Valga municipality has been developing the Väike-Laatsi industrial area for the last 15 years. The area is 65 hectares in size, which according to the local entrepreneurship and development specialist Mare Raid is big enough to even accommodate big manufacturing companies. Currently private owners hold the industrial plots, but there also is one property which Valga municipality would like to own themselves.
EHA Metal & Woodworks, Moodul OÜ, AS Tarvas Ehitus and Baltic Forest Master are a few examples of the companies operating in Väike-Laatsi industrial area. The process of installing streetlights and renovating access roads was completed in 2020. Now, the area also has amenities such as running water, sewerage, and an internet connection.
Water and sewerage connections have been renewed and the companies can use those access points, explains Raid. Since there is an electrical substation next to the industrial area, sufficient electrical supply is guaranteed to the new companies and residents. The heating is local, there is no central heating connection in the area. Internet is provided via broadband network and the connection point is located at the border of the property. Valga also has a functioning railway network, which can be a huge advantage to new residents. At the moment, there is no railway spur connecting to the main line, but it can be built, if necessary. The area’s closeness to Latvia is also one of the selling points of the area, because the connection to Riga is very good and raw materials can easily be imported from Valga. The trip from Valga to Riga is shorter than from Valga to Tallinn.
We are open-minded to new residents
Valga is open-minded and welcoming to new potential new companies. Usually, the local community and neighbors have the say in the decision, but we don’t have any limits to the field of activities for the companies – we are open to different ideas. “Our biggest wish is that the new companies would create new jobs to the area, which would also encourage new people to move here”, says Raid.
Dozens of mid-sized wood and furniture companies operate in the south-east of Estonia, employing over 6000 local people. According to Raid, finding new workforce can be a challenge – a common concern in southern Estonia. Companies often train their own employees, and many people have relatively long commutes. There are also Latvians who commute to work across the border. “Valga has all the necessary services for life, I think it is a good place for families to settle down. During the last years the city has developed a lot – many roads have been fixed and overall progress can definitely be seen. We don’t call ourselves a borderland, but rather a gateway to Estonia. We think that since the government supports the industrial development in East-Virumaa, it should do the same in the south-east of Estonia”, says Raid.
A steel company in Valga celebrates its 30th operating year
AS Moodul, which produces metal constructions celebrated its 30th birthday in the industrial area this year. Currently they employ about 50 people. Most of the output is sold for export, depending on the projects.
According to AS Moodul board member Roland Karpats, Väike-Laatsi industrial area is a good location for manufacturing companies. They have enough space for their operations and buildings and the commute for the employees is relatively short. “There is room both for existing companies to expand and newcomers to build. Since we have a lot of oversized truck loads, we really value the good access roads to the area”, says Karpats.
Karpats also praises the local municipality – their cooperation has been efficient and smooth. “For example, we are constantly building new warehouses and the municipality has always been very collaborative”, says Karpats.
Valga municipality by the numbers
- Population 15 200
- 70% of residents live in the town of Valga
- Working age residents ~10 000
- Average gross monthly income in Valga County in 2021 – 1208€