In 2011, Portugal was hit by a severe economic crisis and the government needed an international bailout of $103 billion for austerity measures. The effects of this crisis are still relevant to this day as the unemployment rate in Portugal just rose to 14.1%. Simply put, this has been the worst recession for the Portuguese economy in more than 40 years. Now an important question remains unanswered—as a nation and a workforce, how do you recover from this economic hardship?

In general, there are two ways to react to a downturn or hardship. One can enter into a passive state and let the external economic environment influence their internal drive. On the other hand, one can also use the hardship as a motivator to create new ideas and find solutions. The Portuguese have selected the latter.  Entrepreneurship is dramatically on the rise in Portugal as workers seek employment by creating new products. The Portuguese government has joined in on this trend and has invested 20 million euros into public funds to assist start-up businesses. Business incubators have also increased in appearance to give innovators assistance with their ideas and to provide resources to start-ups for the first few months of business.

Not all ideas will bear economic vitality and profits, but an important lesson was certainly learned in the case of Portugal. During economic hardships, driving action, taking initiative, and a passion for new ideas can be more than a source of hope. It can be a means to economic vigor and liveliness.

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