World Bank Ratings ranked Lithuania number 3 for ease of doing business in Europe & Central Asia. Its capital Vilnius is the core of nation’s vibrant startup community, facilitating a friendly business environment, advanced IT infrastructure (No 1 in Europe for fibre-optic internet penetration), low taxes for business, and favorable relocation conditions.
All this has established Vilnius as one of the most attractive places for startups, foreign and local investments, the establishment of new workspaces and entrepreneurship related events. A vibrant startup community of around 200 startups has emerged and now receives lots of attention not only from international VCs but also from the government, which will go an extra mile to encourage and support entrepreneurial culture.
Major advantages of Vilnius that drive the growing entrepreneurial community and thriving startup culture are:
1) Vibrant Tech Culture
Vilnius startup ecosystem attracts thousands of young entrepreneurs as well as experienced businessmen due to many high-quality events, seminars, hackathons and other entrepreneurship-related activities. Some of the most popular ones are HUB Camps, GameDev, Silicon Vikings Vilnius, Open Coffee Club meet-ups, Startup Lithuania Seminars. In addition, high-profile annual events, such as LOGIN, Life Science Baltics, Open Data Fest, LT Game Jam are just a few of hundreds of events aiming to foster the entrepreneurial mindset.
2) Abundance of cheap working space
Vilnius offers a huge variety of creative working spaces where likeminded entrepreneurs work, share their ideas, and help each other. These are SHX-co-working space, Sunrise Valley Tech Park, ISM Innobase, Green Garage, HUB Vilnius, just to name a few. In addition, more than 900 new working places will be built in Vilnius Tech Park by 2016 – one of the largest startup and GameDev centers in the region.
3) Active venture capital industry
A huge variety of national and foreign investors, VC companies, and funds are actively seeking new investment opportunities. Most prominent ones being Intel Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Octopus Investments, BaltCap, Practica Capital, LitCapital, Imi.vc, Nextury Ventures and others. In addition, there are many early stage financial and non-financial investors offering individually tailored support for the most promising founders and teams: Open Coffee Club Vilnius, Startup.it, StartupHighway, Civitta, Blue Lime Labs, Producters and more.
4) Government Support
Vilnius city municipality, one of the main startup ecosystem supporters in Vilnius today, is actively inviting startups to relocate here and has engaged in various initiatives to support them, such as establishing Vilnius TechPark, providing Open Data and allowing Smart-City startups to use it as a sandbox. This has led to a recent significant influx of startups from neighbouring countries and most notably in the formation of a strong GameDev community.
Besides its local perks, Vilnius is tightly-knit with other European entrepreneurial hubs in the UK, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Portugal, Belgium and many others, mainly through engagement in European partnerships for entrepreneurship support – Startup-Scaleup, LIFE, CEED and others. These connections ensure that Vilnius will always have a reliable international access to pan-European case stories, talents, relevant expertise, adequate facilities, and networks.
5) Huge talent potential
Vilnius has proven itself internationally as a city that boasts one of the most talented communities of technologically savvy people. People are very strong in IT, have an analytical mindset, and are known to be hardworking, loyal, and always ready and willing to help new startups get started. In addition if you need help with the first steps, governmental institution such as Invest Lithuania and Enterprise Lithuania, or consultants and entrepreneurship ecosystem promoters such as Open Coffee Club Vilnius and the Startup Division at Civitta, a leading management consulting company, will provide further advice and support on legal and business grounds in addition to providing access to an extensive network of potential investors and funds.
Vilnius is connected to another three cities across Europe through the Startup Scaleup project. These cities are Dublin, Cartagena and Zoetermeer. The organisation that ensures this connection is Open Coffee Club. If you want to participate in events involving these four cities, please contact either the Coordinator of Startup Scaleup, or the partner in Vilnius.