Lithuania Unveils Silicon Valley Innovation Hub

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Innovation Hub Lithuania (InnoHub Lithuania), a Silicon Valley site designed to serve as an economic bridge between high technology Lithuanian companies and research institutes with American counterparts and customers, is the latest development set to boost Lithuania's optics and photonics sector. The hub, which launched earlier this month concurrent with Photonics West in San Francisco, will provide support to Lithuanian companies looking to establish partnerships by providing insight into the market and legal and cultural differences for establishing contracts and marketing strategies.

Neringa Morozaite-Rasmussen, Lithuania’s vice-minister of economy and innovation, said that the hub can provide companies that may have yet to establish partnerships with American firms a steppingstone into a much larger market, both in terms of enterprise and landmass. A local address in North America, especially for small international enterprises, will allow greater ease for companies looking to expand their business.

The hub is a member of the Nordic Innovation House, with which it is co-located. Lithuania, a member of the Nordic-Baltic Eight, has a long history of economic partnership with the five Nordic countries that the Innovation House unites, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, and in some cases dates all the way back to Lithuanian independence, Morozaite-Rasmussen said. The Innovation House, having preceded InnoHub by about a decade, allows for onsite collaboration and mentorship through shared networking events. 

The opening of the Silicon Valley site is the latest strategic move to bolster Lithuania’s growing photonics and high technology sector. Lithuania, for the first time, had a national booth, or "pavilion" during Photonics West 2024, which concluded earlier this month. According to Morozaite-Rasmussen, 95 out of 100 top universities globally, as well as NASA and CERN, use Lithuanian laser components for R&D work. In September of last year, the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy and Innovation opened the Lithuanian Laser Laboratory in Taiwan.

Further, the innovation-focused policy push has helped establish infrastructure to foster the growth of the Lithuanian photonics ecosystem, which itself has grown companies including EKSPLA, EssentOptics, Lidaris, Altechna (which recently acquired American optics firm Alpine Research Optics), and Light Conversion, among others. 

"We have made major innovation reform one and a half years ago,” Morozaite-Rasmussen said.

Part of that reform was the establishment of Innovation Agency Lithuania, a non-profit agency under Lithuania’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation. InnoHub Lithuania is an initiative launched by the agency that provides guidance for companies looking to expand their business, Morozaite-Rasmussen said. Free consultations and export training is offered, as well as networking assistance for joint international projects. The agency also helps companies navigate funding opportunities from the European Union, like Horizon Europe and Digital Europe.

So far, institutional support has helped the country's photonics ecosystem expand into priority international markets including the U.S., India, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and Scandinavia markets, Morozaite-Rasmussen said. 

Published: February 2024
BusinessInnoHub LithuaniaInnovation Hub LithuaniaInnovation Agency LithuaniaSilicon ValleyLithuaniaNordic Innovation HouseNeringa Morozaite-RasmussenMinistry of Economy and InnovationEuropeIndustry News

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