The Latvian Minister of Culture Zaneta Jaunzeme-Grende opened the Norwegian Film Days together with the Norwegian Ambassador H.E. Jan Grevstad on September 24. This was followed by two weeks of Norwegian Days ’12 with a wide range of conferences, culture and concerts attracting 5000 visitors.
Riga has developed into a popular destination for Norwegian tourists with 172,000 hotel beds occupied every year. However, Norway and Norwegians are more than tourists with high buying power. There are 160 fully owned Norwegian companies in Latvia and 358 with part Norwegian ownership. The Norwegian Embassy and the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia aimed to reinforce the image of Norway in Latvia by showing the best of what modern Norway has to offer. More than 20 Norwegian professionals from many fields visited Riga during the Norwegian Days.
At the Opening Gala Dinner, the young and talented Norwegian trumpet player, Tine Thing Helseth, played beautiful traditional folk tunes accompanied on the grand piano by Raimonds Petrauskis, one of Latvia’s most recognised pianists. The famous chefs of The Flying Culinary Circus prepared Norwegian culinary dishes. A Norwegian-Latvian jazz concert with Hank Mobley Tribute was filled to the last seat and 4,000 people collected free tickets to the eight top quality Norwegian films that were shown at K. Suns Cinema.
Every week, 42 direct flights between Norway and Riga contribute to the close cooperation between the two countries. NB8, the collaboration of Nordic and Baltic countries is the world’s 9th largest economy. Norway is central in this cooperation. Norwegian vessels in the Baltic Sea have great potential for further cooperation, both technological and industrial. The total traffic in the Baltic Sea has increased by 50% effective the past ten years, and the environmental challenges are obvious. The new EU environmental regulations will be in effect from 2015, opening up a large potential for Liquid Natural Gas as fuel for vessels and Green Shipping was the subject of one of the conferences during the Norwegian Days.
The Latvian Minister of Economy, Daniels Pavluts opened ‘Seed Forum’, a Norwegian concept that has developed into a global organization hosting investor conferences in more than 30 countries. Seed Forum is considered one of the most professional and experienced venues for presentations of investor ready start-up companies in Europe, and is increasingly supporting Latvian start-up companies by attracting investors. The Norwegian Embassy also promoted its Baltic support in regards to the Norway Grants. More than 70 million euros of Norwegian Grants will be assigned to Latvia over a 5 year period.
Norway is the 6th largest investor in Latvia and represented in all types of industries. Narvesen is visible on almost every street corner and Norway is a dominant player within retail and real estate. Norwegian investors are also present in the metal industry, energy and maritime sector and in a wide range of production companies. DNB is one of the largest banks in Latvia and also one of the main sponsors of Norwegian Days. The support of the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, Innovation Norway and more than 20 large and small Norwegian sponsors contributed to the success of the event.
The Norwegian Days closing conference targeted innovation, leadership and teamwork within the Nordic Management Model. The keynsote speaker was Norwegian Carl Stormer, founder of JazzCode. Carl Stormer showed the audience parallels between what a jazz ensemble actually does to create a successful performance, and what each member of his audience, all leaders in their own area of business expertise, actually do when they have to innovate, lead, change, and shift their cultures or ways of behaving to adapt. In an increasingly turbulent world, doing the right thing is more important than doing things right. How to create small groups with enough confidence that allows every member to play “solo” when needed. How can you simplify your management so that the mental capacity of your employees is released? Carl Stormer’s presentation was a unique combination of world class jazz entertainment, valuable management insight and a very personal story that touched many. Probably one of the best presentations held in Riga in 2012, was the feedback from the participants!