The amazing Go Youth Conf, shaping the Portuguese startup scene

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This year again, for the third time in a row, I took my flight back to Lisbon on 16th April to visit one of my favourite startup happenings, Go Youth Conf.

In the next few minutes, I will do my best to give you a snapshot on why I am a true fan of this event, and also the whole ecosystem and the city of Lisbon.

First of all, let me tell you a bit more about the team:

Tiago Vidal: the founder, main organizer and face of the whole event. A jazz music lover at his age of 21, doing his second year of studies at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, has been organising this conference for the fourth time by this year. A very smart, straightforward guy with clear and honest goals in life. You can guess how much he is appreciated by anyone he has been in touch with.

André Miguel Carvalho: the operative brain behind all the details. The guy who knows much more about the politics of your country than you yourself. At the age of 21, too. Studying law at Universidade de Lisboa, only smoking one cigarette when drinking some quality wine. Does not speak too much, rather a careful listener. And very much respectful to others and life.

António Mira: the self-made man behind the scene. Responsible for partnerships and sponsors. Hard working since his age of 14, managing more companies in parallel, one of them dealing with Portuguese wine export to other countries. Running 10 kms each morning. Well focused, full of energy, and really friendly, just like the others. At the age of 22.

And let me also mention Telma Neves and Filipe Castro Matos, who used to be the part of the organisers’ team in the former years, but did not play an active role at this one. And not joking, the whole local ecosystem of Portugal that fully stands behind these guys, growing up hand in hand with Go Youth in the last few years.

And before anything else. Food. Lovely, amazing Portuguese food.

Well, food is just amazing. That is not so surprising. But the portions! Oh man, you can’t eat that all. And to me it was also really surprising to see what lunchtime means to Portuguese people – a well deserved 2 hours full of great dishes, a great company and some excellent wine. While some of us in Europe just eat our sandwich as quickly as possible, by the computer.

And finally, we have got there. About the event. To me the first special thing about it is intimacy. Don’t get me wrong, what it means to me is the direct contact in between the speakers and the audience. You don’t only listen to some big names on stage, but you can actually meet them all around, and this year the organizers even payed an extra attention on this by creating “pitch the master”, a place where everybody could spend some time with the speakers and some mentors. So in a way, I feel that these guys could disrupt the borders of meetups and conferences.

It is also amazing to see the quality of speakers these guys can convince. Hard-to-get, or even impossible-to-get calibers coming to Europe only to speak in front of 600+ enthusiastic Portuguese students and young entrepreneurs, giving them a huge motivation and power. And they all end up being super thankful for being invited.

I could talk for hours about the atmosphere of the venue, the city and the whole ecosystem, but some others have already done that, better than I could. So please check out THIS ARTICLE by Portugal Startups and THIS ONE by Ciarán O’Leary.

Thanks for the invitation guys, really much looking forward to the next year’s edition!