Networking: The Web Summit’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave at Europe’s biggest tech conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal. Picture: REUTERS
Networking: The Web Summit’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave at Europe’s biggest tech conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal. Picture: REUTERS

Lisbon — Europe’s largest tech event, the Web Summit, will remain in Lisbon for another 10 years, its founder Paddy Cosgrave said on Wednesday in a boost to Portugal’s aspirations of becoming a technology hub.

Under the agreement, Portugal’s government will pay Web Summit €11m a year to expand the venue, expecting that the number of participants will eventually grow from 70,000 last year to 100,000.

"Staying here for another 10 years brings us so much certainty," Cosgrave told journalists at a press conference where he was joined by Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

"My heart and the team’s heart are in Lisbon."

Lisbon scored a big coup when Web Summit moved from Dublin to Portugal in 2016, helping a recovery in its capital after the 2011/2014 debt crisis.

The original idea was for Web Summit to stay for three years in Lisbon and then move to other European venues. More than 20 European cities competed to host the summit.

When Web Summit was launched in Dublin in 2010 it had 400 participants. It now draws speakers from leading global technology companies and politicians, as well as technology entrepreneurs hoping to attract attention to their start-ups.

"It puts Portugal at the heart of the global conversation about tech and innovation," Costa said.

The government estimates that the event itself generates €300m for Lisbon in revenues during the week it takes place in November.

The agreement with Portugal obliges Web Summit to pay the country €3bn if it were to decide to leave before the end of 10 years. This amount is the minimum expected economic boost for Portugal from hosting the event, said a statement.

The original idea was for Web Summit to stay for three years in Lisbon and then move to other European venues. More than 20 European cities competed to host the summit.

The event is held in the pavilions built for Lisbon’s 1998 World Fair.

Reuters