13th April, Vilnius. Investors‘ Forum, association uniting largest and most active investors in the Lithuanian economy, named and awarded companies, public institutions and persons, who in 2017 contributed the most to Lithuania‘s business environment and investment climate improvement. In traditional 7th annual award ceremony title of the Investor of the Year was awarded to Devbridge Group. Three companies –Maxima LT, Telia, and Lietpak were entitled as Companies of the Century. This award was established celebrating the Centenary of the Restoration of the State. Investors‘ Forum also named the year’s decision to improve the business environment, responsible business, business journalist of the year, public servant and economics teacher. This year the association received a record breaking number of 122 applications for the awards.

Established by Lithuanians, international programming services company Devbridge Group was entitled investor of the year 2017 for investments into education of young IT specialists. The company implements free of charge educational programs for IT community. Future programmers and testers participate in Devbrigde Group‘s Sourcery Academies free of charge. It is the first company in Lithuania organising an educational creative technologies initiative for children, aiming to tenfold increase the number of students enlisting to IT study programs in the next 10 years. Investors’ Forum also acknowledged the company’s international development: in 2017, Devbridge Group created 200 new jobs. Fertilizer producer Lifosa and Yazaki Wiring Technologies Lietuva, the manufacturer of automotive wire harness systems, were also nominated amongst the finalists for the title of the investor of the year 2017.

“In the eyes of investors, highly skilled specialists, proficient in number of foreign languages, are among the top strengths of Lithuania in competition for foreign investment. It is noticeable, however, that the supply of these specialists no longer satisfies the demand. Investors, such as Devbridge Group, not only pay attention to these challenges, but takes initiative to solve them as well. Leadership, responsibility and international success story displayed by this company is an inspiring example to both Lithuanian and global business community”, notes Rolandas Valiūnas, Investors‘ Forum Chairman of the Board.

In this years annual awards ceremony, a special category of the Company of the Century was established. This title was granted to companies that made the most impact to Lithuanian economy and created value for its shareholders, employees and communities. Three firms were named Companies of the Century: retail chain Maxima, one of the biggest tax payers in Lithuania, with  more than15 000 employees, telecommunications company Telia, with investments of 1,4 billion euros into development Lithuanian telco infrastructure since 1992, and Lietpak, one of the largest manufacturers of plastic packaging materials in Europe.

For consistent support of growing talents and life-sciences specialists Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics was awarded with the title of responsible company. Last year, with support of the company, team of Vilnius University students have won in iGEM, a prestigious international competition in synthetic biology. Investors also acknowledged Thermo Fisher ‘s  inspiring activities in stimulating motivation of employees and improving workplace environment.

The award for the best 2017 decision to improve the business environment was granted to the Ministry of Economy for the Amendment of Free Economic With the amendment, corporate tax exemption was expanded to all companies operating in Free Economic Zone and land rent term was expanded to 99 years in all Free Economic Zones, with a possibility to expand the lease.

„We are convinced that the amended law will significantly improve Lithuania’s attractiveness to all foreign investors, planning and implementing operations in Free Economic Zones. Moreover, it will improve the competitiveness of the regions, where such zones are established. Overall, last year we saw a number of important decisions to improve business conditions and investment climate in Lithuania. We only hope that the Parliament and Government will display determination for further significant steps, such as establishment of social security tax cap and direct flights to Lithuania more suited for business need“, says Rūta Skyrienė, Investors‘ Forum Managing Director.

Investors’ Forum members also awarded the public servant of the year. This title went to Ligita Valalytė, Head of Lithuanian Labour Exchange. Investors appreciated her efforts in transformation and depolitisation of the institution, becoming more efficient, flexible and transparent and open to business community in solving real life labour market problems.

Rolandas Barysas, editor in chief of Verslo Žinios, was named the business journalist of the year 2017. He was granted with this title for his lifetime achievements in journalism, an exemplary professional career and presentation of business in unbiased and objective manner, for inspiration and standards set for the current and future generation of business journalists.

Title of the economy teacher of the year was granted to Jolita Noruvienė, economy teacher-methodologist in Alytus Putinų gymnasium, and Danutė Bareikienė, teacher-methodologist in Vilnius Vytautas Magnus gymnasium and Vilnius Jesuit High School.

For a second consecutive year Investors‘ Forum awarded the most prominent university study programs with a special quality mark of Investors Spotlight. It was granted to Kaunas Technical College ‘s program of Electronical technics, Kaunas University of Technology Mechanical Engineering, Information Systems, and Program System programs, as well as Klaipėda State College‘s Electrical and Automation Engineering and Vilnius College Accounting study programs.