58 | EVENTS Photo: Anne Orthen
Perfect match for digital future Win-Win is the best situation in business. On 21 January 2019 at the first German-Baltic Digital Summit in Düsseldorf, German authorities, clusters and companies met with entreprenerus, IT-start-ups and representatives from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to form a perfect match. Germany is the largest European IT market, but is lacking on fields like e-government and digital services. The interest to learn from the Baltic forerunners was expressed in a participation of 250 experts and over 160 individual matchmaking talks. In brief: the Summit proved to be the biggest economic meeting between the two regions yet. The Conference was organized by AHK in cooperation with NRW.Invest and supported by ministries from all four participating countries. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy of Northrhine-Westfalia, acted as the host of the event. “Why don‘t we Germans take consequences from the Baltic experiences”, he emphazised, “Why don‘t we speed up our own digital strategy with the help of Baltic partners and get better and faster?”. LBG/SG
"This week, Germany has finally discovered us," comments Viljar Lubi, Deputy Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economy and Communication from Estonia.
“We should learn from the Baltic States and accelerate the German digital strategy in this way,” said Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia, patron of the Summit (in the middle, with Thomas Schöllkopf, President of AHK, and Florian Schröder, CEO of AHK
“The Baltic States are undoubtedly pioneers in Europe and the world in some digital fields, especially in eGovernment. There are also many opportunities for NRW and Germany through joint projects for the administration and innovative companies” said Florian Schröder, CEO of AHK.
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â€œThe German Baltic Digital Summit and IT delegation was a great event for companies interested in the German market. In addition to matchmaking, we also saw a visionary side at government level. Now we look forward to expanding our relationship with our newly established contacts in Germanyâ€?, said Asse Hang, vice president of international sales at Datel AS.
“The Digital Summit opens new opportunities for Latvian ICT entrepreneurs to increase their exports by providing state-ofthe-art IT solutions based on artificial intelligence and advanced telecommunications technologies,” said Edmund Belskis, Secretary of State for Information and Communication Technology at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.
“Germany is only now discovering the importance of Blockchain and the opportunities it offers for services and cybersecurity. Estonia has a clear lead in this regard,” said keynote-speaker of the Summit - Ain Aaviskoo, General Manager of Guardtime.
62 | EVENTS Photo: TechChill Publicity Photos
What makes Latvian winters hot With more than 2000 attendees from 49 countries, 440 start-up representatives and 90 speakers the TechChill, which is held every spring in the last eight years, puts the small Latvia on the international tech map. TechChills motto “It’s the start-ups that make winters hot” fits all the better, now that the start-up-law was implemented last year. The Latvian Start-up-law offers some significant advantages to start-ups, such as a flat-rate tax regime and. This way Latvia is creating a great ecosystem for establishing innovative Start-ups. “Yet those living in the historic centre of Latvia’s capital city don’t live in the past — the Old Town also serves as the biggest startup hub in the Baltics” said Kitty Knowles, Journalist at Sifted and attended on this year’s TechChill. SG
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64 | EVENTS Photo: Chancery of the President of Latvia
High-ranking visitor in Germany In the end of February, the new President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis paid a state visit to Germany where he met with the German Federal Chancellor Merkel and the German President Frank Walter Steinmeier. The two dates that Steinmeier and the Latvian President attended, namely a joint meal at Hamburg City Hall and a concert at the Elbphilharmonie, showed the particularly cordial relationship. To also strengthen the economic relationship between Latvia and Germany in the field of IT and digitalisation, two framework contracts were signed between Hamburg@Work and LIKTA, as well as DESY and LIAA at the Business Forum “Magnetic Latvia”. Vējonis emphasizes the good cooperation: “Latvia’s and Germany’s shared economic relations are reflected by growing trade intensity. At the same time, Latvia is prepared for development of new cooperation directions, which is further proved by the large delegation of Latvian businessmen that joined me on a visit to Hamburg”. SG
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66 | EVENTS Photo: Mindaugas Mikulenas, Kaspars Garda
Change of guards An era coming to an end - after nine very successful years Thomas Schöllkopf at the annual general meeting in Tallinn retired from office as President of the AHK. A historic moment in the 25-year history of the German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (AHK). “We have achieved a lot in the nine years. We have set the chamber on a good path, especially in terms of the importance of the Baltic States in Germany but also in the European Union” Schöllkopf said. Thomas Schöllkopf, long-time member of the Executive Board of ERGO International AG, was first elected as President of the AHK in 2010 and confirmed in office in 2013 and 2016. At the AHK Regional Summit in Tallinn, which took place on the same day, Enn Meri also ended his term as Regional president. Aet Bergmann, leading partner of bnt attorneys in CEE, entered in his footsteps. There were further changes in the regional board in Lithuania this spring. Kazimieras Kaminskas stepped down as Regional president of AHK in Lithuania. Therefore, the Board elected Kęstutis Bagdonavičius, ERGO Group AG, as the new Regional president of the AHK in Lithuania. Kaspars Kalviškis was re-elected Regional president of the AHK in Latvia. HR