Latvia – lessons learned from the business seminar on business opportunities and the bleisure travel

Finland has a good reputation among Latvians. Finns are appreciated and Finnish high-quality products are liked in Latvia. Investments in Latvia are increasing. It is expected that Latvia’s economy will grow by 5.3 per cent in 2021. There are business opportunities to discover, and, in addition, Latvia is also a great place to enjoy free time.

Green TV and incentives for investors

Green corridor enables new investments and offers benefits. Administrative procedures including territorial planning, construction permits, and foreign work force relocation are twice shorter than usually. To benefit from the green corridor companies should fulfill 3 out of 4 criteria which are: 1) Enterprises should invest 5 M € in a three-year-period, 2) create 50 – 75 jobs, 3) the value of exports should be over 3 M € in a three-year-period, and 4) invest in R & D or employ development over 250,000 euros.

Latvia offers great incentives to companies established in Latvia. Incentives in forms of grants, start-up benefits, innovation vouchers and various projects and training programmes co-financed by the EU, employee training and knowledge transfer and promotion of international competitiveness.

Biomedicine, bioeconomy, smart energy, smart materials and photonics, ICT and smart cities are sectors for high added value cooperation and where Latvia encourages more Finnish companies to benefit from this growing business.

EU funding and business opportunities

Latvia will receive 1,82 bln € to be used by the year 2026 from the EU’s recovery and resilience fund. This money will be allocated to the projects related to climate change, digital transformation, health sector, rule of law and reducing inequality. “This exceptional funding means there will be more demand for services and products where Finnish knowhow could be used” states Ms. Alise Barvika, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

  • New digital ticket systems and new transportation modes will be introduced in Riga.
  • Digitalization for public and private sectors will have a high financing availability.
  • Renovation projects for increasing energoefficiency will be also supported.
  • In addition, the health sector will also offer the cooperation opportunities.

Setting up a company in Latvia

Setting up a company in Latvia takes 1 – 3 days, and it will cost 75 – 225 euros for the founders. Documents can be submitted electronically. Founders can be both natural and legal persons. The minimum equity is 2,800 euros (cash or property contributions). Start-up ecosystems can benefit from incentives, explains Liene Krumina, LKOS Law Office.

Taxation system in Latvia is attracting with special taxation regimes in five Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Liepaja, Ventspils, Riga, Rezekne and Latgale. The Corporate income tax is 0% on reinvested profit and 20% on dividends or if money used for other purposes and not directly related to business development.

Local knowledge makes it easier to start a business

Latvia is geographically a small country. People can easily come to work in Riga from the neighbouring areas or they can work remotely. eID enables possibility to use state services electronically. While the majority of over 320 Finnish companies have chosen Riga as their location in Latvia. For manufacturing companies depending on specialization, regional and SEZ location would be more beneficial where workforce and special skills might be more available.

Trusted partners like accountants and lawyers, who speak many languages and know the local market well are of great help to foreign companies.

Language matters

42 per cent of Europeans never purchase products or services in a language other than their own, therefore, companies need to prioritize translation and localization if they want to succeed in foreign markets. By using the best of human and artificial intelligence, Tilde offers machine translation products, intelligent virtual assistants, speech technologies, and provides translation and localization services for companies that want to successfully operate in international markets.

Bleisure – work and experience the gems of Latvia

The term bleisure was used in the beginning of the year 2000 for the first time by young people at age of 20 – 29 who wanted to combine business travels with leisure activities, worked hard and wanted to have an enjoyable life.

In Latvia, travellers can run or bike around the city centre in Riga, golf in Jurmala, find hidden gems in Riga, enjoy a night at the opera or prepare and dine their own dinner. Latvia and its capital Riga offer a wide range of relaxing and energizing activities. It takes only one hour to reach Riga from Helsinki, says Mr. Jan Nyholm, Head of Sales Finland, Sweden, Norway, AirBaltic and the Chair of the Finland-Latvia Business Association.

The world is opening after the covid-19 pandemic and people have started to travel again. Digitalization and technologies make travelling safe nowadays. Tickets can be booked and bought, and registrations made online.

Latvia – your next destination to grow your business today webinar on the 6th October 2021 was co-organized by Enterprise Europe Network, the Finland-Latvia Business Association and the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce.


Written by Ms. Anne Hatanpää, Secretary General, Finland-Latvia Business Association