An open platform for public sector transformation
The Lithuanian capital Vilnius has always been on the forefront when it comes to innovative solutions, resourcefulness and creativity. Unexpected solutions during the pandemic that turned Vilnius into a huge open-air café and streamlined the vaccination process inspired other cities in Lithuania and abroad to look for ways to stay in close touch with their citizens.
Sharing and caring for a brighter future
Vilnius is a strong believer in open data. The city council offers free access to financial, procurement, real estate, transport and other data to all. And it’s not just for curious citizens! Tech developers are encouraged to help create smarter urban solutions using all the swathes of available. This collaborative approach helps the city rapidly grow in such areas as financial technology, IT, biotechnology, electronics and optical systems.
And the ripple effect is already clearly seen. Trafi, a global mobility problem-solver that grew out of Vilnius’s open data, has built one of the world’s largest urban transport platforms – used by the residents of Berlin and visitors to the Rio Olympics, and with advances that Google and Lyft have exploited as well.
A playground for innovators
One of the top 25 Global Cities of the Future, Vilnius has outranked the likes of Singapore, Tel Aviv and London, when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment in startups.
The capital has a vibrant startup community with more than 20 business hubs, accelerators and pre-accelerators, in addition to regulatory sandboxes. Companies like Revolut and Transfergo have set up their offices in Vilnius, recognising the value of this environment.
A city for talented people
The city offers a strong talent base for tech companies and startups. There are 21,000 professionals employed in the ICT sector in the Vilnius region and over 6,000 more work in R&D. According to Invest Lithuania, 85 percent of young professionals in Vilnius speak English and the city is one of the youngest European capitals, with more than 50 percent of residents under the age of 40.
Maintaining proper work-life balance is key, and for that reason in Lithuania, a four-day workweek is becoming increasingly more common. And not just private companies are choosing that employment model, with Vilnius-based public sector companies also opting for a healthier work-life balance.
Thinking outside-the-box, even in times of crisis
Vilnius approached the COVID-19 crisis with creativity, turning empty eateries into fashion displays with mannequins occupying the tables and the city itself into one big open-air café. As soon as the city issued its invitation, more than 400 restaurants, cafés and bars came forward to set up tables outside. Cities in other countries followed this positive example.