How Estonia is ‘supercharged’ to create more international startup success stories

At TechSparks 2021, Sander Sillavee, Marketing and Partnerships Lead, Startup Estonia, spoke about how the European nation is supercharging its startup ecosystem and inviting more non-European founders to have a company in the country.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) of 2021 — which covered 275 startup ecosystems globally — highlighted Estonia as one of the top 10 strongest startup ecosystems for its startup-friendly schemes.

The European nation allows entrepreneurs and startups to set up a company in Estonia, which they can operate digitally (remotely) from India or elsewhere in the world. 

Besides this, Estonia also provides support in the form of access to funding, mentorship, the European markets, etc. 

At TechSparks 2021, Sander Sillavee, Marketing and Partnerships Lead, Startup Estonia, said Startup Estonia is supercharged to empower the Estonian startup ecosystem to create more international success stories. 

The governmental initiative aims to make Estonia the birthplace of startups. 

Speaking at the 12th edition of YourStory’s flagship startup-tech event, Sander said, last year, the scheme had a one-year goal of having 1,000 startups. Owing to its ‘supercharged’ efforts, in 2020, Estonia had registered 1,124 startups.

Sander said Startup Estonia is working on several initiatives to achieve its goal of becoming a startup hub. 

Through this initiative, the government is working in tandem with international and local venture capital firms to make funding accessible for startups. 

"We always want to make sure the legislative environment is more clear and gives incentives for both startups and investors. For this, we're working closely with the government. We want to have a good and collaborative startup ecosystem,” he said.

According to Sanders, the startup ecosystem in Estonia is growing 30 percent annually, enabling the country to create new jobs. 

At present, Estonia’s startup ecosystem has created over 6,000 jobs, meaning every 100th person in Estonia is connected with startups. 

“Startups are creating more turnover. They have raised a lot of money — almost €2 billion in the last 12 years,” said Sanders. 

Since the definition of startups is different in each country, Estonia considers any company a startup, which is innovative, has a repeatable and scalable business model, with fast global growth potential. 

Sanders said Estonia has about seven unicorns, including Skype, Playtech, Wise, Bolt, Pipedrive, Zego, and most recently,

“And, we want to move forward more,” said Sander.  

He asserted that Estonia wants more and more entrepreneurs from non-Europe countries, and it incentivises them accordingly. 

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Edited by Suman Singh