Lithuania Scored Highest in the EU for Changes in the Startup Environment

2017-02-10 17:15

Lithuania scored highest in the EU for changes in the ICT startup environment, as reported in Digital Transformation Scoreboard 2017 survey, a Digital Entrepreneurship monitoring tool by European Commission. Accprding to the Startup Lithuania newsletter, Lithuania is performing above the EU average in four out of seven indicators.

Being one of the best in the European Union, Lithuania is exemplary for the high number of ICT Start-ups. ICT Startups in Lithuania create more and more jobs and consequently play a greater role in the employment share. Compared to other EU countries, Lithuania exceeds the EU average in four out of seven digital transformation areas. Furthermore, the government foresees different initiatives and programmes such as innovation vouchers to innovate and stimulate the uptake of digital technologies in the entrepreneurial environment. These initiatives also aim attackling the lower supply and demand of digital skills and boosting e-Leadership, two of the core challenges of the country, the report suggests.

Overall, Lithuania is performing well in fields related to digital development. It provides of a fairly advanced digital infrastructure, developed entrepreneurial culture and a high number of ICT Start-ups, the report claims.

In comparison with other EU Member States, Lithuania is performing above the EU average in four out of seven indicators. Integration of digital technology is taking off with the increasing number of enterprises purchasing online in the last two years. Moreover, share of enterprises’ total turnover from e-commerce is also steadily growing. Entrepreneurial culture is showing better results than the EU average as over half of the employees are willing to be self-employed with or without governmental support. The entrepreneurial culture is also reflected in the high number of the newly-created ICT Start-ups. Lithuania performs moderately in e-Leadership in comparison to the EU average. Similarly, the supply and demand of digital skills along with the investments a  and demand of digital skills are subject for the improvement.

Lithuanian Startup Ecosystem Is Warming Up

Among Lithuania’s first tech startups was GetJar, an independent mobile app store founded in 2004 and sold to Sungy Mobile in 2014. Its founder, Kaunas University of Technologo (KTU) graduate Ilja Laurs, has since founded Nextury Ventures, which he called the only fund in Lithuania that “has purely private sources of funding, and no links to European assets or money whatsoever.”

According to him, the Lithuanian start-up ecosystem is making a ton of progress and one of the ways to measure it is to ask university students, how many of them see themselves as start-up founders.

“Five years ago, 99 percent would say they just wanted to work for either the government or a big business, and few would even understand what a start-up is. But now I think that about half of the students would say that they really want to build a start-up”, says Laurs.

Donatas Smailys, Head of KTU start-up incubator Startup Space says that Lithuanian start-ups are becoming equal players in the innovation market: “We read about our young companies in global media and that’s the best indicator of our visibility”.

Earlier this year, three start-up companies founded in KTU’s Startup Space were named among the most ambitious Lithuanian start-ups by Forbes.

“The word start-up has replaced the word innovation across the world”, says Smailys.



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