Interview with Chairman of the Board Ivars Eglājs in the 7th anniversary of the VHTP
Today is the 7th anniversary of a foundation Ventspils High Technology Park. Tell me how all this began?
At the end of 2004 I arrived in Ventspils – city which I immediately found very attractive. I understood that here I want to work and stay. This was how the idea about development of electronics and high technologies in Ventspils was born.
It seems that my youth enthusiasm helped to convince seven other partners that there will be electronics sector in Ventspils! Organisations believing me at that time became establishers of the VHTP.
During this time we have came from green meadow with several torn down reservoirs in Pārventa to manufacturing of Internet routers in the Electronics Factory, construction of the first Latvian satellite, programming of mobile phones applications as well as launch of liquid crystal display production unit in 2012.
How did the VHTP look at the beginning of its establishment?
Beginning of operation is related to two small rooms in the Ventspils University College that were rented for administration needs and establishment of Business incubator. Currently 16 employees are working in administration and on projects of the VHTP, but in enterprises of the Technology Park and VHTP Business incubator more than 150 specialists are working. The VHTP is located not only in Ventspils but also in Talsi where affiliate of the VHTP Business incubator is operating. Similarly, the VHTP has been one of establishers of the Kurzeme Business Incubator operating in Liepāja, Saldus, and Kuldīga.
When was the VHTP building built, and what is happening there today?
The building of the Technology Park was finished in 2006, and already then several electronics and information technology companies as well as Engineering Research Center with its modern CAD/CAM rapid prototyping laboratories started to work. Currently Ventspils Electronics Factory, mobile applications company Latvisoft, textiles manufacturing company Textile 4U, prototyping laboratory and other enterprises successfully continue their operation. Also negotiations with several new enterprises are in process. We have created cleanroom and are working on idea of Kurzeme Democentre.
Which are the most interesting projects of the VHTP in your opinion?
The number is huge. For example, work on development of the first Latvian satellite “Venta-1”, Latvian Space Technology Cluster, the first cleanroom in the Kurzeme region, business incubator, and pre-incubator to support new enterprises, summer school of satellite technologies and a competition for pupils „We own the sky” giving an opportunity already the 3rd year in turn to two Latvian youth to get to the international space camp in the USA. But these are not all; we, the VHTP, are always working only with projects we like and find attractive.
And how about plans and ideas for the nearest future?
At the moment we are very happy about new enterprise’s incoming in Ventspils allowing significantly increase the technology park. Swedish and Latvian capital company EUROLCDS will make a new production unit at the VHTP planning to launch production of LCD displays in Ventspils in 2012.
But just for me the closest of the latest projects is Kurzeme Democentre for which we are developing different and very interesting interactive stands, for example, rocket launch into space by mind power, interactive stand conducted remotely only by hand movement, and others. Kurzeme Democentre is expected to be open for the visitors this year. Also posters and design products of the latest popular Kurzeme industrial design exhibition “Elements” are planned to be exhibited in the Democentre.
Which has been the biggest challenge?
I would say that lack of human resources in the city. We did a lot to attract specialists of technical sectors to the city; it is one of the cornerstones to make investors and new enterprises interested about the city. It is not easy to find high-qualified employees but due to positive image of Ventspils and the Ventspils University College we have managed to find hopeful new hard workers among students or allure Latvian and even world-scale specialists to Ventspils. Here our partners Freeport of Ventspils and Ventspils City Council own very big merit.
What is your wish to the VHTP?
The VHTP team has always been notable for its positive view, enthusiastic employees, and conviction that even unrealistic dreams may become real. This is what I want to wish to the VHTP for the next 7 years. Good luck for all of as!
Interviewed by Ilze Eglāja, the VHTP Development and Marketing Department manager