With its strategic position in northeastern Europe, Latvia’s capital city, Riga, is a dominant force in the country's economic expansion. The Director of B2Baltic Daniel Janetschek defines the city as "the center of networking in the Baltic states”. His firm has itself been vital in developing networks between many Nordic and EU businesses, and specializes in helping companies expand internationally.
How to conduct a business meeting
Janetschek sees little difference between conducting business in Latvia and other European centers: "people tend to be professional and take work seriously but without complicated rituals…we had some business meetings with primary Latvian enterprises and the board was very casual, wearing summer beach T-shirts.” His advice for business travelers wishing to make the right impression is simple: "listen to what the local business people say and explain."
Riga as international business hub
As Janetschek points out, “the strong marketing and language skills of Latvian professionals build several business networking opportunities.” High-caliber programs like the Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga provide essential training for the country’s young, fast-growing professional network.
With its prime location between Tallinn and Vilnius, Riga attracts commercial businesses venturing into the Baltics. Janetschek explains, “Riga Airport is the best in the Baltics for structure, size and airlines – both civil and commercial.” It’s also a convenient 15-minute drive from our Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel, Riga.
Latvia and Europe
Joining the EU has dramatically changed Latvia’s business landscape. Janetschek acknowledges that “until a few years ago, few people in Europe knew where Latvia was exactly”, but today, things are very different. "After entering the EU... Latvia started to sell abroad and thankfully Sweden and Finland have believed in the Nordic behavior of the Latvian people.
"Step by step Latvia has increased international structures in order to develop the import and export of goods and services with foreign countries." He's justifiably proud of the role that B2Baltic has played in this process: "we have involved thousands of Latvians and connected the country to other countries, facilitating international relationships".
Although its maturing business climate is promising, there is still work to be done in Latvia. Janetschek has clear goals for the country, stating, “Latvians still have to work hard to improve social development, increase salaries and life quality”.
His hope is that "when Latvians believe in the potentiality in their country, when they improve communications with foreign countries, and when they do not leave the country just to get better jobs…they will succeed."
Industries to follow
In terms of the country’s future growth, Janetschek recommends keeping a particularly close eye on “marketing and advertising solutions and Information Technology industries. I consider them actually the best in the Baltic states.” He also sees potential for growth in the textiles, construction and recycling sectors.
The general economic outlook is overwhelmingly positive, thanks to a range of incentives from the government, including “reduced corporate tax, ease of obtaining permits,” and a streamlined property registration process. Further administrative and financial reforms are planned, so watch this space.