Which economic clusters can provide an exciting reason for companies and associations from Germany and Europe to consider Latvia for their next themed conference in the destination?
The definition of economic clusters in a destination usually refers to the economic segments most important for the country in question and thus also allow a better assessment of the relevance and the connections with the requirements for one’s own event or conference.
Priority clusters can be about existing, leading market positions, but also about segments that are decisive for the strategic development of the destination and that are particularly promoted and supported by the political side. Both are particularly exciting approaches for international industry and knowledge exchange, innovations and the search for new, future-oriented structures for thematic meetings and congresses.
Presenting knowledge topics and the special expertise of a country are both a part of economic development but also important for attracting business events – both require similar content, which, however, must be prepared for different target groups. The exchange of knowledge topics and innovations is considered to be the most modern approach for collaboration and the global acceleration of solutions and is particularly important for post-corona-related business adjustments.
We spoke with Helmuts Salnajs, the representative of the Latvia Investment and Business Development Agency (LIAA) in Germany, to take a closer look at the approach and the overlap between knowledge topics used for the conference industry and for business development. Helmuts is a specialist in the search for German investors for Latvia and the export promotion of his country – he has direct insight into the most important clusters and their connections with German companies.
The representative of the LIAA in Berlin has two primary tasks – firstly to promote investments by German companies in Latvia and secondly to support the export of Latvian goods to Germany. Helmuts is available for advise if Latvian companies need contacts and approaches in the (German) market and vice versa, for all German companies in order to connect them with corresponding partners in Latvia – his tools are primarily networking with associations or associations for medium-sized companies, local associations of companies, research for companies that may be interested in Latvia and of course personal recommendations.
The small country has to use its limited resources in a targeted manner and therefore applies PR measures and direct proactive approaches when promoting investment in order to get the message across as precisely as possible. LIAA maintains various models of economic development in each of the most important trading partner countries or markets – in addition to Germany, in Europe these are primarily Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, northern Italy and the foreign representatives are very proactive and dynamic.
German companies are very welcome in Latvia, a long shared history and large parts of the culture create a kinship. Latvians like to learn from German companies and, conversely, there is a lot of innovation and dynamism in the country, from which established companies, which are sometimes stuck in structures, can also benefit.
Not all economic segments are suitable for the cluster approach, but it certainly applies particularly well to forestry, which has a long tradition in Latvia, and to wood processing as a result, which is an important raw material in the country and in the processing of the material offers a variety of classic methods, but also new approaches via start-ups and design companies. Many unusually beautiful and innovative products are made from the precious material, with surprising characteristics. Forest, forest and the wood that grows there is an attractive branch of industry, extremely important for the environment and climate policy and with a lot of know-how, high employment rates, numerous leading research approaches and the resulting innovation.
Latvia is also an important raw material supplier for Germany and there are a number of leading companies, especially in laminated wood production, furniture, wooden houses as well as start-ups like Ewart Wood or qinn Design, which amaze with new approaches to the subject of wood and its design. A smaller but very future-oriented strategic development cluster for Latvia are Smart Materials and Smart Cities, with the LMT (Latvijas Mobilais Telefons) company as the driving force, which focuses on the development and implementation of 5G technology, this includes companies active in the development of drones (such as Atlas Dynamics or aerones) and which, like smart materials and smart city projects, require a fast and stable network.
Another very exciting project is the construction of the new Rail Baltica route. The largest rail infrastructure project in Europe on a pan-European level is intended to contribute to generating new growth for Latvia (and the Baltic States) and to promote economic cooperation in Europe as part of the European Post-Corona strategies. Rail Baltica can be seen as a classic cluster project – with great potential for new structures and a current need for participation on an European and German level: not only equipment is required, but technology solutions, architecture, engineering skills and many more services are sought for this project. There are numerous tenders which are very interesting for medium-sized and small companies in Germany and Europe.
All information can be found at https://www.railbaltica.org/