How Estonia Do IT

Trends & challenges

by Ilya Nikitin

As reported by a reliable assessment agency, Estonia holds the current world record in new start-ups per individual, considering that the Estonia has just 1.3 million human population. (Economist, 2013)

For the last 10 years, the Estonian government has been paying additional attention to the ICT sector and making everything possible to attract and encourage more entrepreneurs to start their own business in information systems in Estonia. Government is constantly improving e-services and introducing interesting online services like e-Residency, e-Tax Board, e-Health, e-Banking, e-University and many others (Invest in Estonia).

The Estonian Government is using attractive interest packages and juicy offers to attract foreign entrepreneurs, new talents, businesses and investors. Government has simplified the immigration rules by introducing e-Residency. Programming is already included in some primary schools curriculum while universities are graduating highly skilled ICT and entrepreneur professionals (E. Braw, 2015).

The start-up entrepreneurs have good support systems, encompassing more than 180 organisations and companies including IT colleges. An example is Tallinn University of Technology, which provides training and support for start-ups to help them at the early stages of development, giving them tips on how to launch global products and how to deliver professional pitch to large US and EU VCs (Work in Estonia, 2015).

Another example is the Garage48 hackathons, which brings together graphic designers, interface designers, computer programmers and project managers who work together on software projects for one weekend. The goal of this event to set up a working company by the end of the weekend (i.e in just 48 hours), (Work in Estonia, 2015).

While new companies in Silicon Valley seek for early funding from incubators and then getting multi dollar investments by VC, Estonian start-ups go to peer clubs and apply for government grants agencies. (E. Braw, 2015)

If I see a company coming out of Estonia I am reasonably assured that it will be executed well. For its size, Estonia is generating more high quality startups than you would expect.”
Naval Ravikant, Founder of AngelList”

The Estonian government is aiming to be the world’s most digitised bureaucracy. Even government cabinet avoid using paper and implementing the latest information technology systems (E. Braw, 2015). The Aim of the Estonian government is to provide the best conditions for ICT start-ups to thrive, and compete with those of bigger countries. Despite the fact that Estonia is a small country, they are really doing a great job to be one of the best places in the world for start-ups.


Economist, 2013, Estonia’s technology cluster Not only Skype, [Online]
Available: [Accessed 01 December 2015].

Invest in Estonia, [Online]
Available: [Accessed 01 December 2015].

E. Braw, Millions Invested In Estonian Startups After Boom in Tech Industry [Online]
Available: [Accessed 01 December 2015]

Work in Estonia, 2015 [Online]
Available: [Accessed 31 October 2015]

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