Nova SBE

Future Cities,
Future Communities
Innovation Accelerator

Innovation Accelerator

Powered by Nova SBE

Why an Innovation Accelerator?

Because doing open innovation at a business school implies...

Walking the talk of an ecosystem approach for innovation, including all key stakeholders

  • Leveraging the role of research for applied knowledge and knowledge transferring.
  • Supporting students and early-stage entrepreneurs in their long-term commitment to change.

Why Future Cities, Future Communities?

  • To converge Smart Cities & Communities, and Hospitality & Customer Journeys circles in a systemic way.
  • Because we want to provide pipeline diversity for our Innovation Ecosystem members' journey.
  • Because we want to mix-up and explore Green Economy, Sustainable Cities and Service Providing at once, prior to exploiting them.
  • Because we want to tap into both citizen and customer journeys (and rights).
  • Because we need visionary innovation to dream and act
    beyond incremental.

About the Program and the UNL Index 

100 Research Contributions to Future Cities, Future Communities

In what (other) ways can Academia expand and apply its role as a dynamo of knowledge, creating bridges and generating results between the campus and the world? 

That's the starting point for the Future Cities, Future Communities program. 

Over seven months, the program was an integrating & distributing agent of knowledge and solutions for the participating organizations focusing on the European Green Deal – namely, through its three thematic verticals (check below) and four different tracks, dedicated to different stakeholders: Students and Early-stage Entrepreneurs; Startups and SMEs; Citizens Community; and Researchers. 

Through the Research Track, we are proud to present the "UNL Index - 100 Research Contributions to Future Cities and Communities". A time-lapse compilation of academic papers from the entire Universidade Nova de Lisboa Schools’ network which relate in multiple ways, directly and indirectly, to the program verticals’ topics. The result is a myriad of possibilities: from very fundamental, zoomed-in analysis on specific topics to broad views in many technical fields of knowledge.

On one hand, this is a concerted effort to celebrate and frame the power of UNL Research for the sake of society and the economy. On the other, it is a topic for further discussion, as the convergence of science and business is a mandatory challenge to any country and economy in the world. What more can be done?

Corporate Partners:


The Program

The Nova SBE Innovation Ecosystem invites researchers, startups, early-stage entrepreneurs, students, and SMEs to connect with a network of companies and investors from Portugal and abroad.

The program will operate across three distinct tracks: startups and SMEs; students and early-stage; and researchers. During the program, open to all participants, experts in the focus areas will be invited to share their knowledge and insights on key topics

  • Startups

    Unlock Opportunities:

    • Connect directly with influential decision-makers among our program partners. 

    • Get included in the Investors Portugal database

    • 10 companies will get a Golden Ticket – an invitation to come to Lisbon for an Ecosystem Safari and to be in-person at the Sharing Day!

  • SMEs

    Conversations with corporates can be held in Portuguese

    Fast-Track Success

    • Showcase your SME's unique value proposition and solutions instantly. 

    • Accelerate short-term tests and procurement processes. Receive guidance on transitioning to Carbon Neutrality

    • 10 companies will get a Golden Ticket – an invitation to come to Lisbon for an Ecosystem Safari and to be in-person at the Sharing Day!

  • Students & Early-stage Entrepreneurs

    If you aim for a second step after working on early-stage ideas through sprints, crash courses, workshops and hackathons, this post-kickstart was made for you!

    Join our Visioneurship Bootcamp to validate value proposition, explore the unit economics of your projects, and get the chance to share it with the program partners!

    Applications are already open.

  • Researchers

    If you’d like to broaden the dissemination and potential applicability of your academic work with municipalities, companies and investors, this track was made for you. 

    We’ll provide such a bridge while ensuring you have the legitimate space to share collaboration possibilities on your own terms.

    Applications are already open

We are looking for solutions and ideas in

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  • Carbon neutrality & Net Zero

    • Net Zero supply chain solutions.
    • Emission mitigation tools and services.
    • Assessment models.
    • Carbon oxide sink optimization.
    • Green bound strategies.
    • Emission Trading Systems for soil,
      air, space, water.
    • Analytics for regulation.

  • Urban Living, Proximity & Community Services

    • Mobility.
    • Neighbourhood retail solutions.
    • Last-mile delivery.
    • Multifunctional urban facilities.
    • Social business models.
    • Sustainability-based added value services.
    • Waste management.
    • Impact assessment models.
    • Analytics for Urban health.

  • Construction, Infrastructure & Architecture

    • New Materials.
    • Robotics & Automation.
    • Circularity management.
    • Modular & prefabricated solution.
    • Upcycling.
    • Building Information Modelling
      and methods.
    • Resources consumption efficiency.
    • Digital Twins.
    • 3D Printing and addictive manufacturing.
    • Environment-friendly design.

Do you have the ideal solution?



Your Innovation Journey

  • Startups & SMEs
    • Applications 

      Scouting for the most promising solutions and ideas.

      From February 5 to March 29

    • Matchmaking 

      3-day on-line event, where selected participants meet and discuss possible collaborations with partners

      From May 14 to 16

    • Co-development 

      After the matchmaking, selected companies will go deeper in conversation with corporate partners.

      From May 23 until Sharing Day

  • Students & Early-stage
    • Applications open

      All students from universities in Portugal and abroad are welcome!

      From April 15 to May 24

    • Idea Bootcamp

      2-day on-line bootcamp open to everyone who registers! Projects will be mentored on how to structure their ideas and pitch at the end.

      June 15 and 16

    • Pitch Bootcamp

      Selected projects from the Idea Bootcamp have a 1-day, on-line How to Pitch bootcamp.

      June 25

  • Researchers
    • Papers Submission

      We invite researchers from Portugal and abroad to submit their work. Research conducted at the Master's and PhD levels is highly encouraged.

      From April 15 to May 24

    • Future Cities, Future Communities Discussion Forum

      Selected works will be invited for a peer-to-peer discussion forum on the Nova SBE Campus.

      June 25

Sharing Day / July 2

The moment for all participants to share the work done in the previous months!


Where will it take place?

In line with the Accelerator's goal of carbon-neutrality, the program will be held on-line





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  • Banco Primus

    Pedro Herédia

    Business Development & PMO at Banco Primus

    Based in Lisbon, Banco Primus was founded in 2005 and is part of Groupe BPCE, the second largest banking group in France. With offices in Portugal and Spain, we operate within the consumer credit market, offering our customers, both individuals and corporate, responsible, simple and innovative auto and personal loans. Our statement “O seu Futuro Primeiro” (Your Future First) reflects our mission, the creation of benefits and opportunities for Customers, Partners, Employees and Shareholders. Nowadays, Banco Primus is honored to embrace over 130 Employees across Iberia, supporting more than 35.000 active Customers and circa 1.500 active Partners, constituting “Banco Primus´ family” with a unique IP and aligned to maintain the increasing footprint’s trend with an ambitious, sustainable and innovative strategy.

  • CM Cascais

    Marta Cotrim

    Head of Marketing and Innovation

    Providing services to its citizens and creating the best quality of life is the mission of the Cascais Council. Technology, data and service optimisation help to identify trends, needs, and to anticipate responses in the area. By constantly diagnosis, recognising the community's strengths and seeking more capable partners, makes it possible to provide innovative solutions to challenges.

    The Cascais Living Innovation Strategy unfolds a strong DNA of innovation and co-creation, promoting a macro and cross-sectoral vision that acts on: Governance (citizen-centred service design), Citizen (civic space and participation), Talent (entrepreneurship and HR training) and Future (social, economic and environmental sustainability).

  • Grupo ACA

    João Pedro Ferreira

    Head of Innovation

    ACA Group, a result of its sustained growth since 1982, positions itself today as one of the most relevant players in the Portuguese construction sector, given the diversity and excellence of its extensive portfolio of projects.

    With its origins in infrastructure (roads and bridges), the Group currently presents a vast portfolio of public and private works in all areas, including civil construction, urban redevelopment, communication routes, residential buildings, hospitality, rehabilitation, geotechnics, river works, landscaping, sports facilities, water systems, and waste management.

    The result of dynamic and innovative management, ACA Group reinvents itself every day to meet the new challenges posed to it, both nationally and internationally

  • Grupo Brisa

    Rita Ralha

    Innovation and Startup Engagement Lead at Brisa

    Grupo Brisa is the largest private operator of road infrastructure in Portugal. It has a solid foundation in the management of mobility and payment services and the development of technology for mobility.

    Its business segments are:

    • Motorway Concessions - Management of motorway concessions and cross-cutting support services, including O&M, assets management and other engineering services
    • Service Area Concessions - Quality assurance in services complementary to the customer's journey on our concessions, in the operation of the Service Areas
    • Mobility Services and Payments (Via Verde) - Electronic management and charging for road and other infrastructure services Integrated ecosystem for service delivery and advanced mobility solutions
    • Technology for Mobility (A-to-Be) - Development and marketing of technological solutions for efficient infrastructure and mobility management
    • Vehicle Inspection Services (Controlauto) - Services rendered related to the motor vehicle sector, including inspection and other adjacent services

  • LTP Labs

    Daniel Pereira

    Senior Manager

    LTPlabs pioneers AI and Advanced Analytics solutions for business, driving sales growth and operational efficiency to bolster sustainable profitability. Renowned as the Long-Term Partner for transformative performance enhancements, LTPlabs offers a unique blend of business acumen and analytics prowess. Specializing in tailored turnkey solutions, LTPlabs collaborates closely with clients to design and execute bespoke analytical strategies. Through enduring partnerships, LTPlabs delivers lightning-fast initiatives that also address sustainability challenges like energy efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable assortment planning, solidifying its reputation as a trusted ally in the analytical journey.

  • Morais Leitão

    Inês Vieira

    Associate Lawyer

    Morais Leitão is a leading and experienced full-service law firm in Portugal. Internationally recognized, Morais Leitão has earned a reputation for excellence among peers and clients for the high technical rigour of the services provided, solid ethical values and distinctive approach with cutting edge solutions, reflected in the successive and consistent recognition of awards granted to the firm and its individual lawyers.

    Through the Morais Leitão Legal Circle network, Morais Leitão has a team of more than 275 lawyers from offices in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Funchal and Singapore), Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde.

  • Pingo Doce/Jerónimo Martins

    Tiago Sampaio

    Innovation Director, Pingo Doce

    Pingo Doce is a Supermarket banner of the Jerónimo Martins Group. It was founded in 1980 and is the leading chain in the Supermarket segment in Portugal, offering high-quality food products at competitive prices. With more than 480 stores spread across 300 locations, we’re renowned for our expertise in perishables, private brands, and meal solutions that we bring to hundreds of our country’s cities and villages.

    Jerónimo Martins (JM), our parent company, is an international Group based in Portugal with over 230 years of know-how in the food business. It is ranked 47th in the Global Powers of Retailing 2023 list report. JM addresses the daily needs of millions of consumers in Portugal, Poland and Colombia through different brands and retail models, besides developing a large-scale agribusiness operation.

    At a Group level, some of our proudest recent achievements include a Eurocommerce "Future of European Commerce Award” for our Incluir Programme and classifications of AA and A- by CDP for our leadership in critical commodities' management. In Portugal, we highlight the 4 stars (out of 5) awarded by Lean & Green - the highest distinction awarded in the country - for reducing carbon emissions in logistics activities, and the “Sustainable Production, Responsible Consumption” seal awarded by the National Commission for the Fight against Food Waste. Find out more about us here!

  • Schréder


    Experts in LightabilityTM , Group Schréder specialises in outdoor lighting and smart cities' applications Group Schréder is the world leading independent outdoor lighting manufacturer with more than 2 million lighting points sold per year in various segments ranging from road, industry, tunnel, sports, as well as cities and communities. The company employs over 2,600 people worldwide and has sales representatives in more than 70 countries. Schréder was founded in 1907 in Liège, Belgium, as a family-owned company, and started its existence by exploring the new promising technology: electricity. With a century-long tradition of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, Schréder pushed the limits of its business towards smart lighting, broadening its expertise to not only light the urban environment but also bring more services to interact with the public space and its people.

    Schréder’s ambition is to bring meaningful moments to people in public spaces by enhancing safety, well-being, connectivity and sustainability. As such Schréder’s LightabilityTM experts work with customers to co-create lighting solutions for spaces that benefit people, the community and the planet. Schréder develops innovative global product platforms that can be easily configured and customised to specific customer and local markets’ requirements.

  • SIBS

    Miguel Gaspar

    Business Development and Innovation

    With four decades of history, SIBS provides modern, reliable and secure financial services, namely in the payments’ area, to more than 150 million users, in various geographies, on 4 continents, ensuring the global processing of more than 10 billion transactions per year.

    SIBS is responsible for managing the MULTIBANCO Network, in their multiple channels - from ATM and POS, to online or smartphones - and ATM Express. At the same time, SIBS is a national benchmark in Business Process Outsourcing and the Iberian Peninsula's leader in card production and personalisation.

    As well as being one of Europe's leading payment processors, SIBS is a reference in security and anti-fraud solutions and services, with a clear focus on areas such as cybersecurity, with a Security Operations Centre of excellence equipped with the best of its security technology and know-how.

    Through Portuguese technology, SIBS is consolidating its international presence, helping to boost the digital economy of Central and Eastern Europe through its activity in the Polish and Romanian markets.

    With innovation in its DNA, SIBS reinvented existing payment methods and, in 2015, created MB WAY, which already has 5 million users who make purchases, instant transfers and withdrawals using only their mobile phones.

    SIBS remains committed to its mission of being the partner of reference for public and private entities, creating value for society by developing and managing technology-based payment solutions, processes and related services that combine security, convenience and innovation, while respecting good behavioural principles and sustainability conditions.


    Ana Afonso

    Trade Marketing and Communications Manager

    ZEISS is a large international company leading in technology in the sectors of Optics and optoelectronics.

    Thanks to a strong brand and a portfolio aligned with future growth areas, including digitization, health, and smart production, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly improving the world of Optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant and sustainable investments in research and development establish the foundation for ZEISS's success and continuous expansion of technology and market leadership. With over 43,000 employees, ZEISS has an active global presence in more than 50 countries, with approximately 60 sales and service companies, 30 manufacturing units, and 27 development centers. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is currently headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany.

    The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of Germany's largest foundations dedicated to promoting science, is the sole owner of the holding company Carl Zeiss AG.

Want to know more about our Innovation Ecosystem?

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  • About the Future Cities, Future Communities Innovation Accelerator

    The first edition of the Future Cities, Future Communities Innovation Accelerator (FCFC) will be held in a hybrid format – mainly virtually, but with the opportunity for some participants to attend the Sharing Day in person.

    Working with different tracks, the program will target startups, SMEs, students and early-stage, and researchers, with full support from the Nova SBE team throughout.

    Startups and SMEs will get the chance to meet and discuss collaboration formats with the program partners.

    Students and early stage will go through an acceleration journey to help them structure their ideas and foster their entrepreneurial spirit.

    And researchers will get the chance to share their work with peers and to explore possible collaborations with the program partners.

  • What’s in it for startups and SMEs?

    By joining FCFC, startups have the chance to engage in conversations with the corporate partners to explore collaboration formats. SMEs have the opportunity to fast-track their procurement process, by gaining access to key decision makers within the partners.

  • What stage startup and SMEs are the partners looking for?

    The partners support a variety of startups at different stages.

  • What are the selection criteria the start-ups are assessed against?

    The partners look for:

    • The experience of the start-up team
    • The maturity of the product, solution or idea
    • The level opportunity in the market the start-up is targeting
    • The potential profitability of the business model
    • The fit of the start-up to the needs of the partners

  • How does a start-up apply to FCFC?

    Applications to Future Cities, Future Communities are done on You can find the apply button here in the program website. To start the application process, you will need to register and create a profile.

    The application process should take about 5m.

  • How does a SME apply to FCFC?

    For SMEs, applications are done using an Office Forms. You can access it using the link in the program website.

    The application process should take about 20m.

  • What happens when the application is submitted?

    The Nova SBE team go over all applications and suggest the startups and SMEs that best fit the partners interests. However, partners have access to all applications, and it is their decision to select startups and SMEs to the next phase.

    The startups and SMEs selected by the partners will be invited to a 3-day, on-line matchmaking event, where those selected will have the chance to meet 1:1 with the some of the partners.

    After the matchmaking event, partners select those who they are interested in going deeper in exploring possible collaborations.

  • When will a start-up or SME know if they have been successful in their application?

    With applications closing on March 22nd 2024, startups and SMEs selected for the matchmaking event will be notified in the week of the 22nd of April.

  • What happens after the program?

    Startups, SMEs and partners can go on collaborating after the program is over in July.

  • What happens for start-ups and SMEs that apply but don’t get to join the program?

    Even if start-ups and SMEs apply and don’t get selected, the application will be viewed by the Nova SBE team and will make up the program’s data base for future opportunities.

  • What about students, early stage, and researchers?

    Stay tuned for more information! Applications to these tracks will open in mid-April – and more info will be shared then!

  • Got more questions?

    Get in touch with the FCFC team by sending us an email below.

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