Starting a Business in Madeira

edited December 1969 in General
Hello Everyone!

I'm a new member to this forum.

I've been reading a lot of posts on people wanting to move to Madeira but lack of job opportunities and low wages seems to be a big stabbling block. Why most people seem to be concerned about buying a property to live in but why not a business which might generate an income? Why not starting your own business? Is the language the barrier?

I live in Spain and hope one day to move to Madeira but so far I think that the only way for me to survive in this beautiful island is to have my own business. With tourism developing there must be some good business opportunities out there.

I'd love to hear the opinion of people residing in Madeira about this issue. What business opportunities are out there? What about franchases?



  • It is not simple to start a business, you have to obtain a licence through the Authorities and this can be lengthy, costly with no guarantee of success. The licence has to be displayed in public view. As is expected the localpeople, rightly so, protect their jobs which is why there are few opportunities for immigrants. As there is no unemployment payment, no job-no money which is why you have to be financially secure when coming here to live. Knowledge of language is essential as you would probably need to employ portugese and without speaking the language would be unlikely to survive in business unless it was linked to an overseas company.
  • Probably fast food would be best. I noticied when i visited Madeira about 7yrs ago there was no fast food, specially in Santa cruz my kids hated the idea of not having Mac donnalds or smilar but am sure it has changed since then, has it? I noticied there were lots of dinne in restaurants which not everyone can afford and it's not practical. Fast food has become so popular all around the world one can not go wrong i think as business is concerned.
  • most pubs and restaurants serve hamburgers, steak sandwiches and toasties for those who do not want meal. Although there is 1 macdonalds and 1 pizza hut, there are some excellant italian pizza cafes as well
  • Thanks Flowergirl for your opinion. Much appreciated!

    What about a theme bar? I know there is an Irish pub in Funchal. Is there a need for a theme bar outside the capital?

    What is the actual price of a pint of larger and of a bottle of beer in an English bar and in a local bar?

    I am in the jewellery business. Do you see a need for modern jewellery such as sterling silver jewellery set on gemstones or even fashion jewellery?
  • Personally i hate the gold stuff, i love anything silver, white gold, stones and i know lots of people that do to. That's a very nice idea. I see lots of people in some other cities that have their own stall in the shopping malls and mini markets,school fairs and churches yard selling their handycrafts, jewellery etc. Please keep us informed will keep a look on my next visit. Good luck.
  • There are many jewellery shops here with very good quality silver and gold. There are also many fashion jewellery shops.
    Small beer (Lager) varies from 70 cents to 2.50 in hotels,just bepends where you go. Bars off the tourist trap tend to be the cheapest and it is mostly the same brand (Coral) which is the local brew. Also a few irish beers in some places
    There are two Irish style bars, one attached to CS hotel and a second in the lido area. Unlikely theme bars would be successful. The local people mainly drink coffee (coffee shops by the hundreds on the island) its mainly tourists who drink alcohol.Out of town you would need either to be in hotel area but there are limits to the number of bars in each area in the same way as the number of hotel beds is limited in each area.
    Hope this helps
  • I disagree with Flowergirl. Unless you start a business in controlled activities - that is, taxis services, hotels, a travel agency, a security agency, a real estate agency and one or two other activities, you can setup and go very quickly. Indeed, the government has just implemented a system where you can create a new company in an hour. The so-called "empresa-na-hora". Of-course, this assumes you have your personal paperwork in order. Tax number, ID, and so on.
  • if well located... supermarket, car parking
  • I think that is a crazy idea trying to start a business over here as people do not have much money to spend.Can anyone name a successful business here on the island?
    You will have problems with bureaucracy from the word go
  • Ron is quite right, many people have started business here but bureaucracy and rivalry force them out. I know of at least 5 business started by Brits which have failed, in the last 18 months. If the Madeirans can run a business that is how it goes, they are fiercly protective of their employment (quite rightly so - it is their island) and wages being so low, most business ventures are covered by them. It is extremely difficult to get new ideas to work, as said, they do not have the money to spend, in most family's - mum and dad both work as after paying rent/mortgage there is not enough left for bills, eating etc , there is no 'topup' or social security payout as in UK so they just get on with it.
  • Hello there
    We have a house in Madeira and are in the process of selling up in the Uk to become permanently based in Madeira. We don't need to earn lots of money but would like to start a little home-spun business, B&B as one thread. Where do we go, which office do we approach for the "busniess in an hour" permit?
    Thanks for any information.
  • Hi Nell,i can think of 2 Irish pubs in the capitol Funchaland at least 3 "english" pubs all with SKY sports and serving english beer.It would need something pretty special to break into that sort of area.2 Macdonalds,Pizza hut,Burger King etc.
    As another poster has said virtually all bars do burgers etc so i dont think fast food is much of an area to get into.
  • As the countdown starts with the arrival of Easyjet,folks are worried about the potential arrival of lager louts as well,Maybe a theme pub that also does a decent full english breakfast,There is a big mark-up in coctails.
  • It's unlikely you can get licence for B&B quickly as this is one business not covered by fast process. As far as I understand there is a limit on holiday beds in each area so you will need to take advice. Try Time Consult in the Funchal Business Centre or the Hon British Consule.
  • I think there is limitations to import and export gold and silver and juvels from other countries even inside of EU. Try to find out the laws, so you dont loose everything you own by doing a mistake.
  • is the website for starting a business (most of the pages are in english too). You will need a €5,000 start up capital sum, or more for certain things.

    Some guidelines on
  • hello i am from Madeira but living in englad ta the moment and for 9 years now
    I am thinking of going back to madeira very soon and m looking for bussiness partner
    if you are interested give me a shout.
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