only Member State to set aside funds until 2020 to new financing instruments for innovation and social investment.
At Casa do Impacto, a Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub startups, institutions, companies and investors converge and work to develop projects with impact. Located at a restored convent in Lisbon, they are home to the major social and innovation players/initiatives in Portugal. Combining experienced startups and projects with early stage entrepreneurs, an incubation space, acceleration programs, events and a philanthropic fund for early stage social and impact startups.
IES is a Global Impact Business school bringing together people who want to solve the biggest societal challenges of our times.
Impact Hub Lisbon is a community of passionate and entrepreneurial people who want to bring about positive change through their ventures. They also host thought-provoking events, innovation labs, learning spaces and programs supporting positive impact. Their functional infrastructure allows people to connect, work, meet and learn.
Beta-I is a global collaborative innovation consultancy, they enable collaboration between all ecosystem actors, and have challenge-focused programmes.
Makesense is a global community that connects engaged citizens, entrepreneurs and organizations to build an inclusive and sustainable society together.
Startup Lisboa is an incubator supporting the creation of companies and their first years of activity since 2012. They provide entrepreneurs with office space as well as a support structure — mentoring, strategic partnerships and perks, access to investment, networking activities and a community based on knowledge and sharing.
Fábrica de Startups an accelerator and incubator program helping entrepreneurs with identifying business ideas, creating teams, designing their business model, finding customers and in the launching of the company.
Portuguese Women in Tech The Portuguese Women in Tech Community, launched in 2016 encourages women to take part of the Portugese startup scene bringing attention to the importance of female entrepreneurship by showcasing female entrepreneurs, telling the stories of the women building the Portugese tech startup scene, organizing events, workships, Web Summits and bigger events like Women in Tech Awards and their Women in Tech Speakers List.
Lisbon is also the home to many companies working on creating positive impact. Just to name a few to get you started:
Rnters With the rise of circular systems, renting is an increasing preference, especially when it comes to items you are not likely to use frequently enough to justify a purchase. This platform allows users to add any item, free of charge , and rent it to other members of the Rnters community.
Academia de Codigo´s boot camps help anyone go from noob to happily employed Junior FullStack Software Developer in just 14 weeks.
Ubbu seeks to turn young minds between 6–12 years old into future logical thinking, problem solvers and conscious, successful citizens by preparing them for the future with programming and creativity skills. Their programs are available both for schools and home.
SPEAK aims to break the isolation barrier. They bring together newcomers and locals living in the same city through community-led language groups and events. The experience was mainly offline, but due to health concerns their activities have switched to online, bringing new opportunities to connect with locals from the comfort of your home.
GoParity is an online peer-to-peer lending platform that simplifies investment and connects citizens, by offering them the opportunity to get competitive returns by investing in sustainable projects and making this possible from a very low initial investment sum.
They are driving the transition towards a more sustainable and inclusive economic system, by making investments in sustainable solutions accessible to all, from citizens to small enterprises.
Trigger Systems makes high-end filters and accessories for aquariums meant to last longer and provide great aesthetic value.
Chatterbox is an online learning platform that gives employees the tools to develop cultural intelligence whilst positively changing the world.
Panion, is an all-in-one community management platform that helps you grow, engage, and monetize your online community. It is designed to solve the distinct social challenges faced by large networks today. Empowering people to create more meaningful connections.
Movimento Transformers wants to increase people’s involvement in their communities through the activities they enjoy the most through a learning cycle and social participation.
At Bios they take energy and carbon waste from buildings and use it for growing plants, creating a truly smarter way for buildings to go green. Bios delivers clean-technology that facilitates zero carbon buildings with the ultimate aim to transform the future of Green Buildings by integrating indoor farming systems to recover wasted energy and optimize resources for circular solutions in buildings.
Want to connect and grow together with other value driven entrepreneurs? Apply here to join our global online impact entrepreneurship community.