In order to support investment in Portuguese companies operating in sectors related to the ocean, the so-called blue economy, the European Investment Fund (FEI) joined the Development Financial Institution (IFD) creating 'Portugal Blue' to mobilize more than 75 million euros of private, public and European capital.
The new partnership - Portugal Blue, consists of a fund-of-funds subscribed for 25 million euros by each of the institutions and should also attract an additional 25 million euros of private capital from institutional investors in line with climate action priorities, as well as with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations.
Portugal Blue wants to mobilize more than 75 million euros of private, public and European capital to foster the ecosystem of the Portuguese blue economy, providing venture capital and expansion to more than 30 companies, at all stages of development. The investment program will cover up to 70% of the size of the selected funds, in order to enhance the critical capacity of the local blue economy platform. In addition, the program will select one or two teams to operate from Portugal, with a deep knowledge of the Portuguese blue ecosystem and who intend to act in accordance with the Financial Principles of the Sustainable Blue Economy.
The FEI will be responsible for selecting investment teams, and the application phase is already underway following the launch of a public call for expressions of interest.
Alain Godard, director general of the FEI, says that “the launch of Portugal Blue is an important milestone for the FEI, since it consists of the first venture capital partnership entered into with a national development institution with a goal of positive impact in the fields sustainable development and climate action. The success of this pilot initiative will serve as a reference for similar partnerships that may be established in the future ”.
EIB vice-president Ricardo Mourinho Félix also commented on the initiative, saying that “investing in the sea and the marine ecosystem and ensuring its sustainability is of the utmost importance for Portugal, especially in the context of the recovery of the Portuguese economy. This initiative is unique and will allow to support startups, SMEs and MidCaps in Portugal, which add value within the scope of the blue economy and, in doing so, promote climate action and sustainable and inclusive development in a Europe that assumes the priceless value of the Oceans ”.
IFD's administrator, Frederico Serras Gago, considered that “Portugal Blue is a historic operation that reinforces the strategic relationship between IFD and the FEI. This third program builds on the existing Portugal Tech and Portugal Growth programs, now contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and environmental, social and governmental policies (ESG). This investment in Portugal Blue represents a firm commitment to the blue economy in Portugal. »
Finally, the chairman of the Fundo Azul management board, Helena Vieira, concluded that “Portugal Blue represents an extraordinary investment opportunity for Fundo Azul, the fund of the Ministry of the Sea, allowing us to invest directly in the Portuguese blue economy and in its agents, promoting innovative companies, blue entrepreneurship and the conservation and sustainability of the oceans combined with climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals ”.