An open platform for innovation
Lithuania is a sandbox for daring ideas and novel solutions. From one of Europe’s first AI-operated convenience stores to the world’s first digital collectors’ coin, Lithuania has tested and introduced many firsts. And it’s not just innovation for innovation’s sake, as many experiments have become a part of the Lithuanian experience.
A business ecosystem that's primed for innovation and growth
Having transformed itself into the largest Fintech hub in Europe in only a few short years, Lithuania has proved that it knows how to kick-start and fast-track processes and how to connect stakeholders quickly to help companies innovate, thrive and grow.
Seizing on the opportunities offered by the fallout from Brexit, the country was quick to develop a robust regulatory framework and supportive infrastructure for companies looking to disrupt the financial sector. And because the country is able to be agile due to its size, it can deliver the kind of support that’s impossible for larger, more established business centres.
With conditions that are perfect for experimentation and innovation, it’s no surprise that the country has also been able to woo top companies from across sectors, including Hollister, Continental and ThermoFisher.
Where ease of doing business meets an entrepreneurial mindset
There are many reasons why Lithuania is ranked 11th globally for Ease of Doing Business. First off, there is less red tape. Bureaucratic processes are shorter and decisions can be made faster. You can open a business in 24 hours with an electronic signature, taxes are easy to pay, and commercial lease rates remain highly competitive by EU standards.
Then there’s the talent. 85% of young professionals speak English, and 2,000 trained IT professionals enter the workforce each year, giving companies the resources and competencies they need to scale and grow.
But it’s not just the numbers that are allowing businesses to prosper, it’s also the mindset of the people. Just look at the local companies that have sprouted and grown to become disrupters and leaders in their field: Vinted, Trafi, Tesonet, Bored Panda, City Bee, Brolis Semiconductors, TransferGo, and Paysera. Meanwhile, the list of major foreign companies who have set up operations in Lithuania – Danske Bank, Nasdaq, Continental, Hollister, Hella, McKesson, and Thermo Fisher Scientific are testament to how reliable, safe, and nurturing the country is.
Invest Lithuania, a public agency to promote FDI and business development, works hard to ensure that Lithuania is listed among the countries that treat investors best.
Where you can test your ideas in a regulated environment
Lithuania provides the perfect sandbox for innovators who want to test their ideas in real market conditions before they roll them out globally. Via tailored industry-specific regulatory sandboxes provided by the relevant authorities, startups and incumbents can test out innovations in fields as diverse as finance, energy and transport.
The Bank of Lithuania has been recognised as one of the world’s most progressive regulators. Guided by the aim of being a partner to the financial sector, and not only a watchdog, the Lithuanian central bank has a proven track record for ensuring a regulatory environment that’s conducive to innovation.
Launched in 2017, Lithuania’s Startup Visa program was set up to open doors to ambitious startups looking to innovate in their chosen field. The programme simplifies the immigration process, giving entrepreneurs and up and coming incumbents from non-EU countries the chance to access and experience Lithuania’s well-developed startup ecosystem and startup-friendly ecosystem. To qualify, applicants need to present a viable business plan. And once they’ve been accepted, they’ll receive a temporary residence permit and are free to start building their business. The programme has already proved popular, with more than 60 startups already enjoying the benefits of having operations in Lithuania.