The 15th Baltic Development Forum Summit was held in Riga, Latvia, 29-30 May under the title “New Realities – New Opportunities. Competitiveness, investments and business development in the Baltic Sea Region.” This year’s Summit gathered ca. 750 participants. The programme and the level of speakers this year was highly appreciated and the most popular sessions this year were the Prime Minister’s panel and the BSR Investment Promotion Agencies session.
According to the feedback given by the respondents, 73% regarded the summit overall as positive – in comparison to 2012, where only 70% gave positive feedback.
As for the professional background of the participants, the majority (53.9%) came from the public sector, working respectively in government or public administration. The second biggest group of participants, about 27.3% came from private businesses. Significantly smaller was the number of attending academics, only 5.2%. 6.5% of the participants were NGO representatives.
A breakdown of the participants according to their country of origin revealed that 54.3% of the participants came from Latvia – which is no big surprise as the summit was held in Riga. The Nordic countries were the second biggest group represented: 9.3% of the participants came from Denmark, 8.8% from Sweden and 6.5% came from Finland. 5.3% of the participants came from neighbouring Lithuania, whereas the number of Estonian participants, with only 2.5%, remained comparatively small. Russia was represented with 3%.
When asked about their main reason for participation, about 42.8% of the responses gave networking as the main reason. 23.8% of the respondents named interest in specific sessions as their main reason for attending the summit, while 19% were present because of company or project presentations.
According to the feedback give, 85.7% of the participants claimed that the 2013 summit exceeded their expectations. The summit programme as a whole received 78.5% positive feedback, this marks a substantial increase of 11.5% in comparison to 2012.
The summit sent a strong signal: Latvia and the Baltic States have returned to the Top of Europe, demonstrating high economic growth figures and optimism for the future as well as high hopes for regional and European integration. All key messages can be found at http://www.bsr2013.eu/2013/06/07/key-messages-from-the-bdf-summit-in-riga-2013/