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Erico Fortes' Journey: Cabo Verde to BSU and Home Again

Erico Fortes knew from an early age that electronics was his future. Not that he knew how. He just knew.

And he knew education was key. However, the journey from early schooling to university could be challenging in Cabo Verde. Fortes welcomed the challenge and embraced his opportunities. He believed if he worked hard, he would succeed. So, he worked hard. And excelled.

The short story is that after completing his early education, Fortes chose to attend technical school, graduating with a degree in electricity and electronics in 2007. In 2008, he enrolled in the University of Cabo Verde (Uni-CV), majored in engineering and computer science, and graduated in 2013. He applied for and was accepted into the master’s program at Bridgewater, graduating with his master’s in computer science in 2016.

While on paper his journey appears straightforward, his success required tenacity and demonstrates that goals can be reached no matter the challenges.

Fortes credits Uni-CV with giving him the foundation in electronics that prepared him for his advanced studies at Bridgewater.

He credits Bridgewater with many life-changing things, top among them validating his lifelong interest in drones. At BSU, with the help of his professor, he built his own drone and turned it into his thesis project.

“In Cabo Verde we have deforestation, soil erosion, and lack of water,” said Fortes. “We came up with this idea of using drones for agriculture and reforestation purposes.” However, he said, “I didn’t want just to finish my project, I wanted to develop something that would help my country.”

When Fortes returned to Cabo Verde, he not only secured a teaching position at Uni-CV, he also founded PrimeBotics, a company producing custom made drones “for agriculture and reforestation purposes.”

Erico Fortes flying an agricultural reforestation drone

How did his BSU experience influence Erico?

Fortes described his Bridgewater experience in three words: “Life changing; opportunity, and passion; Bridgewater had a really great impact on my life.”

He said that faculty support was exceptional at Bridgewater. So, when Fortes became frustrated with his thesis drone project and was ready to give up, a heartfelt conversation with his professor “recharged my batteries,” he said. “I was enthusiastic for my project again; I didn’t give up.

“Going to Bridgewater was one of the best things that happened in my life, personally and professionally. When I talk about Bridgewater, I don’t just talk about formal education. I talk about the way of life, the opportunities, the possibilities to be a better student.

“My colleagues and I would say, ‘At Bridgewater, you don’t succeed if you don’t want to succeed.’ We were there. We were given this opportunity. Bridgewater has all the resources. You have all the help that you need to be successful.”

While at Bridgewater, Fortes worked in the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies (PPICVS). “I learned more about Cape Verdean culture in my few months there than my entire life in Cabo Verde,” he said. “This work that the Institute is doing is very important.”

Bottom line, said Fortes, “You know when you feel so powerful in a good way that ‘Yes, I’m in the right place. I have all these opportunities. I will grab them; I want to do something great.”

What was Erico’s professional trajectory post BSU?

Professor of Computer Science, Uni-CV
Fortes’ first career move when he returned to Cabo Verde was to secure a professorship at Uni-CV, teaching computer science.

Scientific Director at the House of Science
Three years later, he was appointed scientific director at the House of Science.

President of the House of Science
Two years after that, he was promoted to president of the House of Science. 

  The House of Science
The House of Science is a bridge between the university and Cabo Verdean Educational Society. Students come to Uni-CV and participate in activities related to biology, physics, chemistry, geology, and technology. In one year, said Fortes, more than 11,000 students participated in the program.

Founder, PrimeBotics
Then there is Fortes’ founding of PrimeBotics – a direct result of his years at Bridgewater – the project he never gave up on. PrimeBotics produces custom made drones “for agriculture and reforestation purposes.” Visit “Alumni Entrepreneurs” to learn how PrimeBotics aids farming in Cabo Verde.

Additionally, and because of the university’s lack of resources in terms of producing materials for schools, Fortes is training teachers to use 3D printing technology to generate those materials. He is also teaching a group of teachers about the fundamentals of robotics so they can develop simple programs and small robots for educational purposes.

Through it all, Erico continues teaching.


In 2021, Professor Enrico Pinheiro Fortes was nominated as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Personalities in Lusophony.

Read more at Alumni Entrepreneur: Erico Fortes to learn how PrimeBotics aids farming in Cabo Verde +