10 reasons to work and start a business in Lithuania’s capital

Photo by Laimonas Ciūnys

As businesses become more global, companies planning to relocate or expand are looking for cities that are attractive both for economic reasons and for the wellbeing of their employees. Finding locations matching these criteria may not be easy, but Vilnius definitely ticks these boxes.

1. Special attention and free support for relocation to Vilnius
In mid-November, the new International House Vilnius service centre opened in Vilnius. It has partnered with 10 official Lithuanian institutions to help foreigners with services in English and Russian. International House Vilnius facilitates the process of obtaining a residence permit and compulsory health insurance, declaring your place of residence, registering your kids in school and offers advice on tax and revenue-related issues, as well as other topics related to relocation and integration.

“Our priority technology sectors are growing, and Lithuania is becoming an increasingly attractive place to live and work for qualified foreign professionals. International House Vilnius will not only facilitate the process of relocation and integration for skilled professionals, but will also improve Lithuania’s image as an innovative, advanced and open country,” says Aušrinė Armonaitė, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation.

2. Excellent value in terms of living costs and quality
In 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked Vilnius among the top six cities in terms of work-life balance. It makes sense – for instance, commuting in Vilnius takes half an hour on average, and the city has a well-developed infrastructure and service sector. Some companies operating in the city have even successfully experimented with a four-day work week.

Furthermore, you don’t have to be a millionaire to live in the city centre and enjoy its UNESCO-listed Old Town. You can rent a one-room apartment in the centre for about 500 euros, while lunch can cost as little as seven euros. Health services and entertainment are also very affordable – according to the Mercer Cost of Living Ranking 2020, Vilnius ranks seventh among EU capitals.

Photo by Augustas Didžgalvis

3. An increasing number of international companies choose Vilnius
Lithuania is home to start-ups like Vinted, Trafi, Tesonet and Genus AI, and is also a great springboard for international careers and successful collaborations with global companies. More than 150 international companies currently operate in Lithuania, including global giants like Google, Uber, Revolut, and Thermo Fisher.

According to Invest Lithuania, the country’s foreign investment promotion agency, some 34% of the investors in the country plan to increase their workforce soon. It is estimated that as many as 600 new jobs will be created in the FinTech sector in the short-term.

4. Transport services inspired by the sharing economy
Lithuania is a sharing economy leader, which means you don’t have to own a car to be mobile in Vilnius – you can use CityBee cars or Spark electric vehicles. CityBee estimates that one of their shared cars can replace up to 12 privately-owned cars.

If you’re into green ideas and physical activity, you can get around Vilnius easily on rented bikes or electric scooters. New technologies are boldly making their way into the city and it’s no coincidence that Vilnius ranked third in the 2021 European Capital of Innovation Awards.

5. The capital of FinTech
In 2019, The Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence unit ranked Vilnius tops among 30 cities attracting the most foreign investment in tech start-ups between 2016 and 2018, ahead of giant tech hubs like Singapore, Tel Aviv, Berlin and London.

In 2020, there were 230 FinTech start-ups operating in Lithuania, employing over 4,000 people.  According to data published Invest Lithuania in 2021, Lithuania has the highest number of licensed FinTech companies in the EU. The largest community of this sector is concentrated in Vilnius, which currently hosts more than 20 business hubs and accelerators.

6. Fast internet and a broad range of e-services
In Vilnius, you can set up a business in just 24 hours with the help of an e-signature and a well-developed e-services network. According to data collected by the Lithuanian “DNA of the Future Economy” initiative, 90% of public sector services in Lithuania are digitalised, while e-services are used by more than 80% of the country’s population and 97% of its businesses.

It is easy to file and administer taxes, register changes in company management, recruit people and perform other business-critical services online. Having one of the world’s fastest internet connections also contributes to the country’s rapid digitalisation. In the 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index, Lithuania was ranked sixth in the EU in terms of digital public services.

7. Lithuanians have great English and Russian-speaking skills
Most of the country’s population is fluent English and/or Russian, making it easy for people from abroad to communicate with locals. Eurostat data indicates that 95.6% of Lithuanians spoke one or more foreign languages in 2016. Vilnius is also one of Europe’s youngest capitals – according to Invest Lithuania, more than half of the city’s residents are under 40 years old.

8. A green city for quality relaxation after work
You can reach a nice relaxation spot by a lake surrounded by forests in just a 30-minute drive from Vilnius. The city is sometimes referred to as a city in a forest, and there is truth to that. Only one fifth of the city’s territory is urban, while the rest is green spaces – regional and city parks, walking trails and open-air recreation areas.

When you live in Vilnius, it’s easy to get away for a weekend by the sea – the beaches of the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are only a three-hour drive away. The popular resorts of Birštonas, Anykščiai and Druskininkai with their premium SPAs are even closer.

9. Active cultural life and high-quality food
There are plenty of cultural events in Vilnius – the city is home to the MO Museum of modern art, the National Art Gallery, the National Opera and Ballet Theatre and over 30 other theatres. Every year, the Lithuanian capital hosts traditional events, like Culture Night and St Casimir’s Fair, as well as Street Music Day, the Light Festival. Visiting the reborn Station district or strolling around the former Lukiškės Prison, which is now open to the public, are also a must. Those looking for gourmet experiences won’t go hungry either, as Vilnius is full of restaurants cafés and pubs serving different cuisines from around the world.

10. A variety of events on the occasion of the city‘s anniversary
Vilnius will be celebrating its 700th anniversary in 2023 with all kinds of events and festivities characteristic of the youthful and creative capital known for its bold ideas. Together with locals, you’ll have the chance to co-author a unique film about the city, relive a 17th-century opera with the help of artificial intelligence, participate in various performances, learn what Vilnius Poker is, and discover many other exciting activities and opportunities for your business.