Funding and Investment Lithuania

Overview funding (source: own draft)

The ease of doing business in Lithuania is ranked 16th in the world by ‘Doing Business’ report 2018: it takes only three days to start a new business in Lithuania, which reflects a minimal red tape approach.
Furthermore, Lithuania offers the lowest corporate revenue tax compared to countries such as Latvia, Estonia, Poland, UK, Germany. Lithuania’s thriving start-up culture attracted a world-leader mobile game publisher such as ‘Game Insight’ who moved their HQ from Moscow to Vilnius. Likewise, 15 other gaming companies from Russia and CIS countries have chosen Vilnius as their base. Planner 5D, Devtodev, Kula Tech, 4Talk were among those who relocated and consider Lithuania a bridge country between Eastern and Western markets. Due to its convenient geographic location and the overall business environment, Lithuania is a perfect spot to start, speed up and scale new companies into global markets. There are two private venture capital funds – Nextury Ventures and Ltk Capital, as well as two start-up accelerators: Startup.lt – run by Practica Capital and StartupHighway – one of the biggest start-up accelerators in Eastern Europe.

Few obstacles occur when game studios try to get financial investment: The gaming industry is not yet an item of the Lithuanian Smart Specialization strategy. This appears to be the biggest stumbling block for companies applying for public funding.
Gaming industry projects could be integrated into other Smart Specialization priority areas: gamification contributes to improved treatment of various type of diseases. Education is another priority area where game developers contribute and improve traditional learning methods. Private investors are always very cautious when thinking about the possibility to invest in one of the gaming companies. The gaming industry is a small but highly profitable community – five hundred workers generate about 100 m € revenue. However, these figures do not ensure that companies will continue to create successful products. The market is fast moving and the shortage of the skilled labour increases the uncertainty about the potential of gaming companies. The Lithuanian market will additionally need almost 13,500 IT professionals in the next three years. Companies planning to grow in the near future will face a tough competition for IT specialists, and especially for employees who are experienced in areas of game development or game designing.

CULTURAL AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIESGRANTS FOR THE ARTS (Lithuanian Council of Culture)

  • Who: legal entities registered in one of the Member States of the EU or the European Economic Area, recipients must have registered offices in the Republic of Lithuania.
  • What: export volumes and economic value of Lithuanian cultural and creative industries, incl. the activities of development and promotion of video games and multimedia projects in Lithuania and abroad, incl. preparation of marketing materials for promotion and participation of professionals in international cross-sectoral events promoting their skills and international networking
  • Nature: Grant
  • Size & conditions: Total budget for the programme: 600,000 €, partial funding: 75% of project costs, minimum of 2,250 € there is no maximum sum for one project.
  • Geographical scope: national (LT)
  • Time scales: 2 calls per year, from call to deadline: not less than 20 days, decision making within 4-5 months, from approval to actual start of the support period 1 month
  • Other: Currently 30% of the grants went to game studios or game networking events, success rate: 23/89=0.26

INTELEKTAS. BENDRI MOKSLO-VERSLO PROJEKTAI (Ministry of Economy, EU Structural funds)

  • Who: Private legal entities (excluding academic and education institutions); Public institutions carrying out R&D activities (except for science and studies institutions); all sectors included in the national Smart Specialization areas
  • What: R&D activities, support is determined for business and science collaboration, eligible costs: R&D execution (e.g. salaries, secondments, consultations, raw materials etc.), R&D infrastructure (e.g. equipment, tools, furniture etc.), certification (e.g. patent, license etc.)
  • Nature: Grant
  • Size & conditions: total budget: 100 m €, max. grant: 3 m €, partial grant: 30-70% of total costs
  • Geographical scope: national (LT)
  • Time scales: 1 call per year, from call to deadline: 3 months, decision making within 6 months, 3-year projects with quarterly reports
  • Other: Game industry fits into one of priorities: Inclusive and creative industry, success rate: 6/7=0.86

INOKLASTER (Ministry of Economy, EU Structural funds)

  • Who: Legal persons representing forming, developing and mature clusters and international clusters operating in Lithuania.
  • What: Investment in the cluster’s R&D infrastructure. Mainly these are the main objectives of this scheme:
    1 Promote the creation and development of clusters (operating aid for cluster operation, i.e. attracting new members, training, marketing, conducting strategies, research, etc.)
    2 Increase the cluster’s innovative potential.
    3 Promote cluster integration into international networks (clusters), eligible costs: construction, reconstruction, repair costs (not more than 30% of all costs), Equipment and other assets (gadgets, furniture, patents, licences)
  • Nature: Grant
  • Size & conditions: Total budget – 24 m €, max. grant 2.5 €, partial funding: 65% of costs
  • Geographical scope: National (LT)
  • Time scales: call every 2 years, 3-year projects
  • Other: Game industry fits into one of priorities: inclusive and creative industry. Game industry could be fostered to create a network with other companies and research institutions from the gaming industry. 3 of 6 clusters which have received funding during the final call of Inoklaster scheme were from the audio-visual industry. These clusters are not directly related with the gaming industry, but it involves a couple of enterprises who create video games with a success rate of 6/7=0.86.

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Status: 01/2019