Latvia is the heart of the New Nordics
The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia has delivered outstanding results in 2020 by doubling FDI inflow and workplaces compared to 2019. Around one-third of new jobs will be created by newly established ICT companies and business service centre.
Latvia has proved to be a reliable and resilient location for doing business despite the pandemic. Some industries have managed to adapt to the new reality, and even expand. The winners of 2020 were export companies including business service centres. Furthermore, the export of goods has reached a new record and grew by 1,7% compared to 2019.
A number of incentives have been implemented by the Investment and Development Agency. The fast-track “green channel” for hi-tech FDI projects (incl. IT and business service centres) that cuts administrative procedures by half (e.g. immigration, construction, etc.). The new employee training programme has been expanded and 7,9 million euro was allocated for labour force upskilling, knowledge transfer and high-quality training for specialists. In total there are more than 40 various incentives for business development, innovation and workforce development.
The notable newcomers that will create up to 900 new jobs in IT and Business Service industries were “Prime Force”, “q.beyond (QSC)”, “Swisscom”, and “Norwegian air”. Fuel and retail company “Circle-K” started to serve the US and Canada markets from their Riga office that grew from 100 to nearly 700 FTEs. Global business service industry company “Webhelp” has added another office in the second tier city (Daugavpils) and plans to employ up to 300 people in 2021. Overall we expect that business service centres will continue to expand their teams by 7-10% as in previous years.
Latvia has a low saturation rate of people employed in the business service centres compared to other capitals in Eastern Europe. Additionally, Riga has the lowest A-class office rent rates with around 170 000 sqm of office project pipeline until 2023.
Latvia is an attractive place for foreign specialists with the best housing availability index and the lowest residential price per square meter in the Baltics (by Swedbank). Furthermore, the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia has already assisted at least 17 hi-tech companies from Belarus that have already set up a new office or expanded existing one in Latvia. There is growing interest among startups since Altvia has been recognized as one of the most startup-friendly countries in the world (by Index Ventures). Foreign companies appreciate the ease of doing business, competitive tax policy, access to the markets, superior connectivity through a leading airport in the Baltics, well-established IT infrastructure, a multilingual and educated talent pool of Latvia.
At CEE Business Services Awards 2021 senior investment advisor Tarass Leo
ko (Investment and Development Agency of Latvia) will share more highlights and insights about Latvia and the business service industry in cooperation with ABSL Latvia and Riga City Council.