A progressive regulatory and business environment and an approachable and open-minded government create good conditions for innovation and growth. Lithuania strives to offer investors maximally attractive conditions and fully satisfy the needs of innovators keen to try out their ideas in real life. In just a few years, Lithuania has attracted investors like Hella, Hollister and Continental, and earned a name as Europe’s fintech capital. Reacting fast to a unique situation that emerged against the backdrop of Brexit, the country proved it knows how to seize opportunities and quickly put in place the regulatory framework needed for the development of financial technologies. Startups operating in Lithuania, of which there are over a thousand today, unanimously say Lithuania is a great place for trying things out and experimenting. Even the relatively small market is an advantage – it makes you think about going global with solutions and not limit yourself to just local needs.
In Lithuania it’s easy to do business
Bureaucratic processes are shorter in Lithuania and decisions get made faster than in other places. You can open a business in 24 hours with an electronic signature, taxes are easy to pay, and commercial lease rates remain highly attractive in the European Union context. Lithuania is also becoming a top choice for foreign investors due to its great infrastructure – the country ranks No. 1 in Europe for internet accessibility and has one of the fastest public wireless networks in the world. Moreover, an impressive 85 percent of young professionals here speak English and over 2,000 IT specialists are trained every year (there are now more than 40,000 in the country). In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2020, Lithuania took 11th place.
Companies have grown up in Lithuania in recent years whose solutions are transforming the world – look at Trafi, City Bee, Tesonet, Brolis, Vinted, TransferGo, and Paysera. And the strong portfolio of foreign investors further confirms the country’s reputation as safe and reliable: Danske, Nasdaq, Continental, Hollister, Hella, Thermo Fisher Scientific and other major international corporations all operate in Lithuania.
In Lithuania, innovators can test their ideas in real life under the supervision of the competent authorities and only later present them to the world. The country has regulatory sandboxes for innovations in the areas of financial technologies, energy and transportation. The purpose of offering a friendly space for innovations is to speed up and simplify their path to the consumer. The Bank of Lithuania launched a first sandbox, for fintech companies, in 2018, and in 2021 Workpower UAB completed a year of testing of its “Ooniq” peer-to-peer insurance platform, which has created new possibilities in the market for financial services. The Bank of Lithuania has been recognized as one of the world’s most progressive regulators. Guided by the aim of being a partner to the financial sector, and not only a watchdog, the Lithuanian central bank has a proven track record for ensuring a regulatory environment that’s conducive to innovation.
Startup Visa is a programme for attracting talent and investments to Lithuania. Launched in 2017, it simplifies immigration and lets the creators of innovative startups from non-EU countries come and use Lithuania’s infrastructure and well-developed startup ecosystem to develop their business. Those who present an innovative business that’s deemed viable obtain the right to get a temporary residence permit and build their startup.
The Startup Visa Lithuania programmed received 274 applications in 2019, which is 57 percent more than in 2018. Lithuania is often chosen by startups operating in the areas of financial technologies (fintech) and software-as-a-service (SaaS), with more and more applications also coming from startups that work in the fields of green energy, technology-enabled healthcare (healthtech) and education technologies (edtech).