Global Experience for Change in Business
Professionals who came back from abroad to apply their international experience for significant changes in the Lithuanian business environment.
Global Experience for Change in Business
Co-Founder and CTO | “Argyle”, United Kingdom, Lithuania
For enlightenment age of artificial intelligence in Lithuania
Audrius Zujus initiated the enlightenment age for artificial intelligence in Lithuania. He left a prestigious position in “Deloitte” in London and six years ago came back and dedicated his abundant international experience to create an artificial intelligence community and promote this still novel field. A. Zujus led the Lithuanian Artificial Intelligence Association, which unites Lithuanian experts from all over the world. He also became one of the co-authors of Lithuanian AI strategy, aiming to create a better environment for the expansion of this field as well as maximize the use of economic potential in Lithuania.
Currently, A. Zujus and his colleagues from all over the world are working in start-up “Argyle”. This year it attracted 22 million USD investment and became the leader in this niche market in the US.
Business Angel, Co-Founder | “LitBAN”, Canada, Lithuania
For western entrepreneurship spirit in Lithuania
Rita Sakus is a symbol of western entrepreneurship in Lithuania. Born and raised in Canada, she gained experience working with venture capitals in the defense and telecommunications industries in Canada, US, and Israel. R. Sakus moved to Lithuania in 2002 and, for the past two decades, she has been helping Lithuanian start-ups with their development and expansion of the ecosystem.
As one of the founders of the Lithuanian business angel community “LitBAN”, R. Sakus has contributed to adding the missing link in the start-up investment chain, forming the first angel syndicates, preparing acceleration programs, and effective engagement of diaspora to these activities. To start-ups, R. Sakus is known both as an investor and a mentor, helping young entrepreneurs to understand the principles of strategy, western work culture, innovation management, and relationship with investors.
Government Affairs & Public Policy Manager | Google, US, Lithuania
For empowered Lithuanian public sector and NGOs
The impressive list of Paulius Vertelka’s activities and positions from an early age are driven by his wish to help Lithuania. When a teenager, P. Vertelka moved to the USA, but the education and professional experience acquired there bloomed once he returned to Lithuania. Here, he successfully participated in the talent attraction program “Create Lithuania”, managed the association of IT companies “Infobalt”, and always found time for volunteering. One of his most impressive achievements is the “Women Go Tech” program, which he created in 2016 together with his colleague Žydrūnė Vitaitė. The program operates on a societal basis and has already helped more than 650 women change their careers and discover themselves in various tech fields.
Today, P. Vertelka works at Google and keeps working for the benefit of Lithuania. He has contributed significantly to the creation of the “Google.org Impact Challenge” program that had 2 million euros in funding and reached selected organizations in Lithuania and dozens of other European countries. During the pandemic, P. Vertelka developed the “Grow with Google” program, where more than 10,000 participants got the opportunity to improve their digital skills.
Lithuanian Ideas Go Global
Business ideas that change the world or have international success.
Lithuanian Ideas Go Global
Rytis Laurinavičius and Justas Kriukas
Founders | “Omnisend”, Lithuania
For exceptional partnership and global trust
Sometimes golden partners in business are more valuable than any golden award. That is what happened to “Omnisend” – Lithuanian eCommerce email marketing and SMS platform – when they were invited to become a partner of “Amazon”. The online shopping giant went through a careful selection process while choosing its partners for the new “Amazon Advertising” service, and the Lithuanian company managed to beat many opponents, including “Mailchimp” and “Klavyjo”, neither of which were invited to become “Amazon’s” partners.
“Omnisend” is one of the very few start-ups in Lithuania that operate without external investments. More than 70,000 businesses from 130 countries use “Omnisend” services. Earlier this year, “Financial Times” announced “Omnisend” as one of the 100 fastest-growing companies in Europe, and this is the highest evaluation among Lithuanian companies this year.
Henrikas Rapolas Urbonas, Simona Andrijauskaitė, Domas Labokas
Founders | “Interactio”, Lithuania
For the revolution of the global industry of simultaneous interpretation
“Interactio” invaded the market worth a few billion dollars, where the same service providers dominated for the past few decades. Their innovative product revolutionized simultaneous interpretation, often used in business and public institutions. With Covid-19 acting as a decisive factor, “Interactio” grew 12 times during 2019-2020 while remaining profitable. In 2020, the company organized more than 18,000 events attended by 390,000 listeners from more than 70 countries.
Among “Interactio” clients in more than 38 countries, we find the largest global institutions, including the European Parliament, European Commission, United Nations, and corporations like BMW, “JP Morgan” and “Microsoft”. The company continues to grow and, in May this year, attracted a 30 million dollar investment, which is the biggest series A investment in Lithuania and one of the largest in the Baltics.
Founder and CEO | “PVCase”, United Kingdom, Germany, Lithuania
For more accessible makes solar energy systems globally
Businessman Deividas Trainavičius is an example of a global mindset. He spent nearly a decade in various European countries and gained lots of knowledge and experience on solar energy systems. In 2018 D. Trainavičius and his family returned to Lithuania and founded “PVCase”, the company creating solar engineering software, and, after only three years, selling it around 50 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia.
2021 was a record year for “PVCase” – the number of employees has doubled (the company currently employs 72 people and continues to grow), and the revenue has tripled. But the most significant achievement of the year was the 20 million series A investment the company received in October this year. It is the largest investment in a start-up that develops software focused on solar energy in Europe.
Global Experience for Change in Science
Global professionals who have significantly contributed to science in Lithuania.
Professor, Chemist | Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (FMTC), Portugal, Lithuania
For introducing new science topics to Lithuania
Thanks to professor Rasa Pauliukaitė, a new topic appeared in the field of science in Lithuania – creating sensors from environmentally-friendly materials made from vitamins. The extraordinary chemical research takes place in the lab that R. Pauliukaitė founded and that known is for its European scientific culture, advancement, and traditions.
She spent 10 years in academic institutions in Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Portugal. Now, she uses her knowledge and experience for creating new generation sensors that can be used for assessing food quality. R. Pauliukaitė’s vision is to use the sensors for the creation of smart products: robots that smell and taste and can operate in conditions dangerous to humans, smart food packaging that would show if a product is outdated, disease diagnosis in very early stages.
Scientist, Manager | Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics Center (The center for co-operation with CERN), Vilnius University, USA, Switzerland, Lithuania
For stronger experimental physics in Lithuania
Aurelijus Rinkevičius is an experimental physicist in the area of high energy (particle) physics. He came back to Lithuania partially because of the president of Lithuania at the time – Dalia Grybauskaitė. She personally initiated the return of the Lithuanian scientist working in CERN and wished him to continue his work here.
Once Lithuania became an associated member of CERN in 2018, A. Rinkevičius took over the management of the Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics center. Its main goal is to strengthen the base of experimental particle physics in Lithuania. Lithuania pays 1 million euros for the membership each year, but the money comes back to the country with an even bigger surplus. The benefits of CERN membership are not limited to the financial return for the science of Lithuania. Extra benefits of CERN in Lithuania include an international family network, wider prospects for local and global scientists to practice, improve, and be at the forefront of the newest discoveries.
Professor | University of Central Florida (UCF) | Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), USA, Lithuania
For introducing a new level of quality in NGO management studies
“My dream job is Lithuanian ambassador to the United States of America.” – says Thomas Bryer, whose grandparents are from Lithuania. T. Bryer initiated the dual degree program for students of Kaunas University of Technology, who can now learn public governance from the best of the best in the USA. There, the NGO sector is known for deeply rooted traditions of development, fundraising, and management.
In Lithuania, T. Bryer works as a lecturer for both students and professionals. He openly shares his experiences, performs scientific research, and, additionally, has raised funding from private Lithuanian funds to finance students’ scholarships so they would have the opportunity to study in the USA and strengthen Lithuania’s NGO sector upon return.
T. Bryer has already received at least 15 awards for his activities in public governance, NGO and volunteer management. His residence in Lithuania enriches both the academic community and the NGO sector.
Promotion of Lithuania Globally
Creators whose works have received international recognition.
Promotion of Lithuania Globally
Movie director, Lithuania
For the triumphant movie-making debut
Director Laurynas Bareiša could not dare dreaming of a better professional debut – his first feature movie “Pilgrims” won the main prize in the 78th Venice International Film Festival. The creator was awarded the Venice Lion at the competition program “Horizons”. Here, the focus is on the young movie creators and talents whose films are known for their bravery, originality, and aesthetically new forms of expression.
L. Bareiša is one of the brightest young filmmakers in Lithuania. His shorts have been acclaimed both locally and internationally. His last short, “Dummy”, was the first Lithuanian movie selected for the program of prestigious Berlin movie festival “Berlinale Shorts”. L. Bareiša is also known for shorts “By the Pool”, “The Camel”, and “Caucasus”.
Documentary director and producer | “Moonmakers”, Lithuania
For the Lithuanian jump to global cinemas
Giedrė Žickytė directed the documentary “The Jump”, which tells a story about Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka. In the Cold War, he jumped from a soviet to an American ship, asked for asylum, but was given in to the soviets. G. Žickytė uses the story to tell the story of Lithuanian resistance – and she does it so skillfully and sensitively that it has caught the attention of international audience.
Despite being released during the peak of the pandemic, the movie has been selected and shown at more than 40 international festivals in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It has won 7 international awards, thus becoming the most awarded Lithuanian documentary film. "The Jump" was also selected to represent Lithuania in the Oscar Awards. For the first time, the history of Lithuania was told in a language universal to the entire world.
G. Žickytė is one of the most prominent creators of documentary film in Lithuania with 5 “Sidabrinė gervė” awards. Avid viewers will remember her movies “How We Played the Revolution” and “Master and Tatyana”.
Kristina Buožytė and Vitalijus Žukas
Movie creators, Lithuania
For innovative art experience of M. K. Čiurlionis
"Trails of Angels" is a virtual reality project that enabled the whole world to experience the works of M. K. Čiurlionis – one of the most prominent Lithuanian artists. The virtual trip down the "Trails of Angels" allows viewers to see, hear, and truly experience the magical world of M. K. Čiurlionis' paintings and music. The experience is often referred to as a SPA for the soul.
In 2019, the project received the prestigious "Lumen Prize for Art and Technology" in the UK for its achievements in arts and technology. In 2020, it was awarded the "Sidabrinė gervė" for professional mastery. The artistic reality was created by director Kristina Buožytė, creator feature movies "The Collectress" and "Vanishing Waves", laureate of "Sidabrinė Gervė", and author of the idea Vitalijus Žukas, a creative producer working in movies and animation.
Global Friend of Lithuania
Foreigners who contribute to positive and significant changes in our country.
Global Friend of Lithuania
Teacher, Founder | “Teachers for Refugees”, Belgium, Lithuania
For education to refugee children
Teacher at Vilnius International French Lyceum Bart Pauwels has lived in Lithuania for the past 20 years. This year, he founded the organization "Teachers for Refugees" engaging teachers to volunteer at the Rukla refugee camp. Together, they implement special educational programs for refugee children, organize extra-curricular activities, raise funds for school supplies, and engage parents in children's education. B. Pauwels continues to expand his team with people who have international experience in migrant camps, and develops partnerships with educators from other EU countries to expand the activities.
Founder and CEO | Philanthropy fund “The ella fund”, USA, Lithuania
For well-being and entrepreneurship of women in Lithuania
Philanthropist, entrepreneur, and long-time manager of a pharmaceutical company Erin Gainer-Grigaliūnė founded "The Ella Fund" five years ago. This international philanthropy fund invests in the well-being of girls and women: healthcare, entrepreneurship, and education.
E. Gainer-Grigaliūnė moved to Lithuania a few years ago, she mainly works with social enterprises: the fund has already invested more than 100,000 US dollars into the field. Thanks to the help of "The Ella Fund" female-founded social businesses, including "The Knotty Ones", "Our Pocket Hero" and "Socialinė iniciatyva" successfully develop.
Founder and General Manager | “Shift4 Payments”, USA
For the cosmic confession of love for Lithuania
On September 16, the whole world has held its breath while four civilians went off to the first-ever space tourism trip – ”Inspiration4” (SpaceX). One of the travelers – Jared Isaacman – had packed a Lithuanian flag into his very limited luggage space. Higher than ever before – at 585 km height – he unfolded the flag, thus expressing his gratitude and respect for our country and his colleagues working at “Shift4 Payments Lithuania”.
The founder of the leading secure payment processing solutions company in the USA opened a "Shift4 Payments" branch in Lithuania more than 4 years ago. Today, the unit employs 230 specialists and is investing over 2 million Euros in creating new jobs and improving the well-being of the employees each year.
Jean Baptiste Daguené
Partner | Revenue Accelerator “70 Ventures”, France, Lithuania
For the boost of self-confidence to Lithuanian start-ups
Jean Baptiste Daguené is a sales expert who has helped dozens of Lithuanian start-ups to believe in themselves as… Lithuanians. Lithuanian start-up founders call him the No. 1 expert in business-to-business sales. Before him, all had very limited knowledge on making international sales of such scale. Within nearly a decade spent in Lithuania, J. B. Daguené has trained more than a hundred start-ups and implemented multiple B2B sales processes with them. His trainees continue to pursue ambitious goals, successfully selling Lithuanian high-tech products on international markets.
Currently, J. B. Daguené is one of the partners of “70 Ventures” – a Lithuanian revenue accelerator investing in B2B start-ups. He is also one of the co-founders of an informal sales club. He proactively participates in the club’s activities and continues to contribute to the strength and success of young Lithuanian companies.
Founder and Manager | Hospice of Bl. Fr. Mykolas Sopočka, Poland, Lithuania
For the enlightened last days for Lithuanian sick and elderly
Sister-nun Michaela Rak came to Lithuania a decade ago. Here, she founded the first-ever hospice, where critically ill patients are taken care of until their natural death. The mission of M. Rak is to help the patients and their families beyond providing medical care – she pays a lot of attention to their emotional, social, and psychological needs.
M. Rak has dedicated nearly thirty years to work in hospices in various countries, now she brings the culture of enlightened death to Lithuania. She aims to help each person peacefully cross to after-life based on their needs and wishes.
Tim van Wijk
Founder and CEO | Restaurant “Pirmas blynas”, The Netherlands, Lithuania
For the jobs and dignity to the disabled in Lithuania
The social entrepreneur brought an inspiring example to Lithuania, demonstrating how disabled people can be integrated into the society and labor market. Three years ago, he founded the first-ever restaurant in Lithuania where most of the employees are disabled, and the business is still going strong. Thanks to T. van Wijk’s restaurant “Pirmas Blynas”, people acquire skills required in the labor market and can lead a more fulfilling life. Each visitor takes away a meaningful message – disabled citizens are an capable and respectful part of our society.
T. van Wijk widely shares his experience working with disabled people both in his home country and here in Lithuania. He actively participates in the activities of the community of social entrepreneurs, helps NGOs to acquire entrepreneurship knowledge and to improve their financial sustainability.