Panevėžys is one of Lithuania's cities with a strong vision for the future and an ambition to become a modern industrial centre. The country's fifth largest city boasts the ability to combine the convenience of small-town living with a vibrant, modern industry and a technology-oriented education system. Partners of “Foundation” international project gathered in the city to experience the benefits of this synergy.
The region has a lot of untapped potential
Naturally, there are many challenges and unforeseen issues in implementing innovative strategies, some of which LIT has been working on with Foundation project partners who are also addressing similar development challenges, in an effort to increase the region's economic resilience. Tautvydas Pipiras, Project Manager at the Lithuanian Innovation Centre, stresses that the success of the region's development depends on mutual trust. The city of Panevėžys and its region have a lot of untapped potential, which lies primarily in the companies themselves: ideas, data generated by the companies, and available technologies. Sharing resources and stronger cooperation could pave the way for new breakthrough innovations and increase the efficiency and competitiveness of companies.
“Business and science are critical parts of the innovation ecosystem that must work together. Innovation comes from the application of the knowledge created by scientists, and to become a regional hub for robotics, it is essential to strengthen the dialogue between businesses and the region's research organisations. During our visit, we noticed that some entrepreneurs focus on increasing production volumes, but spend less time on generating innovative ideas and developing new products that create the highest added value. Meanwhile, universities should focus more on improving entrepreneurial skills, so that young scientists and professionals are motivated to create new products, businesses or offer their knowledge to companies in the region,” says Pipiras.
An industrial tradition that is true to the region's specialisation
The Panevėžys Development Agency helped to introduce the city to the foreign guests. Monika Miniotaitė, the head of the agency, not only welcomed the guests to Panevėžys, but also presented the city's business environment: “The industrial sector in Panevėžys is better developed than in Lithuania. It accounts for one third of the region's gross domestic product, and more than five hundred industrial enterprises employ almost one third of the region's population. But we are working not only to attract more industrial companies to the city, to help the resilience of existing businesses, but also to create better conditions for people to enjoy the opportunities in the city. This is why the Agency is also working on a strategy to promote industrial tourism. We want to make the most of every opportunity to foster the industrial tradition that Panevėžys has been building for decades.”
Foundation partners had the opportunity to visit not only the industrial companies (including Harju Elekter), but also to get to know the opportunities offered by industrial tourism by touring the Panevėžys Glass Factory and Glasremis Art Glass Studio and taking a ride on the Panevėžys Siauruku.