Come and explore Estonia with other C-Level Executives with the International Trade Council and the Government of Estonia.
Participants in this trade mission will have the opportunity to learn about doing business in Estonia, the Nordic Region and the European Union, explore the market, gain exposure to the business culture, meet with potential partners, source new products and/or services and find investment opportunities.
Positive effects of International Trade Council Trade Missions include higher sales revenues, lower procurement costs and better sourcing, education, cultural/international business savvy, preparedness, professional development, visibility/goodwill and perspective.
An additional benefit is that the mission participants develop close friendships among themselves and a useful, professional network.
This trade mission is designed to bring start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors and multinational corporations in direct contact with government agencies and companies in the Estonian market.
Participants on the Trade Mission to Estonia will meet C-Level executives in the following fields:
Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia
Fleur Pellerin, Korelya Capital, Acting CEO & Founder
Péter Halácsy, Prezi, CEO at Budapest School & co-founder at Prezi
Ida Tin, Clue, CEO & Co-founder
Jamie Burke, Outlier Ventures, CEO
Noah Raford, Dubai Future Foundation, Chief of Global Affairs
Nazma Qurban, Cognism, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)
Cristina Fonseca, Talkdesk, Co-founder
Vinay Ramani, Pipedrive, Chief Product Officer
Chris Wade, Isomer Capital, Co-Founder & Partner
Ain Aaviksoo, Guardtime, Chief Medical Officer
Nitika Agarwal, Apolitical, COO & Co-founder
Arzu Altinay, Walks in Europe, Founder
Ruth Amos, Practical Informatics, CEO
Erik Anderson, Tera VC, Venture Partner
Nicole Anderson, Redsand, Co-founder & Managing Partner
Tõnis Arro, Teamscope, Co-founder, Chairman
Karl Aru, Bolt, Expansion Manager
Heli Aru-Chabilan, HITSA, Chair of the Management Board
Ksenia Ashrafullina, Invisible City, Founder
Alain Bicqué, Detalytics, CEO
Adam Bregu, Startup Genome, Business Development Manager
Evan Burfield, Union, CEO
Karen Burns, CGI Estonia, Director of Business Development
Patrick Campbell, ProfitWell, CEO & Co-founder
Ngozi Dozie, Paylater, Director & Co-founder
Tõnu Esko, Institute of Genomics at University of Tartu, Vice Director
Andy Farquharson, Winning by Design, Founding Partner & GM EMEA
Bao Ha, APX, Deal Flow Manager
Kaspar Hanni, Ekspress Grupp, Board member
Karoli Hindriks, Jobbatical, CEO & Co-founder
Taavet Hinrikus, Transferwise, Co-founder and Chairman
Kai Isand, Latitude59, Startup relations
James Isilay, Cognism, CEO & Co-founder
Stenver Jerkku, eAgronom, Coo
Mari Joller, Snackable AI, CEO & Founder
Sonia Bashir Kabir, SBK Tech Ventures, Founder, Chairman & CEO
Heidi Kakko, BaltCap Growth Fund, Partner
James Kanter, EU Scream, Founder and Editor
Triin Kask, Nevercode, CEO
David Kelver, Rakuten, Inc., Senior Manager @ Education Business Department
Daniel Knapp, European Commission, Former Advisor
Kristjan Korjus, Starship Technologies, Head of Data
Daniel Korski, Public, CEO
Priit Kruus, Dermtest, CEO & Co-founder
Ivar Kruusenberg, PowerUp Fuel Cells, CEO & Founder
Eric Lagier, byFounders, Managing Partner
Clare Lain, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Strategy Researcher
Robert Lees, Strata Partners, Partner
Merily Leis, Scoro, Marketing Lead
Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Nodes, Global Head of Voice
Triin Linamagi, Founders Factory, Venture Associate
Madle Lippus, Linnalabor / Estonian Urban Lab
Kieren Niĉolas Lovell, TalTech, Incident Management Specialist
Viljar Lubi, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Undersecretary
Triin Mahlakõiv, North Star AI, Co-founder
Arita Mattsoff, CGTrader, Chief Marketing Officer
Taavi Must, Rangeforce, CEO & Founder
Triinu Mägi, Neura Inc, CTO, co-Founder
Madis Müür, EstBAN, Board member
Liis Narusk, Elevate, CEO & Co-founder
Dr. Alex Norta, TalTech, Associate Professor
Philip O’Reilly, Draper Esprit, Principal
Akinyi Ochieng, WorldRemit, Manager, Corporate Communications
Daisy Onubogu, Backed VC, Head of Scouting
Mikus Opelts, Giraffe360, CEO & Co-founder
Maria Palombini, IEEE Standards Association, Director, Emerging Communities & Initiatives Development Global Business Strategy & Intelligence,
Gediminas Peksys, Oxipit, CEO & Co-founder
Kati Pino, Law Firm Hedman Partners, Associate
Peter Poolsaar, Blue Catalyst, Founder
Kyle Poyar, OpenView, VP Market Strategy
Johanna Pystynen, Vincit, HR Director
Liisa Põldma, LHV, Head of HR
Sanna Reponen, Mehackit, CTO
Ann Runnel, Reverse Resources, CEO & Founder
Martin Ruubel, Guardtime, President
Toomas Römer, ZeroTurnaround, CTO
Priit Salumaa, Mooncascade, Co-founder & Startup Lead
Ragnar Sass, Lift99, CEO & Founder
Asse Sauga, Cryptocurrency and blockchain expert
Ede Schank Tamkivi, Eesti 2.0, CEO
Marite Aleksandra Silava, Swedbank, Fintech Community Manager
Erlend Sild, Bugbox, CEO & Founder
Natalia Simonenko, Oyster, Founder & CEO
Boguslawa (Bogy) Skowronski, MIT Entrerprise Forum Poland, Founder & Board Member
Sven Slazenger, Interlake, CEO & Co-founder
Ralf-Martin Soe, Tallinn University of Technology, Smart City Lead
Agne Sokolov, Bolt, Head of People & Culture
Kenny Song, Touchstone Group Holdings, Chairman of the Board
Amiad Soto, Guesty, Co-founder & CEO
David Stefanich, Rymedi, CEO & founder
Taavi Tammiste, SIFR, Co-Founder, CEO
Kaspar Tiri, Wolf3D, Co-founder
Saku Tuominen, Hundred, Founder & Creative Director
Toomas Türk, City of Tallinn, Chief of Innovation
Margus Uudam, karma.vc, Founding partner
Pirkko Valge, Good Deed Foundation, CEO
Ott Vatter, e-Residency, Managing Director
Ilja Velickis, Flashpoint Ventures, Investment Analyst
Peter Vesterbacka, FinEst Bay Area, Entrepreneur & visionary
Valter Võhma, Hedman Partners, Partner & attorney-at-law
Ian Wagner, Stadia Maps, Co-founder
Chris Ward, Gregarious Mammal, Technical Writer and Blogger
Joseph Wei, Skychee Ventures, Venture Partner
When you register for the trade mission you will be asked to provide information about your organization, your industries of interest, the job-titles/profiles of executives you’re looking to meet.
The Council’s Trade Commissioners will then match you with appropriate organizations in Estonia for your 1:1 meetings.
International Trade Council trade missions combine networking with knowledge-gathering. This is not a trade-show. Once signed up, each delegates organizational profile will be circulated with the relevant government agencies and sectoral-business leaders in Estonia.
Council Trade Commissioners will then work to create a refined, customized site-visit schedule relevant to each delegates industry and particular business interests.
The Trade Mission to Estonia includes several networking events designed to facilitate interaction between delegates and their Estonian counterparts. These events include round-tables, a dinner reception and tours. Additional details of these events and attendees will be made available upon closing of sign-ups for the trade mission.
Participants need to be:
Roughly the same size as Switzerland, but with 6 times fewer people - just 1.3 million – Estonia has to compensate in other ways. Their superpowers? Digital society and an innovative mindset.
Named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’ by Wired, ingenious Estonians are pathfinders, who have built an efficient, secure and transparent ecosystem that saves time and money. With 99% of Estonian public services online - you only need to get out of the house for real estate transactions or in order to get divorced - over 820 years of worktime is being saved.
This digital comfort together with the startup-friendly economic environment (1st in the world according to Index Venture) is what makes Estonia an innovation hotspot.
More unicorns per capita than any other country in the world! Skype, Playtech, Transferwise, and Bolt – Estonia is where unicorns are made!
Estonia’s journey to becoming the world’s most digitally enabled nation began 25yrs ago when visionaries committed to IT as a country strategy. Today, Estonia is a recognised leader in digital identity, cyber security and Blockchain and has produced numerous innovations in consumer, enterprise and government sectors.
IT is taught from primary school onwards in Estonia and the country ranks in the top 10 globally for the teaching of maths and IT. Numerous universities and vocational education centres collaborate with industry on knowledge and technology transfer, ensuring the workforce possess professional knowledge and practical experience.
Estonia ranks #3 in Europe for startups per capita and has produced four unicorns. Fourteen incubators and accelerators provide validation, mentoring, risk capital and global commercialisation services for sectors including CleanTech, Gaming and Industry. Government initiative Startup Estonia promotes early stage competitiveness and global integration.
Corporate R&D is significant in Estonia. Global organisations such as Kuehne+Nagel trust Estonia to conceive, develop and launch new logistics solutions. NATO conducts cutting-edge cyber security R&D in Estonia and NASDAQ has conducted successful Blockchain trials. Competence centers STACC, ELIKO and IMECC provide facilities and expertise to conduct applied R&D in AI, Big Data and more.
Estonia’s IT R&D ecosystem is enabled by modern digital infrastructure and a pro-business environment which is free of red tape, promoting accelerated innovation and launches. Government policy is highly supportive and has led to Telia trialling 5G in Estonia and Google’s use of new location technologies to improve emergency services.
As digitalisation transforms life, business and government, Estonia’s combination of skills, experience and environment make it the ideal location for globally scalable IT R&D.
The ICT sector in Estonia revolves around the success of e-governance and the booming startup scene, rooted in the scientific community’s forays into cybernetics and software development already in the 1980s. The following decade was tumultuous not only from a political perspective, but also from a technological angle, as public and private sectors alike had to lay the foundation and the technical infrastructure for running an efficient and innovative state. This can be described as the starting point for Estonia’s pursuit of being one step ahead and boldly doing things as they’ve never been done before.
Today Estonia is widely recognised as one of the leading digital nations in the world, aspiring to carry the flaming torch further and beyond. This vision stands on three important pillars – building a smart state with a smart economy by smart people. Information technology has greatly contributed towards building Estonia’s global presence with fame and glory, especially in the area of public service innovation with the e-residence program standing out as a prime example. But Estonia is also a hotbed for startups, already claiming four unicorns and producing more successful startups per capita than any other country in Europe.
Success in ICT is not achieved by merely pooling together talent and funding, as there needs to be a sustainable, innovative and open environment for fostering development. Technology is merely a tool for achieving results and it wouldn’t mean a thing without the ecosystem and legislation to support the development. Estonia’s ICT export advantage lies in the ability to lead throughout the entire process, owing to the high level of competence covering all nuances and technical details. Rather than just export e-services, Estonians aim to guide and assist and only then develop the necessary technology to match the client’s needs, be they public or private sector entities.
While the ICT sector contributes approximately 12% of Estonia’s GDP, produces the most value added per employee and pays the most labour tax into the state budget, its importance to the country’s economy lies in using innovative ICT solutions for helping other business sectors to advance higher in global value chains. The digitalisation of the entire economy is the focal point of joint endeavours by private enterprises and governmental institutions. Secure and trustworthy services developed by the public sector can find their way to everyday business as well, including industrial digitalisation.
All of this couldn’t be achieved without smart and creative people. World-class technical education is the cornerstone of ensuring qualified progeny. Estonia has introduced special education programs to incentivise young aspiring students to choose ICT as their profession, and also to attract talented and capable people from other industries to try their hand at programming. The pilot program “Choose ICT” aims to attract over 500 people by 2020 and already 2/3 of the graduates have switched careers to become junior software engineers.
Thankfully ICT expertise isn’t a heavy load to export and travels well beyond borders, extending Estonia’s export markets to well over 130 countries. The main export markets for B2B (business-to-business) services and products are in Europe and the US, while B2G (business-to-government) keeps opening up doorways in Africa and the Middle East, where many countries are going through economic transitions similar to those that Estonia had to face in the 1990s. Estonians stand out in the global marketplace for their flexibility and tailor-made solutions and the ability to join forces in partnership for delivering the optimal result.
Estonia’s unique talent pool, favourable business environment and a supportive ecosystem make it the perfect test site for launching new products and services or the perfect development hub for major ICT projects. A considerable share of the 30 thousand people employed in the ICT sector in Estonia help to develop and support well-known international companies such as Kühne+Nagel, Transferwise, Bolt, Playtech and Skype – the last four forming the alluring Estonian unicorns club.
There aren’t many other industries in such a constant development flux as ICT. Future limitations will not be restricted to machines and technology, but to the human users. Estonia will continue as a pathfinding pioneer in the quest for improving the usefulness of ICT without making the users feel threatened or unsafe. Questions of ethics, morality and legal boundaries are becoming more and more evident in the ever-increasing use of artificial intelligence, another sector where Estonia attempts to trail-blaze ahead of the game to find solutions to these exact issues.
Estonia will be able to rely on its solid reputation as an innovative digital nation, its smart people, world-class education system and welcoming business environment for dealing with future change and transformation. What matters the most is the mindset – that Estonia is open to innovation and new technologies and is not afraid to make mistakes, admit them and correct them.
Estonia has a sizeable and growing Mechatronics industry thanks to its ability to integrate world-class expertise in mechanical engineering, electronics and IT. European leaders Enics and Stoneridge trust Estonia to provide high quality, cost-effective, on-time solutions for their global client base.
In mechanical engineering Estonia has a 25 year track record of high-value production, testing and assembly for global markets. Ericsson and ABB trust Estonia to produce complex telecommunications, power and industrial solutions. A significant contract manufacturing sector is experienced and certified to provide intricate components and complex systems to space, transportation and offshore sectors.
Estonia’s electronics capability, developed over 70 years, today includes R&D, prototyping, precision production and assembly of PCBs, supercapacitors, transformers and semiconductors. European leaders Enics, PKC Group and Stoneridge provide cost-effective, on-time solutions to global clients from Estonia.
Estonia’s world-class IT capability ensures technology is seamlessly integrated. Historic skills in industrial automation and cyber security are augmented by developments in data analytics, connected networks and the Blockchain. Estonia is at the cutting edge of sensor, control software and location technology R&D for autonomous vehicles.
Homegrown innovations increasingly attract global clients, awards and funding. Starship Technologies is a strategic partner to Daimler AG in the smart van-robotic delivery solutions. Cleveron parcel delivery solutions are used globally by the likes of Walmart. Software apps allow clients to personalise service and provide real-time data to business on performance and preferences.
The beginning of the Estonian electronics industry dates back to 1907 when the first telephone factory was established in Tartu. Today, with about 230 companies and 12 000 employees, the electronics industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in Estonia and has demonstrated constant growth over the years. The success of the sector is attributed to its level of added value, efficient processes, highly responsive product development and participation in global value chains.
Today, the electronics industry in Estonia stands in a very powerful position, contributing nearly 2 billion euros annually to the country’s export and having the whole supply chain represented. World-class development acumen with great engineering skills have established a number of manufacturers in Estonia with a solid network of maintenance and after-sales enterprises to boot. Almost every imaginable component or consumable is already at hand here, thanks to the strong network of distributors present in Estonia.
Electronics manufacturing in Estonia is dominated by the local branches of international corporations managing large-scale production for exports. A number of these companies also have their own development teams in Estonia or use local engineering services. The manufacturing of electronic and electrical equipment in Estonia is divided into two sub-branches: the manufacturing of computers, electronic and optical equipment makes up about 75% of the sector’s turnover. Activities range from Electronics Manufacturing Services to producing telecommunications, industrial, medical and automotive equipment and components. The manufacturing of electrical equipment makes up the remaining 25% of the sector.
84% of the Estonian electronics industry’s output is exported. Main export destinations have traditionally been Sweden and Finland – their share is 40% of total exports due to the geographical proximity and strong links between foreign companies and their Estonian subsidiaries. Lately, however, Germany and the USA have emerged as key markets, particularly thanks to the smart postal delivery robots delivered to Walmart by Cleveron.
Such success stories wouldn’t exist without a supportive and inspirational educational system, as always. The curricula of Estonian vocational schools and universities specialising in electronics are under the close scrutiny of the entire industry in order to ensure compliance with the sector’s needs and standards, not to mention global trends. Not just training, but also design, assembly and production are organised in accordance with the strictest IPC standards. Interdisciplinary collaboration is the key to helping other sectors into the digital age, as everything will become increasingly more digital, that is electronic, in the future – the electronics industry in Estonia is determined to transform the Estonian economy to that of smart and connected products.
Estonia has become a hotbed for regional tech giants to settle down in, the country is home to some of the most significant Scandinavian electronics tycoons, including ABB, Ericsson, Eolane, Stoneridge, Enics and Incap to name a few. This has lead to a re-adjustment in the sector’s export volumes, as the production volume sold to locally-based integrators has increased at the expense of direct exports. However, the electronics industry in Estonia is not dominated only by major international players, as it boasts many companies of variable sizes in order to serve different clients and fulfil their general or specific demands.
Why has Estonia become such a lucrative destination for electronics companies? The answer is simple. It is really about the people. Estonians stand out for their trustworthiness, understanding deadlines, confidentiality and respect for intellectual property rights. Plus the country’s unique geographical location allows it to cover the whole of Nordics and the Baltics.
Estonian local companies offer engineering services and are eager to develop innovative products and technologies. Good skills, flexibility and a highly efficient business environment makes Estonian companies good cooperation partners. In general, companies established in Estonia benefit from simple tax and labour legislation combined with a conservative economic policy. Modern ICT solutions make operating a business extremely quick and convenient, saving time and money. For example, a company can be started within 15 minutes over the internet without leaving your desk. Local value chains work well, starting with the development of an idea and the manufacturing of prototypes up to the production of serial batches.
The electronics industry in Estonia is widely regarded as a trustworthy supplier to the most recognised names in the global supply chain, ranging from all major luxury car brands to jet airplanes. The future is shining bright for the Estonian smart electronics industry, as the share of electronic components is on the rise everywhere and Estonians have achieved a solid position internationally for their competence. Estonians are not afraid to tackle major projects with limited resources and are happy to take on incredibly versatile and challenging projects, because there is the constant need to learn and develop.
Estonia has a large and growing bioeconomy which merges traditional skills in forestry, aquaculture and agriculture with cutting-edge technological solutions.
Blessed with pristine nature, Estonian’s have centuries long expertise in harnessing natural resources in an efficient and sustainable manner. Historic traditions are integrated with the practical application of modern methodologies taught in specialist universities and professional competence centres for horticulture, forestry, environmental science and chemicals.
Estonia’s bioeconomy is driven by its world-class expertise in forest-based activity. Possessing an abundance of high-quality FSC and PEFC certified raw material, Estonia has a full value chain for export-oriented activity supported by a track-record of successful investments. Stora Enso’s (read more) significant, vertically integrated operations include forestry management, milling and value-added treatment services. Metsä Wood operates five sites in Estonia including a new €50M energy efficient factory in Pärnu exporting plywood globally.
Europe’s largest per capita producer of wooden residential and commercial buildings, 90% of which are exported to Northern Europe, Estonia is also a pioneer in Biomass and home to Europe’s largest wood pellet producer Graanul Invest.
As befits the world’s most digitally enabled nation, IT utilisation is ultra-high. In addition to high automation to ensure quality and efficiency in production, Estonia is a leader in raw material yield optimisation. For example, Timbeter’s machine learning and imaging solution attracts global clients.
With over 30% of economic output already linked to the bioeconomy and innovative approaches to business transformation and policy making providing unique proof of concept and expertise, Estonia is set to emerge as a global centre of excellence in the field.
Whether you seek high-quality production, world-class digitalisation capability or cutting-edge R&D, Estonia is an attractive and scalable location for bioeconomy investment.
The imposing showroom of the Estonian Woodhouse Association strikes an impressive contrast against its backdrop of centuries-old log houses that make up the Estonian Open-Air Museum in Rocca al Mare, Tallinn. A modern and sleek wooden house equipped with the latest innovative smart solutions, it clearly draws experience and inspiration from the long history of wooden house building in Estonia, with over 160 companies partnering to build the state-of-the-art showroom for demonstrating the best Estonian engineering skills.
Wooden houses have become a major export sector for this Nordic-Baltic country, with annual production volumes reaching over 500 million EUR and 90% of this volume exported. The main international markets for Estonian timber construction enterprises are Norway, Sweden, Germany and Finland, forming over 75% of the total export share, with other major markets including France, Holland, United Kingdom, Italy and even Japan. And as a true testament of punching above its weight, every 4th wooden house exported from the European Union is manufactured in Estonia. For the past 10 years Estonia has been the largest exporter of European wooden houses, ranking only behind China and Canada in global statistics.
Besides the excellent engineering skills and expertise of Estonian timber construction enterprises, Estonia benefits greatly from its geographic location – at the crossroads between the East and the West and the North and the South. A European business culture coupled with a Nordic mindset and an almost spiritual connection to nature and forests mean that Estonian businesses value wood, timber and forests in general higher than many others, pushing to utilise natural resources to the maximum with little or no material going to waste.
The Estonian wooden house industry has set ambitious goals for itself – the aim is to contribute towards the global fight against climate change. A wooden house is a ‘carbon bank’ – carbon is ‘bound’ to the structures of the building for decades and thus helps to reduce emissions through energy efficiency and the use of renewable materials. While the association does not advocate building all future houses from wood, it does suggest using more wooden materials for replacing non-renewable materials, such as concrete, wherever possible. The production of pre-fabricated wooden houses is one of the eco-friendliest construction methods, as processes are quick and automated and all resources are used optimally.
Wood can be used as building material for nearly all types of houses, but it takes years of engineering experience to know exactly what to use and where. Cross laminated timber (CLT) possesses the same strength and durability characteristics as concrete, but it takes the same amount of resources to produce either 1 cubic metre of steel construction or 10 cubic metres of glass or 100 cubic metres of concrete materials… or 1000 cubic metres of timber-based construction materials.
Estonian timber construction enterprises are known for boldly accepting and delivering challenging solutions, carefully taking into consideration climatic requirements, customer needs and environmental aspects. Among some of the standout projects delivered by Estonian wooden house companies include the Oodi library in Helsinki, Finland and a 14-storey wooden building Treet in Bergen, Norway.
While with major pre-fab houses manufacturers it is customary for the client to adapt to the ready-made solution, whereas in Estonia it is the manufacturer who is keen to adapt the process and final product around the client’s specifications. Estonia is well-known internationally for its ICT-prowess and the digital realm is making headway in the construction industry as well, as processes become more automated, allowing for flexibility and competitive pricing without cutting back on quality.
As a building material, wood is far better for regulating humidity and temperature than concrete and creates a friendlier environment for humans, especially the little ones. Estonian wooden house manufacturers have a long history of building schools and kindergartens from timber products around the world. Quality assurance is of utmost importance when delivering special projects and the Estonian wooden houses industry can proudly claim to be the most certified building sector in Europe, with the most ETA certificates for timber house manufacturers in absolute numbers. This universal level of certified craftsmanship offers Estonian producers unique possibilities for partnerships and collaboration, allowing to pool their resources to tackle even very large-scale orders.
Estonia has a sizeable food industry which benefits from ecological raw materials, skilled workers and modern production facilities. With an established export capability and growing application of food science and technology, Estonia is the ideal location for export and R&D oriented investment.
Estonia is a compact Nordic country benefiting from a pristine natural environment. Raw material inputs are high-quality, often organic and sourced from clearly identifiable local origins.
Food production in Estonia, of which there are approximately 500 companies, is highly modernised and productive. Estonian workers are typically multilingual, possess higher or professional qualifications and are trained by world-class companies. Quality certification to stringent EU requirements is mandatory and modern equipment extensively utilised in production and packaging.
Supported by a pro-business environment which is free of red tape and an efficient supply chain, Estonia is increasingly a centre for exported oriented activity. Regional giants such as Orkla, Saarionen and Lantmännen export final product from Estonia to European markets. High quality Estonian raw materials are exported globally for use in food, beverage, health, animal feed and horticulture sectors.
Estonia has a long history of food science innovation, including supplying Soviet space missions as early as 1962. Today Lallemand operate a cutting-edge, global R&D hub for functional molecules and directed evolution in Estonia in collaboration with TalTech. Finnish dairy giant Valio conducts R&D into lactose-free and digestion improving foodstuffs.
Estonia is also emerging as a centre of expertise in food technology thanks to close collaboration with its world-class IT industry. Blockchain technologies, which will assure global supply chains, have been used on a daily basis in Estonia since 2008.
With a strong track record of successful investment and innovation supported by a highly competitive business environment and digital capability, Estonia is the ideal location for export and R&D oriented investment.
The long-standing traditions of the Estonian food sector are rooted in dairy and alcohol – after all, these products established the wealth of Estonians in the by-gone days as the main output of manor houses. Estonian bacon, butter and eggs became the largest export articles of Estonia already in the 1930s, while the oldest Estonian bakery Leibur goes back at least 250 years. And no Estonian can go without traditional black rye bread for longer than absolutely necessary.
Today, Estonian food products are renowned for hailing from the country with the cleanest air in the world, so naturally the emphasis is on ecologically fresh products. The modern era for Estonian food producers started with the country’s accession to the European Union in 2004, giving a new lease on life to the entire industry with increased focus on quality and product development. The food industry today employs approximately 15 thousand people and contributes 14% of the processing industry, exporting 10% of the overall volume of the said industry.
Borrowing from the heydays of past times, the beverages industry continues to push export volumes, as drinks withstand export better than most other commodities due to their longer expiration periods. Increasingly it is the dairy industry that thrives on export, as innovation is driven further through collaboration with scientific institutions on developing new products that provide healthier benefits.
The quality of Estonian food relies on the clean resources available in the country owing to favourable climatic conditions, as Estonia is not plagued by either flooding nor droughts. This in turn diminishes the use of pesticides or other plant protection products, allowing Estonia to be the second largest organic farming country in Europe. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations has rated Estonian food as the second cleanest in the world.
As consumer habits are changing around the world, Estonian food processors are quick to react to these adjustments thanks to their relatively small size and innovative approach to scientific advancements. The global trend is increasingly moving towards healthier food that provides consumers with extra benefits, such as more protein. This is one area where Estonians truly stand out for their innovation and product development.
Estonian food products can be found on over 100 export markets around the globe, while the TOP 5 markets still remain nearby. While access to lucrative new markets may sometimes even be challenging to Estonian food producers, their products have found their way to markets as far as even the Seychelles. What matters the most is that Estonian food products are safe and certified and this is why Estonians have been able to find their favourite dishes and products on the shelves of supermarkets in Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark and beyond.
The future of the Estonian food industry is clearly driven by an onslaught of micro-producers, while exports still remain within the realm of the larger enterprises. 100 of the largest enterprises contribute 85% of the sector’s turnover and use 95% of the workforce. The global trend is very much in favour of products with reduced salt and sugar content and using better quality fats, producing clean-label products.
The outlook for Estonian food products is positive, thanks to the established quality standards and the drive for sustainability. The export volumes of organic products and aquaculture are on the rise and Estonia takes the ethical treatment of animals and fish very seriously, cementing the country’s commitment to environmentally-friendly solutions across the entire food value chain.
Patient records in Estonia are digitised and secured by the Blockchain, providing a single immutable data source for healthcare professionals. With a unique digital platform and collaborative ecosystem, Estonia is positioned to lead on preventative medicine, patient self-treatment and industry efficiency.
Estonia has a collaborative healthcare cluster spanning government, academia, competence centres, production and IT companies.
A pioneer in e-health for 25 years, today over 95% of data generated by hospitals and doctors is digitised. A person’s unified health record and x-rays are available on-demand throughout Estonia, allowing health professionals to make informed decisions. Blockchain technology assures system integrity while patients access their data and prescriptions using Estonia’s secure e-ID solutions.
Estonia has an active biotech cluster comprising over 70 companies who, in conjunction with the University of Tartu, research, clinically test and develop innovative science. Areas of expertise include genetics, molecular- and biomarker based testing.
Foreign investors such as Valio and Lallemand trust Estonia to conduct their R&D in food science, including lactose-free, functional molecules and directed evolution.
In pharma, Estonia has a niche production capability for GMP certified pharmaceuticals and life science products such as antibodies, peptides, proteins, enzymes and reagents.
The Estonian Genome Center is a biobank holding data on over 5% of Estonia’s adult population. As e-Health and Big Data analytics advance Estonia will emerge as a leader in diagnostic and preventative medicine, with patients empowered to self-service when and where is convenient.
Through the application of medtech and e-health solutions Estonia aims to lead the world in societal wellbeing and the efficient use of resources.
Located in Northern Europe, Estonia borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland and covers an area of 45,227 square kilometres with 1.3 million inhabitants (2017). Situated on the north-eastern edge of the Baltic Sea, Estonia borders Latvia to the south and the Russian Federation to the east.
Capital City: Tallinn (pop. 398 500)
In 2018, the top exports of Estonia were refined petroleum products (€1.21B), communication equipment (€1.04B), oils and other products of coal tar (€592M), prefabricated buildings, whether or not complete or already assembled (€427M), and cars (€378M).
In 2018, the top export destinations of Estonia were Finland (€2.3B), Sweden (€1.58B), Latvia (€1.38B), United States of America (€929M), and Germany (€903M).
In 2018, the top imports to Estonia were refined petroleum products (€1.47B), cars (€892M), oils and other products of coal tar (€591M), communication equipment (€561M), and packaged medicaments (€411M).
In 2018, the top countries of consignment for imports were Finland (€2.08B), Germany (€1.69B), Lithuania (€1.57B), Sweden (€1.42B), and Russian Federation (€1.41B).
Estonia’s startup visa allows qualified founders to start a new business in Estonia and settle as well (with their family).
The special type of visa permit, named “Startup Visa” can help you if you’re a non-EU founder to grow your startup business in Estonia, which represents the world’s best place to start and run a business. All you need to do is to create a great product or idea, which will be really attractive and scalable. Estonian startup visa can be very appropriate to hire you as non-EU talent and can become your ticket to make your dream a reality.
To be qualified for the Startup Visa as a founder, you will need:
The above fees contribute to the overall mission costs incurred by the Council which include:
The Trade Mission fee amount is payable with your application. Please note, applications that are received without the fee will not be accepted. If your application is not accepted, then your payment will be refunded.
If your organization is interested in sponsoring a panel discussion, breakfast, dinner, social mixer or other event during the Trade Mission to Estonia, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a quick email and we’ll get right back to you.
Contacting the International Trade Council