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While competition between start-up ecosystems in Lithuania and other countries is growing rapidly, innovative businesses from non-EU countries welcome Lithuanian start-up ecosystem. This is evidenced by the fact that in 2019, twice as many foreign start-ups than in the previous two years chose Lithuania for business development through the use of Startup Visa Lithuania program.
Counting its chickens: twice as many foreign start-ups chose Lithuania last year
© DELFI / Modesta Meškė

“Since the start of the Startup Visa Lithuania program, already 40 start-up companies controlled by foreign nationals have been registered and operate in Lithuania. 20 of them were established namely last year. Such a result in 2019 was due to the increasing notoriety of Lithuanian start-up ecosystem, greater individual attention to those who are interested in Lithuania. This encourages to continue developing Lithuania’s distinctiveness among its neighboring countries “, – says Marius Skuodis, the Vice-Minister of the Economy and Innovation.

According to Roberta Rudokienė, the Head of the start-up ecosystem development department “Startup Lithuania“ of “Enterprise Lithuania”, even though Lithuanian institutions and participants in the start-up ecosystem are making great efforts to improve the business environment in the country, however, it is difficult to stand out from among the neighboring countries and to become the first choice for a non-EU start-up because a foreign national who has been given the opportunity to develop his start-up in Lithuania does not necessarily do this right away. When looking for business development opportunities abroad, non-EU start-ups are also looking for opportunities for that in other European countries.

“Despite the fact that last year a record number of start-ups filed applications for relocation of their businesses to and their development in Lithuania, we notice that Lithuania’s positions in the competitive battle of European countries for attracting foreign start-ups are not exclusive. For this reason, this year, more attention is planned to be given to the creation of new means for attracting foreign start-ups and to enhancing competitive advantage“, – says R. Rudokienė.

According to the data available at Startup Lithuania, in 2019, the Startup Visa Lithuania program received a total of 274 applications, and this was 57% more than in 2018. Out of all applications received, 71 foreign start-ups met the program requirements and were granted a certificate to relocate their innovative business to Lithuania. In 2018, 41 start-ups met the program requirements. Lithuania is mostly chosen by fintech and SaaS start-ups. There is also a rapid increase in the number of applications of green energy, health tech or Edtech start-ups.

Startup Visa Lithuania is a program coordinated by the start-up ecosystem development department “Startup Lithuania“ of “Enterprise Lithuania”. The main purpose of the program is to attract foreign talents and businesses to Lithuania. Individuals, having relocated their businesses to Lithuania, can use all the infrastructure available in the country, develop innovative products that add value to the national economy.

According to the Startup Lithuania database, there are currently more than 940 start-up companies operating in Lithuania, last year they attracted more than 170.6 million euros of investment.

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