As part of the 'Policy Support for Industrial Resilience' online webinar which took place on the 26-06-2020, No quarantine on the internet programme designed to help SMEs to be successful on the internet was presented by Inga Juozapavičienė, Head of Entrepreneurship Department at Enterprise Lithuania. In her intervention, Inga focused on the impact No quarantine on the internet programme is having in Lithuania.

“No Quarantine on the Internet” is delivered on behalf of Enterprise Lithuania. The programme’s primary purpose is to encourage SMEs to replace physical stores by developing new e-shops that could help to survive the crisis and succeed by using a different business model.  

Since its inception in March 2020, “No Quarantine on the Internet” has gathered more than 1200 Lithuanian online shops under one domain, 10 percent of them were totally new e-shops. It brought together 120 professionals who have become mentors for businesses that are looking to digitize their activities and 25 partners who have offered support to make it as easy as possible for the businesses to move into a virtual space. Enterprise Lithuania has organized 10 webinars about e-commerce and anyone who wants to transfer their activities/businesses to the virtual space quickly and easily. 

Entrepreneurs who have been already using virtual space for their businesses have been encouraged to register their online stores and Enterprise Lithuania will seek to share information about them with as many people in the country as it is possible. 

The business support initiative “No quarantine on the Internet” consists of three main parts: Development of the Lithuanian e-shops’ database as a virtual shopping center, business digitization assistance by providing consultations, business mentoring, organizing e-learning and support for businesses by providing special discounts or free services. 

One of the reasons that the “No quarantine on the Internet” Programme has worked so well is that every SME was able to get a free advice from the business or technology advisor, that enabled a smooth and easy transition to the virtual world.  

There have been 120 business mentors who, as specialists in various fields of e-commerce, provide free advice to less experienced entrepreneurs, leading them towards a digital and successful business. “We are extremely grateful for sharing the most valuable assets – knowledge and experience. We will soon be able to present specific stories of successful mentoring. We were also pleasantly surprised by Lithuanian companies, which send us their offers every day to provide significant discounts or provide services free of charge to businesses, which are having difficult times. This solidarity gives a lot of hope, and in this difficult period, it is really gratifying to see this” emphasized D. Kleponė, the General Director of “Enterprise Lithuania”.  

The analysis of e-shops brought together by “Enterprise Lithuania” shows that out of 1,200 registered e-shops, 10%, which is a 120 of them, were created after the announcement of quarantine, when businesses were forced to close their physical stores temporarily. While looking at the registration statistics, it can be seen that moving your business from physical stores to e-shops took from one to two weeks. Most of the e-shops created during the quarantine were created in the last week of March and the first week of April. 

E-commerce in Lithuania is carried out not only from major Lithuanian cities but also from regions. In the e-shop database of the initiative “No quarantine on the Internet”, almost a quarter of companies are from smaller Lithuanian cities. E-shops registered in Vilnius make up a little more than 50 percent, in Kaunas – 18 percent, in Klaipeda – 6 percent of all e-shops.  

Inga Juozapavičienė, Head of Entrepreneurship Department at Enterprise Lithuania said that one of the “biggest challenges with the creation of the new programme during turbulent times, is the lack of time and human resources and to unite a community. Nevertheless, most of our partners were really engaging and were eager to help us, that is how we managed to release a really successful project in a such a short period of time – less than one week. Also, very important condition was the active public engagement – everyone was sharing information about the project with people whom this information could help get on their feet, buying products from Lithuanian small businesses and otherwise helping each other out. .” 

For further information on the “No quarantine on the Internet” contact Inga Juozapavičienė, Head of Entrepreneurship Department at Enterprise Lithuania on E-mail: [email protected] or access further Information via the Enterprise Lithuania website