You may remember last month our own Robin Wauters was in Lisbon at the Switch conference and was shocked – shocked! to find out there are tech startups in Portugal.

Well, part of that story is an effort to support startups by the non-profit band of salty sea dogs known as Startup Pirates.

Not even a year old, the organisation has done some fast work setting up shop and helping others to do the same. Along with the yo-ho-hos and a bottle of rum, it is pushing expansion through ten countries and helping 1000 young entrepreneurs get their startups going.

“Over the next months, we’ll bring together entrepreneurs, changemakers and young wannabe entrepreneurs to inspire, influence, learn from each other and work together to develop business ideas and to launch new start-ups,” says Startup Pirates co-founder and Chief Pirate Officer, Inês Silva.

Though we’re slightly disappointed that statement didn’t end with ‘Yaaarrrr!”, we are impressed with the work the organisation does and the passion with which it supports startups.

The organisation sets up one-week acceleration programs around the world and through a combination of training, mentoring and idea development, it pushes entrepreneurs in the making to structure and develop their ideas.

pirates520 Startup Pirates supports 1000 entrepreneurs setting sail with their business

At the end of the week, as you might expect with any accelerator worth it’s salt, Startup Pirates gives them the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors and successful business leaders.

Startup Pirates is certainly ambitious. To follow through with events in ten different countries including Bratislava, Spain, South Africa, China, Brazil, Poland and Holland is no mean feat. It’s website also calls for others to organise events on their own turf in order to spread the wealth.

“We are working hard to help as many young entrepreneurs as possible” says Silva. “We live in a world where 200 million young people are unemployed and where most young people lack the skills and knowledge needed to create a successful company. We have a long way ahead of us, but we believe entrepreneurship and Startup Pirates is the way to go.”

Startup Pirate’s success seems to be linked to its integration within the local startup ecosystem, it says, “More than organizing events we want the local startup scene to see us as partners and friends”

The first event ran in September last year in Porto and it spurred the organisers on to create on in Lisbon. The result of this experience turned out to five startups in progress, one startup in Chile, one participant, Uniplaces, closed on  €200,000 in seed investment and 2 local startups selected for a local Portuguese accelerator.

Not a bad work for one year on the high seas with a fleet of startups. It’s encouraging to see the amount of accelerators and incubators working to provide support for small businesses.

While Europe continues to struggle with economic problems and unemployment remains high, it’s possible that starting your own business is a better solution than clinging on to a job that may be facing cuts. As the Startup Pirates say, “Be Brave, Be Crazy, Be a Pirate”, which might not be so crazy after all.

Startup Pirates

Image Credit: OakleyOriginals