Latvia has recently become one of the countries with its own startup association. Hopefully this will make life easier for the large number of small companies with big ambitions which have just started. That is one of the reasons why the association was born – there is a strong notion that good ideas will transform into big companies someday. It will be important for the country’s economy to have them as well as to motivate talented people not to leave.
The current figures don’t seem to be impressive, but still they are promising for the country with 2 million inhabitants. There are 240 startup companies operating in Latvia. 40 startups are raising over € 15 million now. There is an investment worth approximately € 102 million raised since 2010 and there were 4 successful exits.
“The purpose of the association is to unite Latvian startup community, to share common values and speak in one voice,” stated Jekaterina Zaiceva, the Chairman of the Board of the newly established organization during the launch event where there were about 250 people taking part. All of them are well connected within startup community and there are 30 initial members who currently jump-started the association – the most successful startup companies, corporate partners, individuals and other ecosystem players. The board consists of 7 members.
The biggest projects for year 2016 that were presented during the launch event include:
- Development and implementation of strong international visibility strategy for the Latvian startup ecosystem;
- Startup law draft and lobby in conversations with the local government regarding startup tax policy;
- Riga Venture Summit 2016 – the event that will bring together key policy makers and business leaders as well as startup founders and investors from all three Baltic countries for the second time;
- Full startup report for the year 2016 that will summarize statistical data and real situation analysis on the Latvian startup ecosystem.
There is a goal for year 2020 for the association to help the country to reach a level at which Latvia is recognized as a perfect launchpad for startups to go global. It means that the country’s ecosystem should be capable of providing an unparalleled mix of reasonable costs, access to international entrepreneurial talent and capital as well as startup friendly regulations and excellent geographical connections.
Managing Director and Partner of Advertising Agency DDB Latvia Andris Rubins presented the identity of the newly established organization. There was real-time voting in Twitter during the event were every attendee could take part and vote for the most appropriate hashtag to be used from now on. #startinLatvia received the biggest amount of votes. Now everybody in the whole world can start following the Latvian startup scene by using the hashtag #startinLatvia.