Facing a desolate job market, young university graduates in Portugal are being forced to rethink their career plans. This FRANCE 24 report focuses on two young entrepreneurs adapting — with success — to the changing times.
With its abandoned buildings and quiet streets, the Baixa Pombalina, Lisbon’s historic commercial district, has gone into hibernation. This once vibrant part of the Portuguese capital appears resigned to the economic chill that has descended upon the country. But at 30 Rua da Prata — the former silversmiths’ street — spring has come.
“People are always looking for local service providers, from plumbers to web designers and photographers. The website also includes a rating system that allows providers to build their reputation online,” he explains.
Newcomers to the labour market with few chances of finding a comfortable job have been forced to take risks and to rethink their place in the workforce. In less than a year, Startups Lisboa has received more than 600 applications. Many more than Joao Vasconcelos, its president, can accept.
Back to the land
A hundred kilometres from the capital, Almeirim is a small town in the Portuguese countryside. Vast plains irrigated by the Tagus River stretch out for miles. It is a far cry from Silicon Valley, but young people have also started dozens of companies here. With funds from the state and the European Union, many are turning back to agriculture. According to government data, around 260 new farms are being created in Portugal each week.
Anna Duarte is among the new generation of farmers that have settled around Almeirim. With her flowing hair, big sunglasses and chunky necklace, Duarte seems a better fit at Startups Lisboa. Only her knee-high rubber boots give away her newly adopted work sector.
Duarte confesses that if she had a new job opportunity in Lisbon, she would not hesitate to drop the lettuce and rubber boots. But until that day, she says she has found her place. “It’s a new phase of my life. It is also one that is quieter and less stressful.
Date created : 2013-01-25