Foreigners search for ICT partners in Lithuania
The value of the ICT sector’s production in Lithuania reaches approximately 2 billion euro, while the created added value exceeds the EU average and is growing every year. Within the last three years, the Lithuanian ICT sector has witnessed the increase of the trade balance: the export of services accounted for a much larger share than the import. Last year, the largest export was performed to Germany, Britain and Denmark. Meanwhile, the cooperation with the USA has also increased.
“International co-operation and development of customer networking has always had a positive impact on the sales and development of Lithuanian ICT companies. Currently, the Lithuanian ICT sector is actively expanding to the outsourcing market, the areas of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality solutions”, said Mr Marius Pareščius, President of the Lithuanian ICT cluster.
According to him, this is one of the reasons why an international partner search event, Bridge 2 Business, was organized in Vilnius last week together with the Science, Innovation and Technology Agency and the Lithuanian Innovation Centre. The aim of the event was to help the Lithuanian ICT companies and clusters to find new partners from Norway, Denmark, Poland and Latvia.
Back home with new ideas
The event attracted more than 40 ICT companies and foreign clusters: the Eastern ICT Cluster, Solar Polaris A/S, the Mazovia ICT Cluster, the Latvian Export Cluster, ICT Telemark, etc. During the 2-day event, the representatives of the companies not only participated in partner search meetings, but also had a chance to visit the Centre for Physical and Technological Sciences, the Blockchain Centre in Vilnius and the office of NFQ Technologies.
“The representatives of the clusters who attended the event were surprised by the concreteness of the proposals of the companies participating in the event, the prices offered and the range of possible services, thus all foreign guests went home with new ordering and cooperation ideas,” said Mr M. Pareščius, being delighted with the results of the Bridge 2 Business event.
“ICT is one of the most active sectors in Lithuania that creates and implements innovations. Nearly 80 percent of the companies in the ICT sector are planning to expand over the next 3 years, and while a growing shortage of specialists is felt, computer programming and consulting activities are generating more and more added value. All this along with the export volumes of ICT production indicate that internationally competitive products and services are being developed in Lithuania,” commented Mr Kęstutis Šetkus, Director of the Agency for Research, Innovation and Technology, on the interest of foreign companies and clusters in the partner search event.
Great attention to international projects
During the international event Bridge 2 Business, special attention was paid to sharing practical knowledge and common project development experiences as well as setting up targeted contacts.
Seeking to develop and expand the ICT sector in the region as well as the competitive advantage on international markets, businesses and research institutions have been provided with the opportunity to prepare for effective participation in future business and science cooperation projects, such as the Baltic Sea Region Program or Nordic Grands.
Although the actual results of the Bridge 2 Business partner search event can only be measured in a couple of months, the Lithuanian ICT Cluster association signed memorandums on cooperation intentions with a cluster operating in Poland and the Norwegian ICT Telemark cluster. The cluster also succeeded to agree on future cooperation and business meetings between the companies and clusters from both countries in 2019. In addition, a business mission of Lithuanian IT companies to Boston and Minneapolis is being planned this year.
Change of the name and a wish to win a certificate
The Lithuanian ICT Cluster pays a lot of attention to the development of internationality: the cluster cooperates with foreign partners-clusters from Norway, Austria, Holland, Croatia, Ireland, Slovenia, Poland, Moldova, Brazil, USA and other EU countries in different international projects such as COSME, H2020, etc.
This year, several significant changes took place in the Lithuanian ICT cluster. First of all, the name of the cluster was changed from Užupis Creative Cluster to the Lithuanian ICT Cluster. Secondly, the cluster aims to receive certification and earn the bronze Label of Excellence from the Secretariat of the European Cluster Analysis, which should be available soon.
The cluster was founded in 2010 and now unites 21 business and science organizations. With the use of the partial funding from the European Union Structural Funds, the cluster has developed a modern R&D infrastructure in order to achieve national and international competitiveness in the creative industries. Currently, one of the main activities of the cluster is joint research and experimental development projects in the field of information technologies, which have great commercial potential.
The Lithuanian ICT cluster, along with 11 other Lithuanian clusters, is involved in the project Promoting and Developing Innovation Networking (InoLink). The Bridge 2 Business event was one of InoLink activities. InoLink is a project of the EU measure Inogeb LT, which is implemented by MITA together with the Lithuanian Innovation Centre. The aim of the project is to promote merging of companies into clusters, to increase the maturity of clusters, to promote growth and international cooperation. The project and its activities are funded by the European Regional Development Fund.