Working together for green, competetive and inclusive Europe

Cluster experts: Too many high-level companies collaborate only locally

With the pooling of knowledge and experience, companies implementing information and communication technology (ICT) solutions are increasingly clustering. “Such a format of cooperation between various investment programs is gaining momentum in Lithuania. However, it is noticeable that many high-level company partners are concentrated only in the local market” notes the director of MITA Gintas Kimtys. The cluster specialists told what advantage the joining forces in an international cluster creates for business and what potential the Scandinavians themselves see as the potential of Lithuanian business cooperation with the innovation leader Norway.

Scandinavians value relations with Lithuanian companies Torkild Follaug, CEO of ICT Telemark, a cluster administrator and innovation intermediary, says ICT is the engine of innovation that addresses the major challenges facing the world today. However, today, most high-level companies have little or no involvement in international activities.

"I would like to see more small and medium-sized enterprises that develop their value and strategy in line with today's trends. A great perspective can be seen in companies developing innovations in areas such as the environment, electrification, autonomy, automation and improving the quality of life. Norway is a small country, and Norwegian companies need to focus on international cooperation in order to grow. As a result, a large proportion of successful companies typically use business support schemes such as Norway Grants, says T. Follaug, CEO of ICT Telemark.

According to him, investment support for Norway Grants is an effective and risk-reducing catalyst that can help expand the network and start cooperation. At the same time, it is a unique opportunity for Lithuanian business to develop and offer its digital services and products in the ICT sector.

“In recent years, ICT Telemark has focused on building its network and finding a position so that we can respond to the interests and proposals of both Lithuania and Norway. One of our key areas is internationalization and helping our member companies grow in international markets. Lithuania's interest in co-operation with Scandinavia is very important to us, therefore we are constantly trying to expand our Lithuanian network and look for new common opportunities, ”says T. Follaug, adding that ICT Telemark is already successfully cooperating with several high-level companies and organizations in Lithuania.

Clustering promotes the transfer of knowledge and experience
Laima Kaušpadienė, the head of the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park, says that ICT is the future and the more the Baltic Sea Region cooperates in this field, the more attractive it will be for business and society.

"Joining international clusters promotes the transfer of knowledge and experience, provides access to unique resources and allows the development of common platforms, accesses and standards that open up the market of its neighbors to each member. For example, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index DESI, Norway is strongly ahead of Lithuania - it is third after Finland and Sweden, at that time Lithuania ranks fifteenth, ”L. Kaušpadienė notes.

Since 2018, the Sunrise Valley Digital Innovation Center has been coordinating the Lithuanian Clean Technology Cluster, which unites companies operating in the field of clean technologies, research and study institutions and other entities cooperating with their professional knowledge and experience. The cluster participates in the InoLink project for the promotion and development of innovation networking implemented by MITA.

Last year, the international project InnoCAPE was launched with the aim of increasing the capacity of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) in the Baltic Sea region. The aim is to make them a new tool for implementing Industrial 4.0 strategies and digitization policies.

"We are collaborating with the Oslo-based digital innovation center DigitalNorway, both inside and outside the project. When developing the tool to assess the digital maturity of business, we initially intended to analyze what advanced ICT tools businesses use today, but the Scandinavian partners pointed out that the digitalisation of business starts not from technology but from an approach. With this in mind, InnoCAPE's digital maturity assessment tool has become unique among similar tools that develops an open approach to business digitization and encourages companies to review their values ​​in the context of Industry 4.0" said L. Kaušpadienė, Director of the Cluster Coordinator.

According to her, differences in attitudes are still emerging in cooperation with Norwegian partners. The Scandinavians focus on democracy, society and confidence-building. At that time, we hear more often in the business environment of our country: more efficient, more productive, more competitive. Based on these values, Lithuanian business can offer impetus, which Scandinavians, who tend to plan for a long time, often see as a reckless rush. L. Kaušpadienė says that both countries work together to create a balance and a formula for success.

Lithuania's advantage is technical competence
"Lithuania's advantage is strong technical competence, and Lithuania's business culture is much more similar to Norway's than many people imagine. Due to the lower price level and the small geographical distance to Norway, Lithuanian companies can create a very competitive offer at the international level. Norway lacks IT expertise and specialists, and demand is growing every year. In order to find new ways to meet the needs of the market, the Norwegian IT consulting company Miles has established a subsidiary in Lithuania, Vegvisir, says its CEO Gøran Skeie Ellingsen.

Vegvisir has joined the recently established fintech business cluster BCCS (Blockchain, Cyber ​​Security and Compliance Solutions) in Lithuania. Currently, the company maintains business relations with four Norwegian start-ups for whom Lithuanians have developed a minimum viable product (MVP). These include Tappin, a digital solutions platform that facilitates the organization of events, and Visualyst, a media technology startup. Lithuanian ideas were also implemented by creating an online seafood trading platform JetSeafood and an automated document collection and management system Lifeplanner.

“Lithuanian IT products that offer software development projects to Norwegian companies and implement joint intellectual property agreements have great potential. In this way, it is possible to develop products with a wide range of technical possibilities and at the same time strengthen competence in those business areas where Norway has a strong reputation. For example, oil, seafood, telecommunications services and renewable energy” G. S. Ellingsen summarizes the potential of the Lithuanian-Norwegian partnership in the field of ICT.

Lithuanian companies wishing to develop new ICT-based solutions and find a project partner in Norway can apply for funding from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism Program. Business Development, Innovation and SMEs until 2021 February 12 Information on the ICT call for proposals can be found on the MITA and Norway Grants websites.
Email us