Arturs Snegovics has been selected as the next director of the Latvian Startup Association, taking over from the previous director, Alona Belinska. Labs of Latvia sat down with Arturs to find out more about him and his vision for the Startup Association.
How did you decide to apply for this job?
Life changes were needed. I've worked in government institutions for more than six years. For the past while I've been following startups as well as what's going on in the industry. I've gone to several events, and participated in hackathons. When I saw the vacancy, I decided to apply. I see this as a good opportunity for myself. And I see lots of potential for Latvia's startup community, where together we can achieve higher goals. I see that we can reach goals on a different level and represent startup interests. I think that my skills from state governance will be useful.
What would you like to do in this position?
I definitely want to increase the amount of startups in Latvia. It would be excellent to gain a regulation that eases the process of founding startups and developing the culture of startup creation. I look at our Baltic neighbours' achievements. Currently we're behind in terms of startup amount, as well as the amount of applied advantages. The question is - why? Why don't we have as many startups as our neighbouring countries do? It's time to compete with them and reach the top. I believe that we can learn from the achievements of other countries, alter their solutions for our environment and situation.
What do our neighbours do differently?
Estonia has excellent marketing with their special offer - e-residency. We have to highlight the benefit of startups more in our society, not only for entrepreneurs, but for society as a whole. It has to be educated. And in this case I'm thinking specifically youth education, who find it easier to take larger risks. Because entrepreneurship is always a risk. It's work with education establishments and students. Youth have to be encouraged to want to found companies. Though there are both successes and failures. Because after 10 failures, the big success will come. That is the world's statistic.
What is Latvia's startup community missing?
It's missing co-operation amongst itself. Our organization has 92 members, but there are many more startups than that in Latvia. There's a lack of courage to share knowledge and experience. We've long since been past the time that we would have to be affraid of ideas being stolen. If it's a unique idea and work has been invested, then it isn't that easy to steal. We have to get rid of this syndrome and have to think of ourselves first.
And how should this co-operation be stimulated?
Co-operation can be stimulated by providing a safe environment. That's networking, collective events, which already happen. For example, companies could visit one another to share their knowledge. A problem in many startups is a challenge to put together a new an knowledgeable team. It could even be possible that startups could share their employees to reach big goals together.