Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, the country's administrative, cultural and economic centre. Vilnius is home to about 550 000 inhabitants. The territory of Vilnius is 394 sq. km.
One fourth of the country's enterprises operate in Vilnius, two thirds of them in the trade and service sector. Over 40 percent of the country's foreign enterprises are located in Vilnius. In 2005, Vilnius accumulated 2.815 billion € in foreign direct investments i.e. 63 percent of all foreign direct investments made in Lithuania.
Biotechnology and laser technology are especially characteristic to Vilnius. Vilnius is also notable in the country for the information technology and telecommunications sector. City's economic structure is characterised by the service sector. About 70 percent of Vilnius' employees work in the service sector. Vilnius County generates one-third of the country's GDP. Average monthly gross earnings in Vilnius exceed the country average by 1.2 times.
Lithuania's science and technology traditions have made the successful transition to a modern market economy. Once known as the Soviet Silicon Valley, the country now has world-class specialists in biotechnology, lasers, telecommunications and information technologies bringing leading-edge products and services to global markets. Meanwhile, the government has given top priority in its economic strategy to further advancing science-based industry through the promotion of innovation and collaboration between business, research and higher education.
Currently there are 27 scientific research institutions in Vilnius, 10 universities (with more than 67 000 students studying there), 7 private colleges with more than 16 000 students, and one school of higher education with more than a thousand of students.
Since 1993, a Science and Technology Park (STP) in Vilnius has empowered three scientific institutions to provide research services and facilities as well as technical and administrative consulting to dozens of businesses. Thanks to the efforts of the national government and many technology companies, a few additional Science and Technology parks were established. At present there are 6 Science and Technology Parks in Vilnius: Material Science and Measurement Cluster, Environmental Research and Technology Park, Northtown Technology Park (www.ntp.lt), Biotechnology Science Park, Sunrise Valley, and Visoriai Information Technology Park (www.vitp.lt).