Dr. Jolita Greblikaitė is an associate professor at Kaunas University of Technology, in the Institute of Europe department. It is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities . She has a vast knowledge of entrepreneurship, cross cultural management, especially within the EU. Dr. Greblikaitė answered some questions regarding entrepreneurship in Lithuania.
Has the EU helped to grow entrepreneurship in Lithuania?
EU promotes entrepreneurship by various measures and instruments. A lot of programmes are directed to developing entrepreneurial skills and abilities, especially orientating young people for starting-up their own business. It is very important for EU countries, as well as for Lithuania, because youth unemployment in EU countries reached enormous rates (in some countries even over 50 percent). Support for entrepreneurs from different EU funds, of course, helped to start-up high technologies companies as well as to run some businesses based on expensive infrastructure, for example, countryside tourism or some palaces renovation and adjustment for different activities involving society in Lithuania. A lot of support was used in agriculture sector. But it should be mentioned that a lot of people still are afraid to use EU support for their business as they think that it is rather difficult, requires to be high skilled to administrate the project and etc.
Does business etiquette in Lithuania differ much to other EU countries?
As made research show business etiquette in Lithuania not much differs from East European countries, for example, Latvia or Poland. A lot of influence was made by Scandinavian investors in Lithuania as well as from investors from Germany. I would like to mention that overall business culture of Lithuania tries to become more oriented to Scandinavian business culture, but we have some mix of adapting best practices from different management models, for example, American.
How important is it to understand the culture of the country in which your business operates?
Culture becomes more and more important element analysing business environment. If we talk about cultural environment in European Union, we talk a lot about cultural integration, and, we should admit that we have often an opposite phenomena as cultural „disintegration“. And that situation makes as researchers and scientists to foster politicians apply some different instruments and measures for solving these problems and to propose more effective public administration of non EU citizens integration not only in labor market, but in society overall. Multicultural dialogue becomes the necessity, which cannot avoid.
What advice would you give to a foreign business-person adapting to the business culture of Lithuania?
It is very important to know the culture of your business in any country. Maybe the most important my advice would be of looking serious to Lithuanian employees and to keep them fairly. Sometimes international companies try to behave with Lithuanian employees in some strict way or the managers have prejudices that people might be lazy or not well educated. Business must avoid stereotypes in such changing global world and adapt to the situation as quickly as possible. So, the main advices to foreign investors would be not to have some bad assumptions in advance.
Are there lots of opportunities for women in business, in Lithuania?
Lithuania is not an exception in the case of women in business. We have rather small numbers women in business, growing not as fast as we would like. There some special awards for women entrepreneurs and in the annual awards of best CEOs women participate equally, but still we have more masculine culture for business than feminine.
You have great knowledge, how do you like to inspire your students in lectures?
The best inspiration is good examples. It is very useful to invite some people from business, especially young entrepreneurs to tell students about their work, experience, ideas and so on. One of inspirational methods can be thinking of some entrepreneurial idea and its implementation process (in the lecture as a game or a business plan) by students which helps to strengthen teaching and learning process. They are asked to find out some entrepreneurial idea and to analyse business environment, to make marketing plan, main financial analysis about profitability of the idea. It quite well inspires to think about real possibilities to start their own business.
What are your plans for the future?
My scientific plans for the future are related with research activity in developing entrepreneurial abilities by encountering cross-cultural management skills, especially concentrating on non EU citizens integration in Lithuanian enterprises as well as my teaching will be focusing on developing and strengthening of entrepreneurial skills of students by learning tools. The first step will be researching the students before course, and later measuring their attitude and viewpoints after teaching and learning process.