At the beginning of the New Year we often look back on what we have experienced in the past 12 months, where we have been successful and what could have been done differently. Some lessons in life we receive unexpectedly but some we can take over from others – experienced entrepreneurs in Latvia, says “Porsche Latvija” head Ivars Norvelis.

In his words, “Porsche Latvija” launched a unique project this year by visiting five company heads and “Porsche Taycan” owners in Latvia to look behind the scenes of their professional lives, gain inspiration and share it with other people in Latvia.

“One of the topics we discussed was sustainability. In my opinion, it is something more than climate, green technologies, or a circular economy. It is the quality of life and the ability to last through times and be able to change along with them, to remain needed,” said Norvelis.

We hope that these stories will demonstrate that Latvia can take pride in its inspiring people and flourishing businesses, and that they will motivate you to take on new challenges in 2023.


Aivars Strauss: Relying only on oneself

The beginnings of “LLC EMU Skulte” date back to the 1990s when, according to the company’s founder and head Aivars Strauss, there was virtually nothing. The previous political system had collapsed and a new life was beginning with new challenges.

The company got its name Emu thanks to the owner’s family name Strauss, as ostriches and emus, one of the most beautiful Australian bird species, both belong to the same family of flightless birds.

At the beginning the round-timber business was launched at the port of Riga. The company had mixed success – it saw tough times as well, but Aivars never had doubts about going ahead with his work and striving for the result.

“One must rely only on oneself. Of course, you can also expect help from others, but if your do not take responsibility, nothing will work out,” the entrepreneur and owner of a “Taycan” electric car says.

In 1997 Aivars received an invitation to launch operations at the port of Skulte where he again had to start from scratch. “We were spending, doing, thinking, and already in November of the same year we loaded the first ship and could breathe a sigh of relief” Strauss recalls.

Aivars underlines that now it is essential to realize that the reality has changed and that it will never be the same again. It is necessary to move on and remember that our children and grandchildren will be living in the environment we leave to them.

“In my view, sustainability is the ability to work effectively and use resources rationally. For example, we are standing on a nearly four hectares large, fully concreted cargo area, there are no oil products on it. It allows us to maintain a clean environment and makes cargo handling much easier. Also, the placement of cargo is planned so that loading and unloading takes as little time as possible, and hybrid equipment is being gradually purchased to reduce fuel consumption,” Strauss said.

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Nataly Shamayeva: to grow, performance must be improved daily

Nataļy Shamayeva is an ophthalmologist and plastic surgeon with an experience of 15 years in her profession. She is also the founder of the reconstructive plastic surgery clinic “My Vision”.

The most valuable experience she has acquired during her career is that success in business can be achieved with hard work and objective self-assessment. Even at a hindsight, the entrepreneur would not change anything on her career and life path, because otherwise she would lose her valuable experience which is so useful in business and life.

“My profession is a vivid proof of the importance of education, because to achieve growth, we need to develop and improve our performance each day!” Nataly says.

Over the last five years, around six thousand aesthetic blepharoplasties or correctional eyelid surgeries have been performed at her clinic. The company’s achievements are proof that Nataly together with her team improve their professional competence with new expertise on a regular basis.

The surrounding environment and important events are also a significant component of success. Family, success at work and a strong supportive shoulder is what inspires Nataly and motivates her to reach for even higher results.

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Edijs Ošs: in business, like in sports, it is necessary to catch seconds

“Palleteries”, a company of Kuldīga resident Edijs Ošs, manufactures and exports wooden pallets. The beginning of his business was quite modest – six employees and a turnover of 50,000 lats, but he had a passion for his work. Now, it is a flourishing enterprise which in 2021 set a new turnover record – around 20 million euros.

“The key to success in my business, of course, is export, because it ensures stability, creates value added and allows to develop. By systematically developing year by year, we have achieved remarkable results,” says Ošs.

In his words, in business it is important to accept changes in the market and adapt to them. Electricity and heating consumption are today’s pressing issues, so the company participates in local and European support programs which help develop faster.

At the same time, “Palleteries” is introducing cost saving measures, for example, by switching to “greener” lighting which consumes less electricity.

In addition to developing his business, Edijs also has a hobby related to the auto industry. The entrepreneur has been involved in motorsports for more than a seven years, learning everything on his own. At present, he is a regular participant of Latvian, Baltic and Nordic championships and a two-time champion of Latvia. He has also successfully competed in European championships.

“In sports, you have to be the best, you have to try to “catch” seconds. I use the same principle in business, selecting a strong and effective team who help reach the company’s goals faster,” the entrepreneur says.

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David Shulman: in business one must be proactive and curious

IT professional David Shulman has been working in his sphere for more than 20 years, including eight years in Riga. At present, David works at a major finance and insurance company.

At school, he liked mathematics and other science subjects. Eventually, he chose to study economics, mathematics and philosophy. Like other students at that time, David liked to work on computers. And at one point he realized that he could create something from nothing – just he and the computer.

Like the rest of the world, business is ever changing. “In business, it is essential to keep a curious mind and to keep learning, because the industry develops and constantly upgrades itself,” says David Shulman.

He believes that in Latvia, it is necessary to create an economic environment that entrepreneurs and employees would find attractive. An environment supportive of businesses and attracting talented entrepreneurs and professionals. It is also extremely important to invest in infrastructure and create work conditions that would be appealing to people.

“People are the most important business resource. I have noticed that there are educated, industrious and diligent employees in Latvia who perform their job duties meticulously, so it is important to attract more and more business to Latvia,” the entrepreneur believes.

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Mārtiņš Zvirbulis: there is no point in making a snowman when there is no snow around!

“Timber Trade Development” is a company located in Biksti, Dobele municipality, which is the birthplace of the company’s owner and head Mārtiņš Zvirbulis. At present, the company makes firewood. Previously, the entrepreneur was involved in construction, but the crisis of 2008-2009 made him consider a switch to a different business.

In winter, there is usually less work for builders, so in 2015 Mārtiņš launched a pilot project which by now makes up 90 percent of his business, with construction still making up the remaining 10 percent, but this, too, is for the development of his main business.

The work that has been put into the development of production has clearly not been the standard 160 hours per month – these have been 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Development still continues – the company invests in equipment to make work for people easier and to reduce the product’s prime cost. “I must always be on the lookout, see what is needed. Most importantly — never give up and change constantly!” Zvirbulis believes.

In his career, the entrepreneur has tried various business areas, even making organic humus.  However, despite good marketing and nice packaging, there was no demand for the product. As Mārtiņš concludes now, people just did not need it at that time. “It is like making a snowman when there is no snow around your, so my most important lesson is that one should adapt to the situation, analyze the target audience and its needs. If something does work out, find something that does and is needed,” the owner of “Timber Trade Development” says.

After doing so many different things in his life, Mārtiņš says that one should just try. “We, Latvians, are extremely hard-working people, so it is essential not to be afraid of what we have started, just go ahead and do it! And if it does not work, focus on something else and don’t give up,” the entrepreneur advises.

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Each entrepreneur’s path to success is unique, but what they all have in common is the passion for development and seeking solutions to attain their goals. The main characters of these stories also rely on the fully electric “Porsche Taycan”. It is not without a reason that the name of this automobile originates from the Turkish words “Tay+Can”, which means an “energetic, young horse”.


About SIA “Baltijas sporta auto”

The official Porsche dealer in Latvia – SIA “Baltijas sporta auto”, boasts a dynamic and knowledgeable team, as well as 20 years of experience in the car sales industry. SIA “Baltijas sporta auto” is the authorised Porsche dealer in Latvia, providing reliable and customer-oriented sales and car service.