Open Innovation program

Designed to connect startups like yours with industry-leading corporations


Innovation Partners

Who can apply

For startups ready to run pilots and/or scale sales within


Empower the transition to renewable energy and support customers accelerate their path towards decarbonization

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Increase employees’ engagement, productivity, autonomy and wellbeing through improved communication and work tools

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Promote new and more sustainable forms of mobility, as well as the transition towards greener buildings

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Improve fan engagement and empower sports performance by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence for data insights

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Innovate Urban Planning through data, and leverage the power of technology to increase the circularity of the built world

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Committed Partners

Companies eager to partnering with startups to address their challenges

Experienced Partners

Companies with track record in collaborating with startups

Industry Expertise

Industry expertise from innovation and technical teams


Do you have a game-changing idea that aligns with our program's vision? Apply now to become a part of Emerging Tech and take your startup to new heights.

Nov 28 - Jan 10

'Ask Me Anything' Sessions

- 7 Dec: Sports Tech
- 11 Dec: Green Buildings & Mobility
- 12 Dec: Urban Planning
- 13 Dec: CleanTech
- 14 Dec: Future of Work
- 10 Jan: General Program

Feb 29

Applications Close

Mar 5 - Apr 8


Selection of 3 startups per vertical to participate in the program

Apr 11 - Jun 30


Design and plan a potential collaboration with the corporate partner

Jul 10


Virtual presentation of the progress achieved through the program

Our Impact

Previous Programs




Startup Avg. funding






What I enjoyed the most was meeting the tourism board, and the hospitality organisations, now we have a lot of collaborations.

Amit Shamni

The program was a real eye opener to what it is to do business in Portugal and the importance of the tourism sector here.

Antoine Belaieff

I highly recommend the program. One of the benefits was identifying companies we can have future collaborations with.

Jeff Kischuk


Innovation Partners




What is Emerging Tech?

Emerging Tech is an Open Innovation program organised by Unlimit, in partnership with EDP INOVAÇÃO SA, Câmara Municipal da Maia, CTT – Correios de Portugal S.A, Gaiurb – Urbanismo e Habitação E.M,  and Sport Lisboa and Benfica. The aim is to accelerate innovation in CleanTech, Future of Work, Green Buildings & Mobility, Sports Tech and Urban Planning sectors in Portugal, by connecting the companies operating in the industry with disruptive startups from all over the world.

The goal is to identify mature and innovative tech solutions to support companies in solving their key challenges and address the strategic areas, while opening sales for startups to generate new business opportunities.

Why should I apply to Emerging Tech?

Emerging Tech is a dedicated program to give you direct access to our partners’ innovation and technical teams, to evaluate the fit of your solution to their needs and to design a potential collaboration. These companies are the top in Portugal in their industries, and each has launched a specific challenge: EDP in Cleantech, CTT in Green Buildings & Mobility, Sport Lisboa and Benfica in Sports Tech, Synopsys in Future of Work, and Gaiurb in Urban Planning. 

Through this program, you will also leverage expert insights from industry leaders in these areas, as well as access a network of investors.

Who are we looking for?

International startups established for +1 year and less than 7 years

Startups with solutions capable of addressing one of the challenges in CleanTech, Future of Work, Green Buildings & Mobility, Urban Planning and Sports Tech.

Ready to run pilots and/or scale sales in one year

Do I have to go to Portugal to participate in the program?

No, the program will run remotely.

Do we have to pay to participate in the program? Do you take any equity?

The program is free of charge or equity.

What is the timeline of the program?

  • Applications: 13 Nov, 2023 to 29 Feb, 2024
  • Selecting Startups:  5 Mar to 8 Apr 2024
  • Designing the Engagement: 11 Apr to 30 Jun 2024
  • Demo Day: 10 Jul

How many startups will be selected to participate in the program?

Overall, 3 startups will be selected for each vertical of the program.

What are Emerging Tech’s thematic areas of focus?

CLEANTECH (powered by EDP)

Empower the transition to renewable energy and support customers accelerate their path towards decarbonization

  • Accelerate Transition towards Renewable Energy
    • Facilitate global deployment of renewable energy sources and increase the value of existing assets
    • Develop solutions to help EDP reach its renewables installed capacity targets
    • Enable transition in sectors with higher carbon intensity through innovative projects in hydrogen
  • Strengthen the Grid of the Future
    • Leverage the existing grid infrastructure to enhance resiliency, flexibility, and efficiency, all while exploring new adjacent growth opportunities
    • Enable energy transition by providing smart networks
    • Increase flexibility needs by building on existing and developing new capabilities
  • Energise Client Innovation
    • Support B2C and B2B clients in their decarbonization path and boost the development of distributed energy resources
    • Enable the transition to electric mobility and provide related services
    • Promote the decarbonization of energy usage by developing new solutions and facilitating its adoption


FUTURE OF WORK (powered by Câmara Municipal de Gaia)

Increase employees’ engagement, productivity, autonomy and wellbeing through improved communication and work tools.

  • Enhance employees’ autonomy with HR processes and promote their wellbeing
    • Evaluate and track employees’ mood and provide suggestions for wellbeing enhancement
    • Leverage AI and other technologies to support employees navigate company’s HR rules, processes and tools
    • Facilitate access to HR documentation
    • Give autonomy to employees to get their answers clarified through automatic Q&A systems
  • Enable efficient internal communication to promote engagement
    • Leverage new tools to simplify internal communication and make it more effective
    • Share and make the company’s culture more tangible to engage employees
    • Empower employees through internal communication
  • Increase meeting’s efficiency through new tools and processes
    • Enhance communication through messaging, chat and video conferencing
    • Improve documentation and knowledge storage and sharing
    • Boost teamwork through collaborative tools


Promote new and more sustainable forms of mobility, as well as the transition towards greener buildings 

  • Enable the Adoption of Sustainable Transportation Alternatives
    • Enable the transition towards eco-friendlier solutions in the line haul transportation of postal cargo
    • Facilitate the last-mile delivery of the postman, from the distribution centre to the customer address
  • Accelerate the Transition towards Greener Buildings
    • Increase the implementation of renewable energy sources in warehouses, shops and administrative buildings
    • Promote the adoption of more sustainable practices and facilities management systems


SPORTS TECH (powered by Sport Lisboa Benfica)

Boost fan engagement and improve sports performance through data & AI

  • Leverage GenAI in Sports
    • Increase sports performance
    • Leverage AI to deepen the analysis on previously collected data on individual and team performance
    • Generate predictive insights and recommendations to improve performance and efficacy
  • Boost Fan Engagement
    • Increase fan engagement both in digital and in-person touchpoints
    • Leverage the data being collected to get to know the fans better and cluster them
    • Grab fans’ attention, communicate and react in real time


URBAN PLANNING (powered by Gaiurb)

Innovate Urban Planning through data, and leverage the power of technology to increase the circularity of the built world

  • Circular Construction
    • Increase the circularity of resources in the construction of buildings and infrastructures, and complementary activities
    • Facilitate the circularity of materials and enable circular behaviours in the urban and green public spaces through construction 
  • Optimise Data-driven Urban Planning
    • Increase data collection, analysis and insights generation of the city in real time, focused on weather conditions, movement of people, among others
    • Leverage the position of local food producers and suppliers to facilitate urban agricultural value chain 
  • Enable the Transition to Green Cities
    • Increase the relevance and utilisation of green spaces and urban farming towards the city wellbeing
    • Make city logistics more eco-friendly

What does the selection process look like?

  1. Submission of the general form, available here
  2. Submission of the form specific for the vertical (after the initial form)
    1. CleanTech
    2. Future of Work
    3. Green Buildings & Mobility
    4. Sports Tech
    5. Urban Planning
  3. If the application fits our criteria we might ask you additional questions and invite you to take part in the Pitch Sessions, in which you will be presenting your startup to the company’s innovation and/or technical team of the specific challenge
  4. Based on the evaluation criteria, up to 3 startups per vertical will be selected to participate in the program

How welcoming is the startup ecosystem in Portugal? Is it an issue to set up a company in Portugal without knowing the language?

Portugal is very welcoming for international people. Most Portuguese speak in English, especially in the startup world. Some authorities’ forms are in Portuguese, but there are many entities that can help you. You can also certify documents in both languages, not only in portuguese and it is acceptable. Most companies don’t have any problems with the language barrier

Who is Unlimit and what experience do you have?

Previously known as Acredita Portugal, Unlimit has already 15 years of experience in the portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem. As organizer of what was the biggest entrepreneurial contest in Portugal, and 2nd biggest in the world, Unlimit has already supported the development of more than 100000 new business ideas. 

Currently organizing the 3rd edition of Aceler@Tech, we leverage a wide range of partners in the travel and tourism industry, as well as a wide network of investors. We have also learned from our previous experience and feedback to organize the most valuable program for you.

Who are the partner companies?


EDP is among the largest players in the energy sector in Europe and the 4th largest producer of wind energy. It aims to build a new energy by promoting renewable sources, and has the goal of being 100% green by 2030. It operates in 29 markets and 44 different nationalities. 


Maia City Council

The municipality’s local authority is responsible for promoting the development of the region in all areas of life, such as health, education, and housing, the environment, spatial planning and urbanism, transport and communications. 


CTT – Correios de Portugal S.A, 

CTT is a logistics and distribution company with more than 500 years. Its vision includes being the partner of reference for companies, developing e-commerce and simplifying their physical and digital presence, as well as being people’s trusted brand for shipping and financial and insurance services. 


Gaiurb – Urbanismo e Habitação

Gaiurb is the company responsible for Urban Planning, Social Housing and Urban Rehabilitation for the Municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia. 


Sport Lisboa and Benfica

Benfica is the Portuguese club with the most supporters in the world (14 million), 5 million of them in Portugal. The club’s main senior men’s sport is football, but it also excels in other sports such as handball, basketball, futsal, roller hockey and volleyball. It is a brand with a fresh, aggressive and innovative communication.

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