Initiatives to help businesses in the face of the pandemic
Up to date, Lithuania has less than 1900 total cases and less than 100 deaths related to COVID-19. This shows that the response from the government agencies, business and the population has been effective.
During the pandemic, the Lithuanian Government was seeking to ensure that the suppliers would be capable of meeting the greatly increased demand for different personal protective equipment (PPE) categories due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was publicly declared that the priority of supply will be given to local manufacturers of PPE to stimulate the economy.
Part of the reason why the situation was very well, was help from public institution Enterprise Lithuania. The institution has been very active in helping take the necessary measures for protection. Enterprise Lithuania created a single point of contact, where both local and foreign companies could submit their proposals. The organization closely collaborated with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania and as a result, three different PPE categories were purchased from local manufacturers. Additionally, Enterprise Lithuania developed new initiatives during pandemic aimed to further stimulate the economy, which is described below.
Catalogue of Personal Protective Equipment Manufacturers and Importers
One of the initiatives is called “Business against COVID-19”, which is a catalogue of Lithuanian producers and importers that can provide PPE of various categories such as disinfectant, coveralls, respirators, face masks, face shields and many more. Currently, there are more than 200 different companies within the catalogue and it is accessible both in Lithuanian and English languages.
During the pandemic, it was seen that Lithuanian manufacturers were able to adapt to the need within the market and create new products, as the majority of these companies did not produce PPE prior to the global pandemic. Even new innovative solutions were created such as Teltonika created lung ventilators and Rubedos created a robot that can be used to disinfect places.
Furthermore, the Lithuanian manufacturers have not only supplied PPE within Lithuania but also started searching for export opportunities to other countries. Some manufacturers have also started certification processes of their products such as EN149:2001+A1:2009, CE, EN14683:2019 in order to make sure that their production complies with the certification and make the export process easier.
Helping Businesses Create E-shop for their Products
During the pandemic, a trend was seen that more transactions are taking place in e-shops. Therefore, another initiative from Enterprise Lithuania was called “No quarantine on the Internet”. The goal of this initiative is to encourage Lithuanian small and medium companies to create e-shops for their businesses or to further improve their existing e-shops. Within this program, there are written tutorials on how the companies can create e-shops and there is a network of mentors, who can be contacted if the companies have any questions during the process.
Since the beginning of this initiative, more than 1000 e-shops have registered to this initiative, representing more than 15 different product categories such as clothing, food, furniture. The full list of participants within this programme can be found at Enterprise Lithuania’s website, providing more exposure to the companies and their e-shops. During this time a network of 100 mentors was created that are consulting the programme participants and answering their questions.
At the beginning of this initiative, around 70% of all enquiries came from companies that were not using online channels. This shows that Enterprise Lithuania created the initiative at the right time and that Lithuanian companies are adapting quickly to the changing environment and to adapt the selling channels to the users’ needs.
E-commerce Webinars for Businesses
From the beginning of April to the middle of June, Enterprise Lithuania organized e-commerce webinars on various topics in order to help Lithuanian companies start their journey in e-commerce. Companies learned about:
- Facebook advertising and communication
- Google tools – SEO, Adwords, Google analytics
- Internet marketing strategy – how to communicate on social networks, what kind of website to have to sell goods, how to export to foreign markets.
In total, more than 2,000 participants have registered for the training, and the total number of views is almost 9,000. Currently, the plan is to continue working with these companies by providing them with individual consultations or appointing a mentor. The main goal of this program is to encourage business to use as many online tools as possible to boost their sales in order not to be affected by the future crisis.
In the face of the pandemic, businesses and institutions in all countries began looking for solutions to contribute to faster management of COVID-19. Lithuania is not an exception: Lithuania exports and entrepreneurship agency “Enterprise Lithuania” promptly mobilized and took the initiative “Business against COVID-19”. This initiative aims to coordinate the Lithuanian businesses who can supply and manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE). The list of companies producing or providing PPE prepared by the agency includes more than 200 Lithuanian companies, of which as much as 30% are manufacturers capable of supplying their manufactured PPE.
Although the Lithuanian export growth rate slowed down in 2019, the country’s exporters still had something to enjoy. All of us have a different mood this spring – the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting business plans and destroying even the most cautious forecasts.