Today, President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mayor of Riga Mārtiņš Staķis visited innovation movement “VEFRESH” to discuss the importance of science, research and innovation for the economy and current education and talent attraction agenda.
According to President of Latvia, New Teika neighbourhood is an innovation hub fundamentally important for the economy of Riga and Latvia. Most of our country’s information and communication technology (ICT) business originates in this neighbourhood, this two square kilometre stretch houses 42% of Latvia’s ICT sector turnover.
President of Latvia Egils Levits visited the innovation movement “VEFRESH” to learn about how its business and neighbourhood has developed. Business managers and community organisations shared their views on the future of the industry and its potential to create positive change. ‘Your activities allow us to estimate the level of change. By linking education, science and innovations in one ecosystem, which serves as a vehicle for delivering commercial applications, you have achieved the next level of prosperity and made positive impact on the environment,’ President of Latvia noted.
‘Riga was booming before the World War I. State-of-the-art technologies of the time led to major leap. We are going through a very similar process today – modern technologies are at the core of another major leap in economy and quality of life,’ President Levits pointed out.
Meeting participants from “VEFRESH” told President Levits about their efforts to build an innovative and green urban neighbourhood, testing of progressive ideas, particularly in scope of urban mobility incubator programme.
Participants also touched upon investment attraction opportunities and projects, ICT future growth potential and challenges. ICT skills among young people and teachers were also discussed at length. Need for smart city strategy and Riga technology incubator was emphasised.
President and “VEFRESH” business community and neighbourhood organisations, such as Latvian Mobile Phone, Accenture Baltics, Mikrotik, A/S Pillar, New Teika, IT Education Fund, Institute of Electronics and Computing Science, Northern Riga Culture Community, TietoEVRY, Galio and Bonava met at the ‘Mikrotīkls’ office. VEF quarter has traditionally been the technological innovation hub of Latvia and an important driver of national economy. It is only natural to see Latvia’s 21st-century global technological leaders take the place once occupied by the Latvian technological giant, VEF, more than hundred years ago.