Latvia triumphs at the International Business Services Center Award

As the global business service centers (GBS) sector is rapidly developing in Latvia, the country took home three titles this year from the CEE Shared Services & Outsourcing Summit & Awards event, held in Warsaw for the seventh consecutive year. Cognizant Latvia was awarded the title of "Digital Services Company of the Year".

Circle K Business Services triumphed in the nomination "The SBPC of the Year in the Baltics". Riga, the capital of Latvia, won the nomination in which the location of business service centers in Europe was awarded the title “The Rising Start City of the Year”.

The goal of the GBS regional event is to reward and highlight GBS companies operating in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year, Tele2 Shared Service Center from Latvia won the "Socially Responsible Company" award with the "Girls Make IT happen" campaign that invited girls to focus on career development in the IT sector. This year, Latvia has triumphed with the business service centers in Riga, participating in the event with a larger number of representatives of business centers in Latvia, as well as gaining three prestigious awards. Circle K Business Center, which was awarded the title of "SBPC of the Year in the Baltics", is currently the largest GBS in Latvia. The company provides finance, IT, procurement, logistics and customer contact center services and employs 550 employees. Cognizant Latvia, which received the title of "Digital Services Company of the Year", is part of the global Cognizant company based in India and entered Latvia in 2018. It employs 300 IT professionals in Riga to provide IT services.

The capital city of Latvia, Riga won the prize at the award ceremony as the emerging GBS location in Europe. Riga provides GBS industry companies opportunities to develop, as well as offers competitive conditions and business environment for new investors. The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), Ministry of Economics, Riga City Council, Financial Industry Association and other interested parties have been actively working to promote development of GBS sector in Latvia and Riga. Active and successful participation of Latvia in GBA events and wider global environment allows Riga to become more recognizable and invites new industry investors to evaluate Riga as a potential GBS location.

LIAA has been working with the GBS industry companies, inviting them to expand their operations in Riga, to encourage to expand  services of new and higher added value business support functions in Latvia. The successful participation of LIAA and nominations of the business centers that located in Latvia indicates that Riga has great potential to develop GBS sector, providing a favorable environment for both already existing companies as well as newcomers, thus, encourging the transfer of new business support functions to Latvia.

GBS sector with foreign capital companies locating their offices in Latvia make a significant contribution to the Latvian economy by providing well-paid jobs with a salary that is above the country’s average while providing an international business environment, health insurance, modern offices, career development opportunities and corporate measures. The industry has zero percent shadow economy, salaries are paid fairly, in accordance with the requirements of country’s legislation. There are currently 50 business service centers in Latvia, which provide jobs for 8500 people in Riga. In 2018, the GBS industry in Latvia was complemented by companies such as Competence Call Center, which serves Facebook from Latvia, and Cognizant, which provides IT services. Business service centers employ mainly IT, finance, customer service, logistics, personnel management and procurement specialists. These companies are most often chosen as places of employment by university graduates, thanks to their favorable career prospects.

In order to promote the development of the GBS sector in Latvia, an industry memorandum was signed in 2018, by the Riga City Council, LIAA, the Ministry of Economics, the National Alliance of Real Estate Developers, the Financial Industry Association and the Foreign Investors Council in Latvia, in agreement that they will carry out certain activities with the aim to promote the development of business service centers in Latvia. Currently, creating a new association is in works that will jointly address such issues as raising public and potential employees' awareness of job opportunities in the industry and fostering communication with universities on the competencies needed in the GBS labor market today and in the future.