Mayor: Rīga could help small businesses get into city center

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In order to revitalize the Rīga city center, the municipality could introduce a grant program for companies to rent premises that have long been empty, Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis told Latvian Radio in an interview on April 12.

According to Staķis, many European cities were concerned about city high street commercial properties remaining vacant. Rīga management is looking at the Bristol example to address this problem.

The municipality could give grants to companies that would be prepared to start operations on premises that have been vacant for a long time. At the moment, however, it is still being assessed whether such aid is allowed by European Union rules for economic operators.

“Without such a grant program... We see that we can't leave it all simply to the market flow,” Staķis said.

Such aid could be introduced this year.

Grants wouldn't apply to companies that work with franchise chains, but to smaller businesses.

“To the small shops, to small cafes, to local business. [..] Grants to those who want to develop their own business - shops, cafes, souvenir shops. Everything that suits the center and works well,” Staķis said.

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