The Opening Speech of the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis
Riga, Feb 10, 2017
Dear startups, businessmen, investors, students and guests,
I’m happy to welcome you all here today at the TechChill. This event brings together the brightest minds and talents from the Baltics and beyond. Special greetings to those of you coming here for the first time!
Welcome to Latvia! This is the right timing for your first visit and I am sure – it will be one of many! This is one of the most dynamic places to build and grow a startup, a global technology company.
Yes, this is the perfect time to start a global business, not only here in Riga, but also in cooperation with our neighbours – Estonia and Lithuania.
I frequently meet with my colleagues from the Baltics and I am acutely aware how much we do together and I can see a great potential in our joint collaboration.
We are better prepared to face the changes in today’s dynamic world if we work together. Yes, change may be hard, but it also presents many opportunities.
Almost 30 years ago, the Baltics had to start from a blank sheet.
Today we already have inspiring Latvian start-up success stories. Infogram in data visualization, Edurio – in education. MikroTik in providing wireless technology solutions, to name just a few.
When I meet the startups here, I see their passion, ambitions and drive.
That’s the right spirit to make our businesses successful. A combination of ideas, team-spirit and technology along with some smart mentoring and investment is your route to success.
So, cheers to all of the startups here in this room, working day and night to bring it all together and make it work.
To the investors in this room my message today is simple: better be quick to spot the best teams and companies!
Our government has launched a series of initiatives to support young companies and startups.
Latvia passed the first simple flat startup tax legislation in Europe and last week we launched the start-up visa programme. And that’s just the very beginning of the startup support package intended to make Latvia the Number One choice for startups.
We are realistic and we understand that the global competition is harsh, but we have significant advantages.
The internet speed in Latvia is among the fastest in the world. Yes, even faster than the United States, the home of Silicon Valley. Excellent flight connections to almost every corner of the World, affordable living costs, a vibrant startup community are just a few.
I am looking forward to hear your great success stories today. I hope you will find many partners, make friends and connections. Use your chance to make a move forward, whether as a founder or an investor!
So, my wish to you today – break the standards, follow your ideas, be ambitious and leave a positive “footprint” for the next generations!
Thank you and let’s make most of these days at Riga TechChill 2017!