In the first quarter of this year alone, UAB Investicijų Ir Verslo Garantijos (Invega) covered EUR 240,600 in consultation expenditures for 190 small and medium enterprises. They used the services of approved consultants from the national Business Consultant Network. Throughout 2017, 286 companies were paid a total of EUR 436,800 in such compensations.
"Being aware of inevitable changes brought about by disruptive technologies, businesses are searching for high-quality latest information to help them develop recipes for survival in highly competitive markets. The fourth industrial revolution and the ongoing wave of green investments and products is making companies search for new and effective ways into the market, so consultations on business development, export and more efficient use of resources are becoming increasingly important," says Invega CEO Kęstutis Motiejūnas.
With the European consultancy services market approaching the USD 100bn mark, experts note that its growth is faster in East European countries as compared with Western Europe. This shows that East European businesses are seeking to strengthen their competitiveness, which is often below the level of their counterparts in West European companies.
"The fourth industrial revolution is the reality of the future, even though it may still seem as a distant prospect that will not affect us immediately. However, the internet of things, big data and other changes are not bypassing Lithuania. Seeing how rapidly the market and consumer expectations are changing, businesses are seeking access to the latest information so they could prepare for the changes or even initiate them," Mr Motiejūnas said.
The president of the Lithuanian Business Confederation, Valdas Sutkus, noted that the growing demand for consulting services is associated with technology innovations that are making companies seek quick adaptations and try to predict technology trends in the future.
"It is important to ensure that small businesses remain competitive in this era of change, especially through the implementation of green technologies, making their operations more ecological and expanding exports. It makes sense to use external know-how by hiring consultants for this purpose. Companies that are solely focused on the solution of their routine problems find it hard to keep track of changes in the market and fail to identify imminent trends. Meanwhile, expert consultations help them deepen their knowledge and understanding as to where efforts should be directed in order to achieve efficiencies," Mr Sutkus said.
Invega's data shows that business planning and management consultations are the most popular this year. Invega, which is an institution controlled by the Ministry of Economy, adopted 212 decisions on expenditure compensations in the amount of EUR 0.42m in the first quarter of the year.
In addition, 48 positive decisions were taken for the compensation of export consultations, which totaled EUR 0.19m. There is also growing demand for consultations associated with organic practices and manufacturing, eco-innovations and pollution prevention where a total of 18 positive decisions were taken for compensations worth EUR 0.06m in the first quarter.
Knowledge of green requirements is important for those who bid in green public procurement procedures, which currently account for more than 10 per cent of the total procurement volume. By 2020 such procurement procedures are expected to make up half of all public procurements in Lithuania.
Invega provides partial compensation of expenditures to micro, small and medium enterprises under the Eco Consultant LT, Expo Consultant LT and Business Consultant LT measures financed by the European Regional Development Fund. Consultations are provided by professional consultants from various fields who are members of the Business Consultant Network managed by Enterprise Lithuania, a national institution for business support and promotion.