Latvia’s location on the coast of the Baltic Sea makes it a strategic location for companies whose target markets are the EU and eastern countries. (Image courtesy of Rezekne SEZ)

A dynamic and future-facing city with big ambitions and plenty to offer, Rezekne, Latvia, is home to exciting investment opportunities:

  • Rezekne Special Economic Zone (Rezekne SEZ) oversees Rezekne and surrounding territory, driving development and providing unique opportunities, from tax incentives to industrial premises, designed to enable business to thrive.
  • Located between Europe and Russia, Rezekne provides direct access to 500 million consumers.
  • With a dynamic workforce built on long-standing tradition and driven by current industry trends, Rezekne is home to highly skilled professionals. Rezekne Academy of Technologies and its Laser Technology Centre, alongside six other higher education institutions, provide modern, future-ready education.
  • Rezekne SEZ offers generous tax incentives, including discounts of up to 80% on corporate income tax and 80–100% on real estate tax, which provide up to 55% return on investment costs, 0% VAT and special customs control measures.
  • A wealth of industrial territory is already available to businesses, with ongoing projects developing 36 hectares (ha) of new opportunities.
  • The Rezekne SEZ partner network makes over 100 sources of support available to businesses.
  • Rezekne hosts all the business and financial institutions required for doing business, at your fingertips.

Although relatively small in terms of population and area, Rezekne’s commitment to facilitating business and entrepreneurship is future-focused and has global ambition. “Rezekne has proven itself as a national city, maintaining this status even after Latvia’s regional reform,” says Krista Freiberga, CEO of Rezekne Special Economic Zone (Rezekne SEZ). This is testament to the scope of Rezekne’s impact. Today, the city is driven by development and innovation. It is committed to providing the living environment and modern infrastructure that will enable businesses to thrive, as well as developing culture, with the aim of becoming a European capital city of culture in 2027, together with the city of Daugavpils.

Overseeing these efforts is Rezekne SEZ, a dynamic organisation with business at its heart. Established in 1997, Rezekne SEZ covers more than 1,000ha, including Rezekne city and surrounding territory. It is the largest industrial area in eastern Latvia, providing highly favourable business conditions, implemented by the government of Latvia, until 2035. “Our aim is to create a business-friendly environment to provide enterprises with better opportunities and advantages in the global market,” says Freiberga.

In recent years, Rezekne has developed almost beyond recognition, thanks to numerous projects in diverse areas, from business to culture – and there is plenty more to come. For investors, Rezekne offers the chance to be part of a unique ecosystem that prioritises business and welcomes the future with open arms.

Six reasons to invest in Rezekne

1. Location: Access to 500 million consumers

“Latvia’s location on the coast of the Baltic Sea, with ice-free harbours, developed motorway and rail infrastructure and the largest airport in the Baltic States, makes it a strategic location for companies whose target markets are the EU and eastern countries,” says Freiberga. “Rezekne itself is located at the crossroads of international transport corridors with direct access to international markets and more than 500 million consumers in the EU, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent State Countries.

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“One of the determining factors in the development of the city has been its access to international roads and railways.”

With transport and logistics featuring among the top three industries in the Colliers Global Capital Market 2021 Investor Outlook, now is the ideal time to embrace the huge investment potential in this area.

2. Human resources: Tradition and innovation

Rezekne boasts a “skilled and well-educated labour force with long-standing industrial traditions and access to high-quality higher education,” says Freiberga. With historic roots in woodworking and metalworking, Rezekne is also home to range of modern educational institutions, including Rezekne Academy of Technologies (RTA), the State Border Guard College and branches of five other higher education institutions. This means that highly educated professionals are locally available, so businesses don’t need to seek their workforce abroad, Freiberga explains.

In 2019, the RTA opened its innovative Laser Technology Centre, costing €9.6m, with 15% state funding. The centre adds a new, modern dimension to Rezekne’s labour force, and one which is primed for the future of industry. “Laser technology is a sphere which is very popular now and in the future,” Freiberga identifies. “This centre is a big step forward.”

Alongside these educational institutions, professionals enjoy a high quality of life, which is a priority of the city’s development. “The city continues to invest in the living environment, culture, education and sports, health and recreation opportunities,” says Freiberga. The Sport Olympics Centre was finished last year, along with new parks and concert halls, and more projects are under way, including the SPA hotel and Kovšu Lake Park. These provide the double advantage of improving the living environment for residents and representing new investment opportunities for tourism entrepreneurs.

3. Tax incentives: Huge savings for business

Investors coming to Rezekne can look forward to generous and varied tax incentives offered by Rezekne SEZ, designed to allow businesses to thrive. Discounts of up to 80% on corporate income tax and 80–100% on real estate tax, which provide up to 55% return on investment costs, make a huge difference when it comes to opening a new subsidiary or relocating a business. On top of this, the Rezekne SEZ free economic zone offers 0% VAT and special customs control measures.

4. Land ownership: A wealth of space

Businesses and investors have access to a huge amount of space in Rezekne SEZ, which can be easily and efficiently acquired – and with more industrial park developments under way, new and exciting opportunities are constantly becoming available. Several plots of land in the territory are ready and waiting for investors for the construction of production facilities, or there is the possibility to rent already built real estate objects.

With the support of EU funding, Rezekne City Council has recently renovated roads providing access to multiple industrial plots, making it much easier for businesses to operate here.

5. Institutions: More than 100 sources of support

As one of the largest industrial hubs in eastern Latvia, Rezekne SEZ has a huge partner network, ready to provide investors with outstanding levels of support. Over 100 partners and institutions offer informative support in almost all fields, covering the most important areas of establishing and running a business. This serves as a launchpad for businesses coming to the area, ensuring that they can make the most of all the opportunities on offer.

Meanwhile, Rezekne SEZ itself has an efficient, results-orientated administration. Clients receive personalised support based on their objectives and requirements.

6. Resources and opportunities: Everything you need

Rezekne offers a winning combination of competitive operating costs and access to resources. At the same time, competition is relatively low and export opportunities are high. “One of the most exciting factors,” says Freiberga, “is that state and municipalities can arrange a high level of support for the implementation of investment projects, consultations and selection of real estate for entrepreneurship.”

Businesses operating in the region have everything they need at their fingertips: the city hosts all the necessary organisations for starting and developing business, from the Enterprise Register to the State Employment Agency, and various financial instruments including the Rezekne Business Incubator and advisory support institutions. This is highly convenient for businesses, which can concentrate on their development.

Eyes on the future

Optimising the environment for both residents and businesses is at the heart of Rezekne’s vision, and this commitment has been demonstrated by significant investment. In the last seven years, €18.4m has been invested in educational institutions, €23m in cultural objects and €28.5m in street infrastructure. In 2020, a production complex was auctioned to commercial companies, aiming to provide investment of at least €3.5m and create at least 95 new jobs – and still more exciting projects are under way.

“Most investments are currently directed to three main goals: road infrastructure, which is very important for both residents and investors; production premises; and tourism, culture and recreation centres,” says Freiberga. All these goals contribute to making Rezekne an evermore modern, investable and competitive place to live and do business.

The Rezekne SEZ industrial territory is seeing huge development and generating an abundance of new opportunities. “Next year we will have a new factory production hall, new production-warehouse building in Vilakas Street industrial park and new premises for potential investors as well as new roads and communication infrastructure,” says Freiberga. As well as this, the development of a new industrial park more than 20ha large is planned on a plot of land on Noliktavu Street, and asphalt and engineering communications are already being built there. These infrastructure projects make more than 36ha of land available to potential investors.

“The most important thing,” Freiberga concludes, “is that Rezekne is a developing city.” This spirit of progress and innovation is what makes Rezekne such a striking investment prospect. With so much development already complete, and much more under way and still to come, there is huge opportunity for those who recognise it. Rezekne SEZ is primed to provide investors with the business environment and all the support they need in order to thrive – now is the moment to embrace it.