Five startups will represent Portugal for the biggest prize in entrepreneurship on the Iberian Peninsula, the EmprendedorXXI “Sector” Awards.

Five Portuguese companies have reached the final phase of the EmprendedorXXI “Sector” Awards, taking place in Barcelona on March 20 and 21.

Prizes will be awarded to companies with the highest growth potential in sectors such as Life Sciences, Information Technology, Digital Business, Industrial, and AgriFood Technologies.

The three finalists in each category will receive entrance to an international growth program organized with Singularity University and the ESADE business school. In addition to this course, each winning company will receive a monetary prize in the amount of 25,000 euros.

Here are the five Portuguese startups competing in the “Sector” Awards edition of EmprendedorXXI.

Black Block

Black Block is an innovative system to dehydrate food, with the lowest installation and operational costs in the market. Created by producers for producers, it is an intelligent system, capable of producing results with high quality standards. It is modular and can be expanded to keep pace with business growth. All the drying process can be monitored in real time and in any part of the world.


CoolFarm empowers indoor farming with flexible, integrated, intuitive and intelligent solutions to achieve maximum efficiency, quality and profitability.


Heptasense is a SaaS platform for people behavior analytics through security cameras. The startup uses AI to learn and understand how the human brain thinks. Its recognition software may also be an asset in preventing terrorist attacks.


Immunethep is a biotech startup company (spin-off from the University of Porto) that is developing anti-bacterial immunotherapies based on the discovery of a virulence mechanism shared by different bacteria that cause life-threatening infections.


Scubic is the ultimate monitoring & control decision support platform for water utilities. It incorporates in one solutions forecasting techniques, network simulation and smart advisory tools to enable operational costs reduction, enhance security through active management and assess network’s risks and vulnerabilities.

EmprendedorXXI Background

The 2017-2018 edition of the EmprendedorXXI Awards will distribute prizes worth around 490,000 euros, making it one of the initiatives for entrepreneurs with greater relevance in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Spanish initiative, led by BPI and CaixaBank, through venture capital manager Caixa Capital Risc, had the candidacy of 146 innovative Portuguese companies from across the continent and islands.

Founded in Spain in 2007, this is the first time the awards were launched in Portugal as part of CaixaBank’s strategy to implement some of its programs in the country, after BPI became part of the CaixaBank Group in February 2017.

Read More: Braga startup NeuroPsyAI wins EmprendedorXXI prize for North, Central Portugal

Throughout a decade of history, a total of 5,210 newly-created companies participated in the XXI Entrepreneur Awards and more than 257 entrepreneurs, investors and representatives of the entities involved in this initiative participated in evaluation committees and juries.

The initiative has invested 4.3 million euros in prizes and follow-up actions, which benefited 289 companies. Specifically, 2.5 million euros were awarded in monetary awards and 1.8 million euros in training and international networking actions.