Team

Empowererd Startups has partnered with Portuguese R&D facilities to deliver the Portugal Highly Qualified Activity residency visa business incubation program.

  • Paul Girodo
  • Chris Lennon
  • Laura Blumes
  • Shawn Olson
  • Alex Rodrigues

Paul Girodo

Empowered Startups Co-Founder

Paul Girodo, MBA is expert in transnational entrepreneurship, scaling startups, and designing leading edge immigration products that deliver clear benefits to the governments, start-up ecosystems, and most importantly the citizens of countries accepting transnational business class migrants. As Co-Founder of Empowered Startups he helped build it into the largest deal flow provider to the Government of Canada’s Start-up Visa Program. He also leads Empowered’s delivery of new leading edge fast-track business investor class migration programs for entrepreneurs in Portugal and France with a growing number of established incubators in both countries. His industry interests range from combating human trafficking with his father (former Team Leader for INTERPOL Group of Experts on Corruption and Chief Human Factors Consultant in specialized drug and money laundering investigations with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to deep tech and social venture enterprises. He is a shareholder and director of many Canadian, French, and Portuguese companies.

Chris Lennon

Empowered Startups President & General Counsel

After spending a little over a decade with a prominent law firm in Vancouver, primarily advising technology companies, research organizations, and corporate boards, Chris joined Empowered Startups Ltd. as President and General Counsel. Prior to taking on this role, Chris had acted as Empowered’s primary legal counsel since the organization’s inception. Chris also acted as an advisor on strategic issues and specific ventures incubated with the organization. As President and General Counsel Chris now oversees all Empowered’s operations and legal matters, working closely with the business incubator’s Board of Directors.

Separate and apart from his role with Empowered, Chris also continues to advise technology companies and other organizations through Lennon Law Corporation.

Laura Blumes

Empowered Startups Managing Director – Europe

Laura co-created the Empowered Startups incubation programs in Portugal and France respectively, which she continues to lead. She has the honour and privilege of forming and nurturing important partnerships in the dynamic start-up ecosystems in Europe.

Prior to her role as Managing Director, Laura took responsibility for Empowered Startups’ key operational initiatives, at global and local levels, through her role as VP Int’l – Strategic Initiatives. Laura is a systems strategist, with over 15 years experience designing and implementing IT-enhanced organizational development systems. She served in senior leadership positions in service-driven organisations with distributed operations. Her specialty is in creating robust, scaleable and practical systems that allow for ad hoc adaptations within a variety of socio-economic contexts.

She holds an MBA in the Management of Technology and an M.A. in Educational Technology; Laura served as an immigrant settlement assistance volunteer for 3 years.

Shawn Olson

Empowered Startups Vice President – Business Development

Shawn is a graduate of the University of British Columbia who has lived and worked all over the world. He is a dynamic leader and lifelong coach who believes in the inspirational power of the human spirit. His 6 years living and working in Central Europe has provided Shawn a global perspective on life and business. He has a proven track record of driving business results and fostering long term strategic global partnerships. Shawn has years of experience building and leading national sales and recruitment teams in multiple industries. His unique experience working for and with some of Canada’s most prestigious universities provides Empowered Startups with valuable insight.
Shawn is a passioned mentor, an avid sportsman, who is passionate about travel, people and relationship building.

Alex Rodrigues

Brigantia Eco-Park Technology & Innovation Officer

Alex leads the operations of Brigantia-EcoPark, an IAPMEI-certified Start Up Visa incubator in northern Portugal, 90min outside of Porto. As a key co-creator of the Portugal Angel Visa protocol, he facilitates the partnerships with authorities and public bodies in Portugal. Empowered Startups first incubator in Portugal was launched within the well-appointed facilities of Brigantia-EcoPark.

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