“Support for startup companies is one of my top priorities. The aim of the government is the restructuring of economics to make it innovative”, said Arvils Ašeradens, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Economics at the opening of the discussion forum “Riga Venture Summit”. Currently, “Riga Venture Summit” is the only event in the Baltics dedicated to the analysis of startup policy and issues of creation of more attractive startup ecosystems. This year the forum brought together not only the representatives of all the Baltic States, but also guests from Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Russian, Belarus, USA and Netherlands.
On 9 February in Riga the House of the Blackheads hosted the discussion forum “Riga Venture Summit 2017” organized by Latvian Startup Association “Startin.LV” and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA). The main attention was paid to the issues of the international competitiveness of the Baltic States in global struggle for the investments and talents of startup companies. The opinion of Lithuanian startups in the forum was represented by the organization “Enterprise Lithuania”, Estonian position was held by “Startup Estonia” members. More importantly, all startup policy building organizations of the region were involved, including the representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia and from the Ministry of Economics of Lithuania. Besides, many guests from other regions appreciated the initiative of Latvia to organize such an important discussion aimed to find common solutions.
The forum covered two main discussion subjects – how could the countries turn into attractive destinations for startups and how to compete in haunting of best talents in technologies. Latvian Startup Association sees the main task in fostering the development of local startup teams and the attraction of young, talented foreign startup teams to the Baltic States, since all Baltic countries provide great platforms for emerging startup business.
The support of these ideas was repeatedly expressed by Mr. Ašeradens presenting the offer “#StartinLatvia Welcome Pack”. The offer includes the existing support instruments and tools to be launched this year and next year. Currently, startups launching their business in Latvia, can take the advantages of the Startup Law and the preferential startup visa conditions. In 2017 three accelerator funds of total amount of EUR 15 million will be available. In 2018 two risk capital funds for seed-stage funding and two growth capital funds will be opened, reaching EUR 60 million as total amount available for startup development. In the nearest future Latvia is ready to support the granting of innovation vouchers that would ensure 60% national co-financing for R&D research and product testing. Besides, startup projects using the funds granted by business angels, will be also eligible for the same proportion of co-financing.
“Riga Venture Summit 2017” is organized by Latvian Startup Association “Startin.LV” and the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia in partnership with Latvian Venture Capital Association, Latvian Business Angel Network as well as with conference “TechChill”. Regional partners – startup organizations “Startup Estonia” and “Enterprise Lithuania”. Supporters: Riga City Council, Accenture and “Baltic International Bank”.