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REGIONS EUROPE


Enablinganinnovation environment


Q&A: AUŠRINĖARMONAITĖ


LITHUANIA’S MINISTER FOR ECONOMY AND INNOVATION TALKS TO ALEX IRWIN-HUNT ABOUT DEVELOPING THE LIFE SCIENCES ECOSYSTEM


L


CURRICULUMVITAE AUŠRINĖ ARMONAITĖ


2020 Lithuania Minister for economy and innovation


Previously Policy manager at the Lithuanian Business Confederation (ICC Lithuania)


ing.Wehad two lockdowns, which were rather strict. We are currently making efforts to ensure that businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can benefit fromfinancial support. Businesses that have experienced a 30% drop in revenue can apply for grants and loans amounting to €180m in total. We are also launching the second business aid package measures of up to €150m. Equally, this crisis is a great opportunity to


Q A


transformour economies. Along with the meas- ures aimed at helping businesses affected by the pandemic, we are getting ready for the future so that we emerge fromthis crisis stronger. The main strategic goals of the Lithuanian


economy include the technological renewal of Lithuanian companies and their re-orientation towards the creation of high value-added, digi- tal and innovative industries; the promotion of talent development and attraction of foreign direct investment; and the creation of a more efficient innovation ecosystem. We focus on investment in Lithuania’s infor-


mation, communication and financial technol- ogy sectors, as well as on attracting investment in the fields ofmanufacturing and life sciences.


Lithuania’s life sciences sector has been growing tremendously in recent years. Currently, the sector contributes over 2% to


Q A


82


What is the Lithuanian government’s strategy to develop its life sciences sector?


ikemany EU countries, Lithuania has had to balance a health crisis with long-term development plans. While providing sup-


port to struggling businesses, the Lithuanian government is laying the foundations for an acceleration of its innovation ecosystem. Aušrinė Armonaitė, who became


Lithuania’s minister for economy and innova- tion in December 2020, explains the Baltic country’s strategic goals, including ambitions to become a hub for life sciences.


Howhas Lithuania adjusted its economic development policies in response to the


pandemic?


The situation in Lithuania, just like else- where in the world, is extremely challeng-


Lithuania’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is six times more than the EU average. The government has an ambitious strategic goal to achieve 5% of GDP by 2030. Our goal is to create (enabling) conditions to


help this strategically important sector develop and grow. The five most important pillars in developing the life sciences ecosystemare based on fostering talent; expanding existing clus- ters; adapting the regulatory environment to strategic sub-sectors; boosting funding through incentives; and providing infrastructure for start-up incubation and acceleration.


Q A


How are you creating an enabling envi- ronment for foreign life sciences compa-


nies to set up in Lithuania?


The life sciences sector in Lithuania is high on the political agenda, which means that


we offer exceptional support for a soft landing and are dedicated to delivering our goals. We have attractive financial incentives for


both R&D and manufacturing activities. We also provide exceptional government support to ensure the smooth running of business in the country and a pool of highly skilled and motivated talent, as well as a welcoming and value-driven ecosystem. Attractive infrastructure for foreign compa-


nies is available throughout the entire country. Free economic zones provide favourable condi- tions for developing business by offering ready- to-build industrial sites with physical [and] legal infrastructure, support services and tax incentives. Supporting and expanding innovative busi- nesses isamong ourmain goals.


examples of other countries. The reformaims to ensure a coherent national technology and innovation ecosystem to foster cooperation between science, business and foreign investors. We hope that the involvement of all interested parties will help us achieve our ambitious goal of becoming the life sciences hub of Europe.■


Q A


www.fDiIntelligence.com April/May 2021


Are there any policy plans to further the ecosystem?


Weare currently implementing the innova- tion reformin Lithuania based on the best


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