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Panevėžys development agency implemented a business environment improvement project in Panevėžys in 2020

2021 02 26


Last year the Panevėžys development agency started a new activity stage and took on initiatives to improve the business environment in the city. Their goal is to consistently increase the investment attractiveness of Panevėžys and to solve essential problems, confirmed by research, which business that executes its activity and plans development in Panevėžys faces.

After having won the competition for business development conditions improvement, the agency executed the project "Business environment improvement in Panevėžys" in 2020.  Thirteen project activities connected to city's business improvement were carried out in seven months. More than 500 business, education, science, and municipality institutions representatives were participating in the events organized by the agency, more than 40 consultations to the business and institutions were provided, 200 target contacts were made in the area of Industry 4.0, 65 articles published in regional, national, and Baltic States channels, almost 300 thousand people were reached with marketing measures. Panevėžys development agency applied a modern slogan to the city "Panevėžys Now", inviting to discover the renewed city and its potential.

"When discussing the business environment, most probably often come the thought about land plots suitable for factories, tax discounts, and the process of issuing the permits. During this project, we were pursuing to solve not such obvious problems, but the ones that have an essential impact on investment attraction or business development: the lack of human resources, lacking companies' capacity for innovations. We are glad that we were able to reach all the indicators we set for ourselves at the beginning of the project in spite of a short period and difficult quarantine situation. It is especially important that we were able to involve the representatives of business, education, science, public sector institutions, students, and diaspora communities, make or strengthen their mutual cooperation while creating a city more attractive to investments", - project manager Monika Miniotaitė said.

Attention to business development conditions

During the project a full in-depth business environment evaluation methodology was prepared, that is dedicated to overview business creation and development conditions in Panevėžys from all angles. Such a methodology will allow carrying out the said research on a regular basis, which will allow objectively evaluate the efficiency of the business environment improvement measures in execution and to plan new and the most relevant measures.

"The executed city business environment evaluation helps see the strengths of the city and the areas that need more attention in order to assure the competitiveness of the business environment. Today's business environment is very dynamic so in order to get to know it and evaluate it we have mobilized not only statistical data but also, we performed interviews with more than 300 business representatives. The results of the survey, business consultations, target meetings and communication during the events allows us to notice the most relevant problems to the business of today, anticipate needs, and plan the necessary steps required to improve the city's business environment", - says Panevėžys development agency analyst Jūratė Raukštienė.

City's movement in Industry 4.0 direction

During the project, a lot of attention was dedicated to Panevėžys strategic direction Industry 4.0 and the possibilities of executing it. In order for the city to more easily carry out such initiatives, the database was created in Panevėžys of the companies, institutions, organizations, and specialists who are interested in the development of Industry 4.0 together with possible areas and opportunities of cooperation. The database will allow the city to search for reliable partners for common projects more easily and to take over the experience.

Building forward on the Industry 4.0 contacts database, the agency together with partners organized seven events of innovation dissemination, which attracted almost 300 participants. During the events, the experts familiarized the companies of Panevėžys with the use of technological audits, the possibilities of technology payback, measures of innovation financing. There have been discussions about the need to diversify the activity and the use of gaining access to national and international alliance networks.

"The events of this profile are strengthening the dialog among the companies, promote the sharing of knowledge and help make valuable contacts. Moreover, it is getting easier to understand various problems experienced by the industry companies and propose possible solutions to them during the discussions. In many cases, the openness to new technological solutions and cooperation can help strengthen the companies. We are glad that we were able to attract the representatives of the public sector of France to the discussion about Industry 4.0 with the local companies. We also had a chance to organize events for KTU Faculty of Technology and Business, the big part of who work in the industry companies of the region. During the interactive workshops, we discussed with students about the ways for companies to increase competitiveness", M. Miniotaitė says.

Assuring of human resources

It is being loudly spoken in Panevėžys for the longest time about the lack of qualified employees of certain professions. One of the most effective ways to solve this problem is to assure the focused professional orientation of the school students. Together with Panevėžys Center of Education, the agency began an initiative "Lessons are measuring up to Panevėžys companies", during which the teachers in cooperation with city's institutions and companies were creating scenarios for lessons, educational video films connected to the activities executed by city companies. When learning according to these scenarios, the young Panevėžys residents get to know the work in the business companies closer, gain practical experience and are promoted to discover the professional path particularly in Panevėžys

In order to attract both new residents and the residents who left Panevėžys, the agency initiated a cooperation decree with five institutions that help new residents to more easily integrate into the city. Among those institutions are the Panevėžys city municipality, Employment Service Under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania Panevėžys customer service department, Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania Panevėžys unit, Panevėžys Territorial Health Insurance Fund, public company Panevėžys Park of Science and Technology. It has been agreed with the institutions regarding the first line of actions in developing the ecosystem for those who come to live in Panevėžys. While developing this initiative, a pilot event "Panevėžys awaits!" was organized, during which the Lithuanians who live abroad and in other cities of Lithuania were presented with the benefits of Panevėžys that is being renewed, together with the opportunities of career and business.

Panevėžys can be proud of the active community of Lithuanians living abroad who care about the development of the city and the project carried out by the municipality "Global Panevėžys", which pursues to bring together the community of former Panevėžys residents who live abroad. It is brimming with competencies, ideas, connections that can attract investments or make the city an attractive place to live. In cooperation with "Panevėžys Alumni" association the first virtual forum "Panevėžys connects" was initiated, to the discussions of which almost 100 representatives of diaspora and local communities who are not indifferent to the city joined.

During the event famous people of Lithuanian politics, culture, and art together with the participants were raising relevant questions about the relation between Panevėžys community and the diaspora living abroad and growing the mutual relation. According to the discussions in the forum, the plan of action was made on how to identify the experience accumulated by former residents living abroad, initiatives they are taking on and ideas to increase the attractiveness of Panevėžys, how to bring together the diaspora and local communities in order to improve the city's business environment.

City image improvement

Panevėžys development agency also takes care of the sustainability of the city tourism sector, creation of city's image and increasing attractiveness. The agency carried out the meetings with the city tourism sector companies and institutions and prepared an overview of coronavirus outbreak impact on this sector. According to the received results, discussions were organized with the representatives of this sector in order to gain closer cooperation, help make and strengthen the connections, create new products or services attractive to city's residents and tourists.

In order to improve the business environment and help the tourism sector, and initiative "Discover the colors of Panevėžys" was carried out. The goal of the initiative is to make the city more beautiful, help attract more residents to explore and discover the spaces of the city and promote tourists to visit new and interesting objects in the city. During the initiative the cooperation with tourism companies that are working in the city was made, two first walls were painted. You can see the new paintings on the façade of Smėlynės 112 and the masonry barrier next to it. These paintings together with interesting objects already in the city will be brought together and made into the tourist paths.

"We are not only providing the tourism information but also initiate incentives to create new tourism products in the city. We promote Panevėžys tourism sector companies to cooperate and ourselves, in reaction to certain situations, promote the initiatives. For example, during quarantine, in order to help the small business that was especially suffering from the effects of pandemic, the agency was sharing information on the internet about catering companies who were working during the quarantine and local artists and manufacturers, the production of which was possible to be bought online", - agency tourism project manager Vilanda Reikalienė said.

In order to attractively and in detail present the events taking place in the city, Panevėžys development agency prepared an internet events platform "What to do in Panevėžys" (www.renginiai.panevezysnow.lt). It is expected that in the long run, this platform will become a useful tool to the city's residents and the guests of the city, that will inform about the events taking place in Panevėžys.

"One of the goals of the agency is to show the city residents and guests how many interesting activities and occupations there are in Panevėžys in cooperation with Panevėžys companies and institutions. We strive to make the city even easier to discover – we created an events platform, we publish recommendations on the agency's website and social networks, consult, and always look for new ideas. The feedback is especially important to us – this way we discover many new places, services, etc., which we can communicate to a broader audience. I believe that Panevėžys can become the center of attraction both to tourists and to businesses", - marketing and communication specialist Kamilė Niunevaitė says.