Presenting Vilnius Smart Park – The Newest Addition to the Lithuanian Capital’s Innovation Ecosystem
Set in a lush forest area not far from the Vilnius University’s east-end campus, the Vilnius Smart Park – one of the largest technology park projects in Lithuania – opened with a presentation of the first several buildings, and plans for future development.
Scheduled for completion by 2022, the Vilnius Smart Park will be the newest addition to the city’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem. Spanning 24 hectares of green space, it will promote the development of innovative products in health and biotech, robotics, IT and communications, and cleantech (energy and environment).
The project’s development has been divided into two phases. The first began in March 2016, and will run to 2017. It is expected that 15 percent of the project will be completed within that period. It is estimated that the final cost of the initial phase will be EUR 4m.
The cost of the total project is estimated at EUR 7.2m and the aim is to attract companies and talent from abroad, as well as promoting home-grown tech industries such as biomedical, lasers, and others. So far, EUR 10m has been invested, and it is expected that the combined public and private sector investment will be EUR 160-220m.
The second phase (the remaining 85 percent) of the project will be implemented between 2018-2022. When finished, the park will include a include a 2,000 square metre business incubator as well as 1000 metres of public space. Other facilities will see that that the development of products, technologies, or patents meet international standards. A sports complex will also be built to ensure the wellbeing of the staff of companies who have chosen to set-up shop at the Vilnius Smart Park.
The park is expected to create around 1,000 new jobs and attract at least 20 small-to-medium-sized tech companies. The project developers also hope to attract two research and academic institutions or their branches.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Lithuania’s Vice Minister for Economics, Marius Skarupskas, noted that Vilnius Smart Park will provide space for the development of businesses that create innovative technological solutions by applying the results of scientific research.
“In contrast to the Free Economic Zones and industrial areas in the other Lithuanian cities – Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai – Vilnius Smart Park will be the only business park in the country that focuses on the development and production of innovative technologies,” said the Vice Minister, whose ministry, along with the City of Vilnius through Start Vilnius and the Northtown Technology Park, is a sponsor of the project.
According to Skarupskas, Vilnius Smart Park’s benefits will extend beyond the capital, and spread across the entirety of Lithuania.
“This is one of the largest and most unique projects we have ever started, and we hope it will strengthen Lithuania’s innovation system,” said Skarupskas. “We are confident that the Vilnius Smart Park will attract foreign investors to Vilnius, and their arrival will improve the country’s global economic performance and competitiveness.”
Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius also has confidence in the park’s potential.
“Vilnius is a city that is fast and open to business, and Vilnius Smart Park aims to become not only an important hub for Lithuania, but also for the entire Central Eastern European region,” he said. “If we want to compete with the world’s leading innovation centres, we need to be original in our approach and simply not copy our rival markets. In doing so, this will help both Vilnius and Lithuania move forward, and see us become an attractive location for professionals and investors from abroad.”