In the News
Why should robotics businesses invest in Lithuania? The country may not yet be known as a robotics powerhouse, but the Lithuanian economy offers a unique combination of technical talent, openness to innovation, and connections to the rest of Europe.
I had the good fortune to visit Lithuania after attending RoboBusiness Europe 2016 in Odense, Denmark. The Lithuanians I met showed me their country’s industriousness, its modernity, and its potential to help not only robotics makers and users in nearby Scandinavia, Poland, and Germany, but also beyond Europe.
That’s not to say there are no challenges. The Baltic nation isn’t on the radar of many U.S. investors or robotics organizations looking for partners, and the Lithuanian economy needs help with the transition from academic research to commercialization.
Lithuania does have some success stories, and I’ll go into more depth soon about my visits to Kaunas University of Technology and companies such as electric vehicle maker Elinta Motors and autonomous guided vehicle maker Rubedo Sistemos. But first, let’s look at the overall environment for robotics in Lithuania.
Lithuania is business-friendly
Lithuania is No. 1 in the EU for the ease of starting a business, according to the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report” for 2016. Forbes named it as one of the top five entrepreneurial hubs in Europe.
The country was also named No. 1 in Central and Eastern Europe for technological readiness by the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report” for 2015-2016.
With a population of nearly 3 million people, there are relatively few barriers for those who invest in Lithuania. While it conforms to European Union regulations for safety and environmental protection, Lithuania doesn’t have a lot of extra red tape or corporate taxes, explained Rasa Cincyte, an investment advisor at Invest Lithuania.
“Unlike in many countries around the world, the economic developments in Lithuania have not disappointed at the beginning of this year,” said a Swedbank AB report on the effects of the global economic outlook on the Nordic-Baltic region. “Despite a very uncertain global environment and volatile financial markets, we have seen stable or improving consumer and business confidence, while retail trade and manufacturing growth has accelerated.”
The report also cited the Lithuanian economy’s competitiveness and growing exports, and Swedbank has been looking at expanding further into Lithuanian banking.
An affordable talent pool
Another reason to invest in Lithuania is that...