Representatives from US Embassy visit Valmiera  


When visiting various state level institutions in Latvia, you often hear Valmiera be titled as a success story in relation to economic growth. Why? That was the question that Mr. Andrew Bury, Deputy Head of the Commercial Department of the US Embassy in Riga and his colleague, Ms. Alina Jefremova, Economic Specialist in embassy took to Valmiera visit to find an answer for.


In December 16 they met with Mr. Jānis Baiks, Mayor of Valmiera city, Mr.Gints Bērtiņš, Head of the Municipal Development Department, as well as Ms. Ilze Eglāja, Head of Valmiera Development Agency and Ms. Elīna Rubule, International Relations Coordinator. They discussed main development characteristics and business environment in the city, including various business support mechanisms. According to E.Barry, the city of Valmiera is developing rapidly and it is strength that there is still a great potential for development, including quite attractive investment opportunities. During this discussion, a number of challenges in the business sector were also highlighted, such as the limited size of residential and industrial sites.

Afterwards Mr.Burry and Ms.Jefremova visited Valmiera Pārgauja State Gymnasium, where they met with students and talked about the work at the Embassy, the prerequisites and challenges of a diplomatic career, US interests in Latvia and opportunities for an exchange both for students and teachers in the USA. Students did not hesitate to ask their questions, mostly about the cultural differences between Latvia and the US. Mr.Burry told: “It is not that important to determine today – what you want to be in five – ten years. Instead, you should do everything you can today in order to unlock and maximize your opportunities for tomorrow.” At the same time he encouraged youth to take a critical look at the publicly available information, distinguishing facts and opinions. According to him, one should seek knowledge to be able to critically evaluate the information.

After the meeting with students, Mr.Burry met with school’s headmaster Ms.Agita Zariņa to discuss current issues in the education sector in Latvia such as new standards in education. The Embassy also presented the school management with the results of the “Start Strong” programme in Latvia, which supports career development for youth.

Following that, representatives of the Embassy met with Ms. Iveta Putniņa, Vice-Rector of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, and at the end of the visit they met Mr.Jurģis Priedītis, Head of Valmiera Business Incubator in order to discuss Valmiera business environment from the perspective of businessmen.

When asked whether such a program in Valmiera gave them the answer on the main question of the visit what is the key to Valmiera's success story - the representatives of the Embassy responded that it is a historically established business support tradition, but at the same time - such rapid economic development could not be acquired without precisely defined and successfully positioned process management, attraction of investment as well as important support mechanisms for business.