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Saturday 24.02.2018 | Name days: Diāna, Dina, Dins
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Opinion: will the inflow of European finances cease?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEntrepreneurship in Latvia today differs very much from what the country had twenty years ago, when I made my first steps towards business. There are now so many support options for businessmen to use to develop their ideas and secure first capital. Twenty years ago you had to save up money to even start something, says Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration in Turība Business School and successful businesswoman Zane Driņķe.

The problem with division of EU finances

She says that European funds provide a great deal of support for many businessmen. «I would like to say immediately that I am not a big supporter of using EU finances. Still, I will admit that it does provide a great deal of support for many businessmen. I lean towards what Aigars Rostovskis said in some interview that EU funding is unhealthy money. This money is accessible and useful, but it is also important to consider their division and efficient use,» says Driņķe.

She also says that many Latvian residents believe division of fund money is inefficient. This is why it would be worth changing the division principle. The truth is that when this money flow stops and an economic crisis begins, all of us will have to accept that there is no more money from the European Union. Which companies will be able to survive and prove themselves?

For science to go hand in hand with business

One of the best examples is support for science and education. «If EU funding division and use is made more transparent, for Competence Centres funding, for example, I am convinced that we would acquire more funding for scientific research. The problem is not so much with funding, but more with the division system, which allows for free and dishonest use of funding. In addition, there are also examples of good practice. Still, there is a long road left before we can achieve a reasonable and transparent system,» says the businesswoman.

«Support for researchers so that they would cooperate with businessmen is too low at the moment. This kind of cooperation is the goal all developed countries focus on – for science to go hand in hand with business. Science is currently behind even though researchers have a great deal of potential in many fields,» says Driņķe.

Only those that work survive in the end

«Only those that look beyond Latvia’s borders will be able to survive without funding from Europe. It is much harder than working in a domestic market, but difficulties have a way of training you,» says the expert. She also says that businesses that wish to work without EU support have to realize several important criteria: they need to have a strategy and clear goals, they need a powerful force driving them (a capable leader or owner), they need to diversify risks, and they need to develop international cooperation and marketing. This way they won’t have to worry if EU money suddenly stops flowing in.

Distorted state aid

«Entrepreneurship is very common in Latvia. Because of that, I often think about whether or not the state should support businessmen. It is really worth supporting everyone? And what does state support even mean? Latvia has many opportunities – the state can function as a bridge to help resolve problems and find funding, but it all depends on every person’s own work ethic and endurance,» comments the dean.

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