‘Everywhere you go it’s buzzing and electric’ – Bloomberg
What do have the Portuguese António Guterres (Secretary-General United Nations), the Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (Nobel Peace Prize laureate), the American Al Gore (former vice-president), the Chinese Meng Hongwei (president of Interpol), the British Suzy Menkes (editor Vogue), the French Francois Hollande (former president), the Russian Garry Kasparov (former world chess champion), the Brazilian Julio Cesar (goalkeeper), the Irish Kenny Jacobs (CMO Ryanair), the Greek George Papandreou (former prime-minister) and the Saudi robot Sophia in common?
They are all speakers on the Web Summit 2017 (November 6-9), Europe’s largest technology and digital culture conference to be held in the Altice/MEO Arena in Lisbon ( http://www.websummit.net)
In 2016 – when the summit was held in Lisbon for the first time – almost 53,000 people attended, including 20,000 companies and over 2000 journalists from 166 countries (http://lusolobo.com/silicon )
This year the event will be even bigger. Networking and pitches (selling ideas ) are keywords, getting to know each other and looking for investment.
Not only at the conference itself but also at the ‘night summit’ downtown.
But what has actually been the result of Web Summit 2016? Which international companies could be enticed to settle in the country? Which impulses were given to attract startups and young people, that are badly needed for the future of the local economy and the demographic equilibration in an aging population?
It is estimated that the 2016 Summit injected 200 million euros into the national economy.
However, half of it was absorbed by the local hotel industry and suppliers, directly linked to the event.
So, why another summit in Portugal? To promote more tourism? To sell the few digital companies to international investors, losing, even more, local know-how? Or serves the summit as a platform for people, who love to take selfies and posts on social media, saying ‘look at me how I succeeded to enter a place, where a ticket costs nearly € 1000 and industrial hotshots tell us how to gather fortunes?’
Ana Lehman, the Secretary of State for Industry, emphasizes the importance of the event and hopes the summit will remain in Lisbon for some years to come. She disagrees with the criticism. “You have to go there and see for yourself. We know dozens of companies that had contracts closed during the summit.”
BOM FIM DE SEMANA (photo’s Observador/Sapo)