Startup Manifesto beta

Policy Tracker

Track progress in Latvia


A former Soviet republic, this Baltic state is an otherwise dynamic and vibrant economy whose growth has been fuelled by foreign direct investment. Now Latvia rediscovers entrepreneurship. In 2015, the Latvian startup community platform “Labs of Latvia” was officially launched. The platform provides information from and about Latvian startups to the world. Its database includes more than 100 Latvian startups, investors and communities. The 2015 Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union was crucial too. Riga hosted #InnoWeek2015 – “First Innovative Enterprise Week,” with a focus on access to finance for research, innovation and SMEs. The conference brought together EU policymakers and Baltic startup scene representatives. Despite these positive developments, the country still faces many challenges in adopting Startup Manifesto-based recommendations.

To track progress in the implementation of other priorities and actions across countries – visit the interactive Dashboard page

The Startup Manifesto Policy Tracker is a dynamic tool, open to suggestions for improvement and external contributions. If you would like to share with us a country or regional initiative which you believe should be included in this survey, please leave your comment below.

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Institutional Framework

“General regulatory environment for startups”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
0.1 Is there a national strategy in support of startups in place? e.g: No We have discussed for years with Ministry of Economics about implementation of "national Small Business Act", but still without any results. The Ministry works mainly with Doing Business ranking.
0.2 Has the country created a national startup manifesto? No Procees has been started since end of year 2015. Ministry of Economics took a leadership and has started discussion by involving other ministries, business organizations and NGO representing startup companies.
0.3 Has your country introduced legislation defining startups and providing special status to them (startup status related legislation) eg.: No Discussion on possible legislation has been put into agenda.
0.4 Does the country effectively appliy SME Test ( to systematically assess the impact of legislation on SMEs? No Overall, while the government has taken some 'think small first' initiatives to better implement the SME test, revise the mechanism for consulting stakeholders and reduce administrative burdens on micro companies, there is still room for improvement. The most pressing need for policy action in this area is to implement common commencement dates and the forward planning of business-related legislation.
0.5 Is the time taken to start a business equal or below EU target of 3 days? Yes 2 days
0.6 Has an E-commerce Directive been fully implemented by the country? Yes
0.7 Have measures in support of the principles of a digital single market been undertaken on a national level? Yes
0.8 Have provisions enabling new legally challenging business models of sharing economy ( such as blablacar, Airbnb, Uber? No There is no legislation to secure investments and investors who are involved in peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. Consumer Rights Protection Centre issued a warning

Education & Skills

“Make teachers digitally confident and competent to rise to the challenge.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
1.1.1 Does a strategy document exist alone or as a part of a bigger strategic package? Yes Information Society Development Guidelines for 2006 – 2013 forms the bases for E-skills policy in Latvia setting the objective to provide citizens and businesses with preconditons to full access and use of the ICTs based information resources, as well as public services tailored to customers’ needs.“E-Skills Development Plan for 2011 -2013” serves as the tool to implement the objective defined in guidelines, defines specific action lines on practical e-skills development and promotion to contribute the information society development.
1.1.2 Has ICT been implemented as a part of the core curriculum? No Coding is not integrated in school curriculum. Read more on cross-European comparison: According to Education Law one of the forms of acquisition of education is extramural education (a sub-category of the extramural education method – distance education) Sample of distance education programe of general education There is currently no national level programme of e-learning, but a number of schools are using e-learning environment.
1.1.3 Are there effective government initiatives in place to encourage the involvement of startups and developers in providing ICT training for teachers and students? No Only some small incentives. More plans than action and allocation of resources.
1.1.4 Are the training initiatives (for teachers) using e-learning tools present in the national programmes and action plans? Yes 1. Development of educational information systems, providing effective education management and e-services for students and teachers, as well as providing substantial increase of the use of IT at all education levels is included in the Action Plan for the Implementation of Declaration of the Intended Activities of the Cabinet of Ministers 2. Development of IT-based learning and methodological materials, professional development of teachers (incl. IT skills) is included in the Education Development Guidelines 2007-2014 3. Introduction of modern teaching methods (IT-based), including learning materials, e-environment opportunities, development of distance learning is included in the National Reform Programme for the Implementation of the EU 2020 Strategy 4. Digitalization of schools and development of distance learning is included in the Latvian Sustainable Development Strategy „Latvia 2030”
“Teach our children the principles, processes and the passion for entrepreneurship from young age.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
1.2.1 Has a national system for vocational traineeships in entrepreneurship for 12 - 18 y.o. been established? No
1.2.2 Have courses / activities aimed at enhancing entrepreneurship skills been introduced as a part of the core curriculum in a primary and a secondary education system (e.g. willingness to take risks, ability and willingness to take initiative)? No There are some incentives organized by comercial banks, universities and local municipalities. More out-of-school time programs.
“Encourage university students to start a business before they graduate.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
1.3.1 Are there national/ regional programmes that encourage (e.g. with providing co-funding) the creation of startup Incubators / Accelerators? Yes There is some incubators in universities (e.g.;
1.3.2 Has the country introduced any funding programmes for students who want to translate their business idea into a reality? No
1.3.3 Has the country taken additional measures to promote more actively Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme? Yes More information:
1.3.4 Has the country developed incentives for academics to engage in entrepreneurial activity and stimulate the creation of university spin-offs? No
1.3.5 Have support measures to mentor and coach women entrepreneurs at undergraduate level been implemented? No There is one private mentoring program aimed directly to women (, but there is no system at national level
“Prepare graduates for a radically different marketplace (digital skills + vocational training).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
1.4.1 Has your country joined the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs with a national/local coalition to promote digital employment? Yes Latvian e-Skills coalition
1.4.2 Has some form of "digital course certificate" confirming ICT skills been introduced as part of a curriculum in the higher education system? No
1.4.3 Has the Action 68 of the Digital Agenda to mainstream eLearning in national policies been implemented in your country? Yes
“Encourage large companies to provide training for the general public (for management, leadership and communication skills).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
1.5.1 Have the measures to promote / scale up business - universities partnerships within the Knowledge Alliance on a national level been undertaken? No
1.5.2 Have measure been introduced (such as co-financing by the country) to support provision of specific training (management, sales etc.) by corporates for people already working for SMEs / startups or unemployed? Yes Country supports such incentives via allocation of EU funds. There are specially designed programmes for SMEs with bettre co-finacing rate up to 70%. Currently anounced :
1.5.3 Have the national programmes to promote business-universities partnerships been implemented to provide work placement as part of the curriculum? Yes This has been identified as priority and implemented in the Education Development Guidelines for 2014- 2020 Implementation Plan 2015 - 2017

Access to Talent

“Turn Europe into the easiest place for highly skilled talent to start a company and get a job by rolling out a pan-European startup Visa.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
2.1.1 Has a national startup visa programme to streamline process of setting up a business by non-EU, skilled talent been introduced in your country? No Startups grow and then moves to other EU countries or USA.
2.1.2 Has a national policy in support of attracting foreign startups been introduced? No
2.1.3 Has the EU Blue Card Directive (Directive 2009/50/EC) aimed at facilitating the admission and mobility of highly qualified migrants and their family members by harmonising entry and residence conditions throughout the EU been fully implemented by the country? Yes
2.1.4 Has the country signed bilateral and/or multilateral agreements with non-EU countries facilitating easier / free movement of workers? No
“Make it easy for companies to hire outside their home countries in the EU.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
2.2.1 Has a national policy measure in support of making a remote hiring of employees directly across EU possible and less burdensome been introduced (e.g. elimination of residence requirement)? No Main national policy masure is strenhtening and promoting EURES resurces Workinfg permits
“Make it easier for smaller companies to let employees go (special flexibility in human resources management for small companies).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
2.3.1 Has the country enabled the flexible and reliable contractual arrangements in line with EU common flexicurity principles? No The country shows performance below the EU average with respect to flexible and reliable contractual arrangements
2.3.2 Has the country adopted the comprehensive life-long learning strategies in support of EU common flexicurity principles? No The country shows performance below the EU average with respect to life-long learning strategies
2.3.3 Has the country implemented the effective active labor market policies to assist job-to-job transition in line with EU common flexicurity principles? No The country shows performance below the EU average with respect to the active labour market policies
2.3.4 Has the country introduced the modern social security systems’ solutions in line with EU common flexicurity principles (e.g. solutions that would ensure the possibility for temporary workers to accumulate rights and would improve portability of entitlements across firm or branch borders)? Yes The country shows performance above the EU average in terms of the modern social security systems solutions
“Bring the best brains back home (EU countries must launch targeted campaigns aimed at bringing their talent back home, through research grants, logistical support and public recognition).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
2.4.1 Has a national/ regional strategy to attract high-skilled labor through international student recruitment been developed? No
2.4.2 Have initiatives been undertaken at national / regional level that align with the HR Strategy for Researchers and the European Charter and Code? No
2.4.3 Has the Researchers Directive (EU Scientific Visa) been fully implemented in the country? Yes[1].pdf

Access to Capital

“Increase private and institutional investment in startups.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
3.1.1 Have provisions for facilitating secure access to alternative sources of funding, such as equity crowdfunding, mezzanine instruments or minibonds (convertible notes) and etc., been set up? No There is currently no regulatory regime that is specifically adapted to Crowdfunding in Latvia.
3.1.2 Have measures to promote public – private investment partnerships in order to address risk-aversion of venture capital, e.g. by creating national co-investment funds between public entities and private investors on a national level been established? Yes Only grant programmes such as "Atsperiens" and some oprators of EU money There is no specific system, but separate instruments - for example credit guarantees ( Also these guarantees is more on existing enterprises, not startups. No InnovFin SME Guarantees available:,
3.1.3 Has an effective debt financing system been established by creating well-structured credit guarantees on bank loans on national level in order to enable banks to extend loans to startups that would otherwise not be able to find credit? Yes Seed Fund – Programme of Accelerator Loans,, Baltic Innovation Fund is launched to benefit SMEs in 2012.
3.1.4 Has the Late Payment Directive been implemented in the country that reduces the time to pay the invoice and hence the need for short-term financing? Yes Directive has been implemented in The Civil Law (CL) and Medical Treatment Law. CL proposed amendment is to prevent late payment in commercial transactions - contracts for the supply of goods, purchase of services payment deadline is: public entities - 30 days; exception Health Sector - 60 days; merchants - 60 days. Compensation for late payment - 40 eur.
3.1.5 Have actions to improve access to finance for startups and SMEs been undertaken? Yes Mortgage bank. This state bank developed several programmes for SMEs: • Start-up programme to financially support any kind of business • Micro-credit programme • SME growth loan • Competitiveness Improvement programme: loans granted to SMEs from targeted sectors. Mortgage bank from 1 January 2014 have been operating under a new name - State Joint Stock Company Latvian Development Financial Institution Altum (abbreviation - ALTUM) - it continues to implement state support programmes by funding the development of small and medium businesses, stimulating start-ups and supporting other areas of business activity with the purpose of raising the efficiency of the Latvian economy. Latvian investment and development agency also publishes on regularly basis information about all available financial instruments for startups and SMEs (the material is in Latvian:
“Make it easier for high-growth companies to raise capital through public markets.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
3.2.1 Has a national legislation on venture capital ( (in support of the EC´s new venture capital framework ( been introduced that enables cross-border financing for SMEs more easily available ? No
3.2.2 Have measures to support business angels friendly environment been introduced on a national level? No There is no specific support, but The Latvian Business Angel Network as private initiative was established in 2014 (
3.2.3 Have tax reliefs on seed and venture capital investments been introduced on national level? No
3.2.4 Have tax incentives for acquiring startups / on reinvesting profit in startup businesses for investors of a national origin been implemented? No
3.2.5 Has the revised Directive on transparency requirements for listed companies been implemented in the country (Transparency Directive)? Yes
3.2.6 Have policies to promote easier access to stock exchange for high growth companies been adopted, such as: a single registration in the home country, and with simplified accounting and reporting (disclosure) obligations? Yes There are some incentives such as "NASDAQ OMX Riga Alternative Market First North Baltic" operating in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
“Buy more from smaller businesses.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
3.3.1 Have the measures been implemented to promote procurement from SMEs (for example by make it easier for startups and SMEs to access government procurement market by lowering barriers to entry and lessening administrative burden of the process, or by promoting procurement from smaller companies by corporates)? Yes Latvia is top of the EU in this area and has kept this leading position for a long time. SMEs benefit from the well-established electronic procurement system which facilitates their participation and also increases their success rate. In 2008, their share of public contracts awarded was 64 %. Five years later, it reached 74 %. The high success rate is the main reason why Latvia excels in this area. These results are due to several amendments to public procurement law that have been adopted and implemented since 2008. These have made the public procurement process more transparent, more open for SMEs and less burdensome. The Public Procurement Bureau provides information on changes in legislation so that all parties involved know about and understand new regulation. Minor improvements could be achieved in future by emphasising value for money over price and by extending deadlines for preparing tenders.
3.3.2 Does the country make use of European Code of best practices facilitating access by SMEs to public procurement contracts? No Even worse. There is a government plan to exclude micro companies from public tenders.
3.3.3 Has legislation been implemented to make sure that at least some percentage of the administration procurement goes to "innovative" solutions (so called "innovative public procurement")? No
3.3.4 Is SMEs' share in the total value of public contracts awarded above EU average (29% in 2013)? Yes 74% Important note that 99,8 % of all companies in Latvia are SMEs (less than 250 employees)
“Institute an E-Corp: a new type of cross-European corporation. ”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
3.4.1 Has the Council Directive Council Directive 2001/86/EC supplementing the Statute for European Company fully adopted by the country? Yes Transposed into national legislation
3.4.2 Has the Service Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market) been fully implemented by the country? Yes
“Tax share options as capital gains, not income, to attract talent to startups (special tax regime for startups).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
3.5.1 Have national regulations been developed in support of easing up early startups regulatory burden (e.g. preferential tax scheme on share options for employees in order for startups to attract talent without big initial investment in salaries)? Yes A special tax structure aimed at small entrepreneurs allows microbusinesses to pay a flat tax on gross revenues and keeping the process simple - easy to fill in the required one-page report to the administration. This is not sufficient for startups an they ncan not compete for better qualified workforce. All incentives on share options are still blocked by ministry of finance.
3.5.2 Does the government have a differential tax rate for companies according to their age or the size of their profit? Yes Microenterprise tax - Tax rate is 9% from turnover. Tax replaces state social contributions both for employees and proprietors and business risk state fee as well as personal income tax or corporate income tax depending on legal form of taxpayer. Legal form of microenterprise could be Limited Liability Company or individual merchant or individual performing economic activity without registration as an individual merchant. To qualify for status of microenterprise taxpayer the following criteria shall be met: employee’s income does not exceed EUR 700 per month, turnover does not exceed EUR 100 000 per year, the number of employees may not exceed five.(At the moment there is discussions about changes in this law)
3.5.3 Has the government implemented an ‘Entrepreneurs Relief’ tax break to reduce the capital gains tax on selling all or part of the business? No
3.5.4 Has the government introduced any other early stage tax relief for entrepreneurs and their employees? Yes A special tax structure aimed at small entrepreneurs allows microbusinesses to pay a flat tax on gross revenues and keeping the process simple - easy to fill in the required one-page re[prt to the administration. From 1 January 2014, the application of tax relief for investments in new production technologies and certain projects approved by the Government is extended until 2020, and a tax relief for certain research and development costs is introduced from 1 July 2014. In order to compensate a potential loss of tax revenues, the allowance for corporate equity and the transfer of losses within a group of companies are abolished. Since 1 January 2014, a register of ‘risk persons’ for tax purposes is established, and the tax authorities must inform the Commercial Register about such persons in order to deter them from involvement in the business environment and participation in tax evasion schemes.

Data Policy, Protection & Privacy

“Revise and normalise data protection laws (unified data protection law in Europe).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
4.1.1 Is the country complaint with the General Data Protection Regulation GDPR (only valid after approval of the regulation)? Yes yes
4.1.2 Has the country developed programmes to encourage the reuse of data in public and private sector? No Only for public data. Brightest example is comapny Lursoft It. Since 1992 business is based on reusing of data from different registers to offer operative access to a legally valid database that is based on original documents and that is updated the very moment changes are registered, is important for business risk and competitor assessment. Digital Austria
“Remove the requirement for data providers to store information in any given country. ”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
4.2.3 Has the country developed a specific Cloud Computing Strategy? No
“Make government data public.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
4.3.1 Has the Public Sector Information Directive been fully implemented in the country? Yes
4.3.2 Does the national law of the country provide for a general obligation for public sector bodies to allow re-use of Public Sector Information? Yes Freedom of Information Law
4.3.3 Does legislation adopted in the country prohibit Public Sector Information holders from granting exclusive rights to re-sell or re-use data to any legal entity? Yes Freedom of Information Law
4.3.4 Has the country taken part in the Open Government initiatives, such as Open Government Partnership (OGP), to drive best practice in knowledge sharing and promote integrity and trust in data management? Yes
4.3.5 Has the country improved policies and practices on Open Access to better allow access to data and re-use of data generated by scientific research? No see European Commission, European Research Area Progress Report 2014 Policy has been improved within the The guidelines for the development of the information society The Library of the University of Latvia celebrates annually international Open Access Week by organizing discussions, meetings, presentations, workshops on various Open Access initiatives and by spreading promotional materials to other academic institutions. The Library participated also in eifl-OA project “Information about Open Access movement and resources in the University of Latvia” in 2011. In March 2012 the Library of the University of Latvia organised special week that promoted the repository of e-resources of the University to academic staff of the university and all higher education institutions in Latvia. Many researchers in Latvia publish their papers in Open Access journals and deposit their papers in subject repositories because they recognize that their studies will be accessible to a larger audience than by publishing in conventional journals. Scientists from Latvia are publishing individually in subject repositories such as PubMed Central, ArXiv, Cogprints etc. and in Open Access journals. The publications can be accessed through DOAJ, Open J-Gate, PLoS etc.
“Make governments think digitally (unified technological platform).”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
4.4.1 Has the country built analytical tools to make use of governmental digital records and data in order to deliver insight in support of better deliverables, better policies and better decision making processes (for example use of health data to identify trends, preventive actions)? Yes Health care: Access government services: Digital Austria
4.4.2 Have the country aligned national interoperability frameworks with the European Interoperability Framework? No The Latvian NIF is partially aligned with the EIF, due to a strong focus on technical aspects and less on legal, organisational and semantic aspects.
4.4.3 Has the country joined the European Cloud Partnership initiatives in order to advance towards joint procurement of cloud computing services by public bodies based on the emerging common user requirements? No

Thought Leadership

“Initiate a mentality shift across Europe in terms of how we define success - promoting entrepreneurship.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
5.1.1 Does the country conduct any PR and media campaigns at national/regional level aimed at promoting entrepreneurship (e.g. by appointing a role model, an entrepreneur in residence” to promote entrepreneurial culture etc.)? Yes - annual national initiative for supporting of SMEs. National Winner 2014 award from European Enterprize Promotion Awards. Startup Weekend Riga:
5.1.2 Does the country actively promote women entrepreneurship through specifically targeted mentoring and networking programmes? Yes Within the targeted grants and support programmes.
5.1.3 Have the legislative measures been introduced to improve policies allowing second chance for entrepreneurs? No Only one measure was introduced. Regulation of insolvency was improved by amendments to the insolvency law. The insolvency administrators were given a status comparable to public officials. Extended deadlines for implementing legal protection are in place which aim to prevent identified problems from arising in practice. The amendments strengthen the rights of creditors and debtors alike and seek to ensure that the insolvency process is used only for its intended purpose.
5.1.4 Does the government support the mentorship programmes for startups either through funding, introductions, provision of space, supplying mentors or creation of networks? Yes By EU Funded programmes. Examples: and more
“Appoint a Chief Digital Officer for every country in the EU. ”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
5.2.1 Has a Digital Champion been appointed in the country? Yes Reinis Zitmanis
5.2.2 Is the Digital Champion or an equivalent figure (“Chef Digital Officer”) empowered with the practical means to execute Startup Manifesto on a national level (budget, recognition, political support)? No
“Create a 'best practices' repository.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
5.3.1 Has the country taken steps to promote and showcase the best practices (for example, by creating a resource to share best practices´ in promoting digital entrepreneurship or actively promoting best practices on a national / regional level)? No
“Establish a Digital European Forum.”
Number Indicator Completed Evidence
5.4.1 Has an association that actively promotes recommendations of the European Startup Manifesto at the national level been launched in the country? Yes Business Union of Latvia / Latvijas Biznesa savienība
5.4.2 Does the country have actively engaged entrepreneurs, policy makers and officials in European Digital Forum? Yes The European Digital Forum collaborates with Arnis Daugulis, Government CIO / Deputy State Secretary (ICT and E-government) at Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia

Latest Updates

New information
In Action 4.2 in Spain Remove the requirement for data providers to store information in any given country.
Updated on 2016-03-16 23:57:17 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 4.1 in Latvia Revise and normalise data protection laws (unified data protection law in Europe).
Updated on 2016-03-16 11:23:59 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 4.4 in Latvia Make governments think digitally (unified technological platform).
Updated on 2016-03-16 11:23:59 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 4.3 in Austria Make government data public.
Updated on 2016-03-16 10:58:39 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 1.1 in Austria Make teachers digitally confident and competent to rise to the challenge.
Updated on 2016-03-16 10:51:00 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 1.5 in Cyprus Encourage large companies to provide training for the general public (for management, leadership and communication skills).
Updated on 2016-03-16 10:47:06 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 3.1 in Belgium Increase private and institutional investment in startups.
Updated on 2016-02-26 16:29:13 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 3.5 in Spain Tax share options as capital gains, not income, to attract talent to startups (special tax regime for startups).
Updated on 2016-02-22 15:41:03 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 3.3 in France Buy more from smaller businesses.
Updated on 2016-02-22 13:38:21 by Kasia Jakimowicz
New information
In Action 2.3 in Latvia Make it easier for smaller companies to let employees go (special flexibility in human resources management for small companies).
Updated on 2016-02-22 13:33:43 by Kasia Jakimowicz