Lisbon Experience for Young Entrepreneurs

To be able to share something about the experience I’ve been having here in Lisbon, we need to go back to my first working day. By now, it has been three full weeks. In the weekend of 5 January 2019, I had arrived at Lisbon airport. I found the metro which brought me to my accommodation. The metro is the lifeline of the city that brings me were I need to be most of the time. To work however, I walk.

Monday morning. First day. A small 15 minutes uphill and a small 15 minutes downhill. The stones of the pavement are small, smooth, bright and shiny. Yes, they are indeed as slippery as they sound. Watching my step, keeping my balance, preparing to correct a sliding foot at all times would become part of my daily routine. "Is this journey I’ve embarked on in Lisbon as slippery as the stones I walk on in the pavement?" This thought crossed my mind on my first day while I pondered about being introduced to the 5 year old company of one of Lisbon’s greatest startup entrepreneurs. I didn’t know then yet if we were going to reach all targets for the month or if I would be able to contribute to it. I didn’t know yet if the progress I was making for my business research would exceed my expectations. I wasn’t aware yet that I was going to work side-by-side with an extremely driven international orientated team, that was down-to-earth, result-oriented and that we were even going to have fun while going after these extremely ambitious targets.

I straightened the collar of my jacket. It was colder than I had hoped for. True, it was some degrees warmer than in Amsterdam. The difference was there is no heating in my accommodation here. You don’t warm up as easily, so overall you might even feel colder. I won’t deny that one of the reasons I had chosen Lisbon was to escape another cold and grey Dutch winter. I didn’t know yet at that time that at noon the sky would crack open blue and it would feel as if every beam of sun was made for me. Yes, the average temperature was not as high as I had hoped for in January, but I didn’t know yet the hearts of the people would’ve had plenty of sun during the year. They glow and receive you with open arms. I would have to discover that on the jam sessions I participated in, the company culture I would be active in or during the conversations with new contacts for my business research.

I look at the shops I cross as my curiosity for what is going on in the physical world around me takes over from my anticipating thoughts on what is coming. The unknown words on the shops would soon become familiar. I would learn not only that a ‘padaria’ is a bakery, but also that a Padaria could provide me with ‘Pão de Deus’, bread of the gods, which honors its name. I would be still having to experience the joy of learning a new language together with a class of highly motivated evening students that would be able to apply their learning into their Lisbon live’s straight away. When I would see how that joy makes me want to learn, it would make me wonder if we are doing something wrong with the high school system where it didn’t come to me as easily. Or maybe it’s just me. I stop. Google Maps says I’m here. I look around and see the building of the company. I’ve made my way across the slippery stones without falling and without a full face plant which gives me some relief. At least the walk was exciting. Maybe I’m going to be alright. I look at the numbers at the office building and ring the doorbell. ‘Bom Dia’, and 30 smiles, handshakes and kisses greet me.

Launching into the Netherlands. He is helping Portuguese startups/Scale-ups/SME’s/ with their internationalstrategy by connecting them to the expertise they need. Menno van Dam is with a partner also developing a new service for professionals in the Dutchmarket


Menno van dam (NL)
My current activities revolve around entrepreneurship, innovation, tech and startups. I facilitate new value creation.
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