On 30 September, the newspaper Verslo žinios organised a conference at the event ‘Gazelė 2021’ in Šiauliai. The fastest-growing companies in Šiauliai county in 2018–2020 were announced and awards were presented at the event. This year, 312 companies from Šiauliai county were included in the Gazelė list. At the beginning of the year, the fastest-growing companies had over 4,500 employees – 800 more than in 2018.

Mantas Nocius, Adviser in the Project Development and Evaluation Division of the Lithuanian Business Support Agency, told the Šiauliai region business representatives about the global economic growth trends, the possibilities for financing under the EU Structural Funds, the perspectives of the new financial period, and the work carried out by the Lithuanian Business Support Agency and its contribution to the Lithuanian economy. ‘There are big challenges ahead. Interestingly, while most of the Structural Funds have so far remained in Vilnius, in the new period a lot of attention and the lion’s share of funding will go to the regions,’ said Nocius.
He said that innovation, the digital and green economy, sustainable energy and creative industries are the main areas where EU investment will be directed. ‘We expect that the real money from the new period can reach Lithuania at the end of the year or early next year. All EU countries, except Poland and Hungary, are in the same situation,’ he said.

Currently, 147 projects in Šiauliai have been completed or are still underway with EUR 57.2 million in funding, following the signing of contracts with the LBSA. In Šiauliai region, 53 applications have been approved in various LBSA calls for proposals in the period 2014–2020 with a contract value of more than EUR 11 million,’ said Nocius.

Lithuanian businesses are expected to receive EUR 860 million of investment over the next six years, slightly more than in the last funding period. According to the priorities, the bulk of the funding – an estimated EUR 750 million – will go to research and experimental development (R&D), digitalisation, small business start-ups and competitiveness, and competence development projects. The capital region will receive only EUR 172 million, while central Lithuania will receive EUR 576 million, so the overall investment situation will have to change radically.

In 2020, 29% of trade, 15% of construction, 14% of industry and 13% of transport companies were included in the list of the fastest-growing companies operating in Šiauliai. Last year, the fastest-growing companies had revenues of EUR 295 million, which had increased by 26% compared to 2019, or by 62% compared to 2018. The companies generated a net profit of EUR 28.5 million, or 2.6 times more than in 2018.

The mentors of the Gazelė project – the CEOs of the companies that have been laureates in different years – Kęstutis Šerpytis, Algimantas Markauskas, Mantas Makulavičius and Aušra Žemaitienė, talked about leadership and decision-making, efficiency, their agenda, personal and employee motivation, and their future plans.

Most of the companies on this year’s Gazelė list operate in Vilnius county – 41%, with 22% in Kaunas and 11% in Klaipėda. Around 35%, or 1,737 companies, are located in Vilnius City Municipality. In Lithuania, 4,940 companies are contending for the Gazelė 2021 title.

The next Gazelė 2021 event will take place on 14 October in Kaunas and on 28 October in Vilnius.

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