Web Summit reduces to 40 thousand participants on return to Lisbon | Entrepreneurship
The executive president of Web Summit, Paddy Cosgrave, said this Tuesday to expect around 40,000 participants in this year’s edition, which takes place in Lisbon between 1 and 4 November. On the political turnaround in the capital’s local authority with the election of Carlos Moedas (PSD) to the presidency of the Lisbon City Council, Cosgrave believes that everything will remain as it is when it comes to the collaboration between the city and the Web Summit.
“The election only took place on Sunday and it’s too early to comment, but I don’t expect any change,” said the Irish-born enrichment. Praising Fernando Medina (PS), “a very good president” who lost the council leadership in the municipal advantages of 26 September, Cosgrave said he has his hopes in Coins. “I know him from his time as a European commissioner. Lisbon will be very well served for the future. ”
As for the expected crowd, it is a reduction of about 42% compared to the 70 thousand participants who were in 2019 in the last edition with physical presence of this technological conference.
In 2020, it will only be organized in an online format, due to the constraints imposed by the fight against the covid-19 pandemic.
A decision welcomed for helping to control health, but which was also associated with a controversy: the contract provides for an annual support of 11 million euros from Portugal; the organization did not relinquish this amount, and the state paid, despite promoting an edition in virtual mode.
The co-founder of the conference, which is now returning to physical format in the Portuguese capital after a year of interruption, points out that, at the beginning, an organization pointed to ten thousand participants, but that number was after growing in recent months.
“And now we expect a maximum of 40,000 people from around the world,” added Cosgrave, who was speaking at Tuesday’s press conference to present the 2021 edition.
Entry into the venue requires presentation of a certificate of immunity or a negative PCR test valid for the 72 hours of the event.
“Excellent” for tourism, says Siza Vieira
In turn, the Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, considered the expected number of participants “excellent news for the economy of the city and the country”.
The minister highlighted the fact that, this year, there are “the conditions to finally physically return to Parque das Nações and to the pavilion of Altice Arena and to FIL”.
“It is very good to recognize that the bet that I proclaimed a few years ago in setting the Web Summit in Portugal will make an essential contribution to the recovery of our activity, essentially in the middle of the so-called low autumn season”, he points out.
“We will coincide with the realization of the Web Summit a better visualization and status of the state of our entrepreneurship network”, he said, saying that during a pandemic there was “an acceleration effect of the digital transition” in which “many companies, lots of beginners no technological sector grew very sick”.
The government official pointed out that, in the last year, two more Portuguese companies achieved the status of “unicorn” [valorizações de mercado acima da fasquia de mil milhões de dólares] and that there is now a set of beginners that present themselves to the world with innovative models.
Government requests study and promises support
The minister also said that two important measures will be taken. “First of all, we hope to be able to physically carry out the first general assembly of the European Startup Nations Alliance”, in Portugal, during a Web Summit.
“It will also be an opportunity to present our new support package for entrepreneurship and innovation, which will coincide with the increased dynamism that we intend to bring” to this ecosystem.
Siza Vieira added that the collaboration with a Web Summit “has been very positive for the country”, noting that the University of Minho was asked to carry out an assessment of the economic and fiscal impact of the summit.
“Clearly this is a winning bet. In 2019, we had 70 thousand visitors, an impact on domestic demand of around 72 million euros and an impact on national tax revenue of 24.9 million euros”.
But from an international point of view, from the perception that international observers have about the Web Summit, “what we quickly concluded is that the economic impact of the Web Summit goes far beyond these direct numbers”, he stressed.
From the program, the return of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. The scientist was one of the biggest figures in the 2018 edition, the year he took the stage at the opening ceremony to analyze the risks of anonymity, privacy and corporate power, demanding “ responsibility” to software developers.
Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder Brad Smith (Microsoft), American actress and author Amy Poehler; United Nations Development Program actor and Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister of The Game of Thrones) are other names highlighted by the organization, which invited 1000 speakers, receives 1250 startups (including 40 with “unicorn” status), 700 investors and expects coverage by 1500 journalists.