Entrepreneurship and innovation

The main targets of the Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020 are to embed an enterprising attitude in the society, increase productivity of enterprises and encourage innovation. In order to achieve this, several fundamental innovations with respect to the grant of state support will be introduced.


The Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy focuses on two strategic issues:

​Activity areas with major potential (the so-called growth areas) 
The aim of the policy centered on growth areas (smart specialisation) is to prioritize the development of areas with largest growth potential and increase the competitiveness of Estonian enterprises in global economy.

Enterprises with major potential 
We encourage the establishment of ambitious enterprises and foster the development of enterprises already operating. 

  • First, we see to it that there is state support in the form of training sessions, consultations and seed capital to start a business. 
  • We pay special attention to the development of young and innovative enterprises by creating conditions for the development of ideas and teams, and access to venture capital. 
  • In the case of established enterprises we pay attention to the overall development of business processes, development activities and production by broadening the possibilities for having access to capital and introducing the so-called “tailor-made solution” approach. 
  • We encourage entrepreneurs to take their first steps in product development and provide opportunities for strategic development cooperation with research institutes. The role of the state as a customer for innovative solutions is enhanced by steering public procurements towards procuring more innovative solutions.

A significant change in support policy is based on the idea of "teaching a man to catch fish instead of giving him a fish". In order to execute their plans, enterprises are provided with versatile possibilities for getting a loan, or raising venture and private capital for investments, export and other activities. We also continue to focus on promoting cooperation to increase development activities and sales capacity.


In addition, space should be highlighted as a sector that is witnessing accelerating development in the world and that offers wide range of opportunities to scientists, entrepreneurs and public sector in development of its services. Engaging in space technologies allows Estonian enterprises to participate in high-tech development work and not merely be a user of technology and services but also their developer and exporter in the future.


Today, we have moved on from ambitious plans to taking actual steps. The plans are beginning to take the form of specific measures the first of which will be available to entrepreneurs this year. In order to ensure that each solution helps to get results in the best way, we will continue consultations, which we started when preparing the strategy, with all interested parties in the course of designing, evaluating and improving the measures.

Sille Kraam

Sille Kraam

Head of Entrepreneurship Division

 Ph: +372 625 6341
sille.kraam [at] mkm.ee



An involvement plan has been developed for each measure based on its nature and target group that is implemented by measure coordinators. Information regarding involvement pertaining to the measure is included in its description. 

However, all entrepreneurship measures, without exception, go through the sectoral committee composed of: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - Viljar Lubi (alternate member: Indrek Reimand); Ministry of Education and Research - Indrek Reimand (alternate member: Viljar Lubi); Government Office - Anne Jürgenson; Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Mait Palts (alternate member: Marko Udras); Estonian Service Industry Association - Ander Ojandu (alternate member: Yrjo Ojasaar); Estonian Association of SMEs - Marina Kaas; Enterprise Estonia - Indrek Kaju; Ministry of Culture - Anu-Maaja Pallok (alternate member: Hillar Sein); KredEx - Lehar Kütt; Ministry of Finance - Jaanus Karv; Ministry of the Environment - Kaupo Heinma; Estonian Academy of Sciences - Leo Mõtus; Universities Estonia - Renno Veinthal; Estonian Research Council - Andres Koppel; Archimedes Foundation - Eve Sild.

The measures of smart specialisation (technological development centres, clusters, state as a smart customer, Start-Up Estonia) go through the Smart Specialization Steering Committee composed of: 

  • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - Viljar Lubi
  • Ministry of Education and Research - Indrek Reimand 
  • Ministry of Finance - Jaanus Karv
  • Government Office -Anne Jürgenson
  • Universities Estonia - Renno Veinthal
  • Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Mait Palts 
  • Estonian Service Industry Association - Riin Ehin

Development program for entrepreneurs

The development program for entrepreneurs (hereinafter DPE) is an overall solution supporting the development of entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur and a Client Manager of Enterprise Estonia work together to map the development needs of the entrepreneur and to identify the best way to meet these needs. 
Budget of the measure: 75 million euros (European Regional Development Fund).

The measure is used to support companies who have the ambition and desire to develop and innovate their products and services, sales and marketing activities, production processes, and personnel activities that support the development of entrepreneurs.  
The activities of the development program are divided into two groups:
  • Identification of the development needs of entrepreneurs
  • Supporting the development activities of entrepreneurs (related to personnel, processes, development of products and services, as  well as sales and marketing)
Diagnostics that maps the development of the entrepreneur is carried out before the entrepreneur joins DPE. Based on the results of the diagnostics entrepreneurs in cooperation with a Client Manager of Enterprise Estonia prepare a development plan. It will list all the activities that affect the entrepreneur’s development. Support from the corresponding measure can be applied for activities relating to product and service development, development of sales and marketing activities, development of production processes and development of the entrepreneur’s personnel. An employee of Enterprise Estonia also consults the entrepreneur on possibilities to get support from other sources than Enterprise Estonia.
It will no longer be necessary to prepare different applications to receive support from different measures. In deciding which activities are subject to support the capacity and possibilities of each enterprise to achieve the set targets will be taken into account.
The pilot phase of the measure has already been launched. 

A new measure will be opened in the second half of 2015.


Kaie Nurmik
Kaie Nurmik

Expert of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 639 7651
kaie.nurmik [at] mkm.ee

Technological development centres

Technological development centres are centers for entrepreneurs to develop new products and services where new products, services and technologies are created in cooperation with competence centers, entrepreneurs and universities. The aim of the support measure of technological development centres is to promote research and development (hereinafter R&D), development of technology and activities of innovation, and improve their availability.  
Budget of the measure: 40 million euros (European Regional Development Fund).
In 2015 - 2022 the focus of technological development centres is on the activities relating to the development of technologies necessary to place the new products and services of Estonian entrepreneurs on the market. Technological development centres or companies whose main activity is carrying out activities of research, development and innovation are granted support from the measure.

With the help of the measure of technological development centres, new and internationally successful products and services are created for Estonian entrepreneurs. This helps improve the competitiveness of entrepreneurs.

In addition to the abovementioned, a target has been set to turn technological development centres into internationally recognized development centers for technology by the end of the financing period where in addition to the R & D cooperation with Estonian entrepreneurs there would be sufficient knowledge and skills to participate in international R & D projects and offer R & D services also to international enterprises.
Support is given to:
  • R & D activities based on the wishes and needs of entrepreneurs - applied research and product development and the preliminary studies that prepare them
  • Activities that help enhance technological development centres as development centers for technology - R & D of technological development centres and development activities of the organization of technological development centres, marketing activities of technological development centres, etc.

Applications to the main round can be submitted by applicants, who got through from the first round on the basis of their marks and position in the list and technological development centres, whose proposals could fit in the budget. Information on the terms of the main applications round can be found on the Enterprise Estonia website.




Kaie Nurmik
Kaie Nurmik

Expert of the Economic Development Department
Phone:+372 639 7651
kaie.nurmik [at] mkm.ee

Financial instruments

Financial instruments are aimed at improving access to capital for Estonian entrepreneurs and develop alternative ways to raise capital in addition to taking a bank loan.

Budget of the measure: 145.5 million euros (European Regional Development Fund).

The package of financial instruments consists of:
  • Loans meant for entrepreneurs whose business plan is not financed by a bank or who lack the self-financing required by banks in order to get a bank loan.
  • State guarantee that helps, in the eyes of the bank, compensate for insufficient securities of the entrepreneur and improve the creditworthiness of the entrepreneur.  
  • Credit insurance that helps Estonian exporters offer long-term financing solutions to foreign purchasers. This helps entrepreneurs reduce the risks associated with foreign purchasers and their potential insolvency, as well as the political risks associated with the place of stay of purchasers. 
  • Venture capital (or equity investment) that is meant for entrepreneurs with high growth potential who have a novel but risky business idea that requires also experience and a network of contacts in addition to capital in order to implement it. 
At the end of 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) completed the first part of a pre-analysis for the Ministry of Finance regarding the financial instruments planned from the funds of 2014-2020. The pre-analysis identified market failures that can be addressed by the means of some financial instruments.

The second part of the pre-analysis that contains specific financial instruments and their requirements was carried out by Ernst & Young for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. The second part the pre-analysis was completed in spring 2015.
Consultations with target groups were held during the preparation of the pre-analysis.
Guarantee and loan applications can be submitted through Kredex and applications for EstFund fund manager position through the European Investment Fund.


Mikk Vainik
Expert of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6392
mikk.vainik [at] mkm.ee

Baltic Innovation Fund

Baltic Innovation Fund (BIF) is a fund of funds established by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the European Investment Fund (EIF) with the aim of providing entrepreneurs of Baltic States with other financing options besides bank loans thus improving access to capital.
EIF invests 52 million euros in establishing a fund of funds and the national agencies of Estonia (KredEx), Latvia (LGA) and Lithuania (Invega) will add another 26 million euros.
In 2013-2016 BIF invests 130 million euros in private and venture capital investment funds (sub-funds), investments from private investors and pension funds are added in at least the same amount.

Managers of sub-funds invest in enterprises in accordance with the investment policy of a specific sub-fund but the general target group is enterprises of Baltic States with good international growth potential. An average investment in one entrepreneur is between 3 and 10 million euros.

EIF has chosen four sub-funds in which BIF will invest (BPM Capital, BaltCap Private Equity Fund, Karma Invest, Livonia Capital). All of these have already raised private capital and have started to invest.

In order to raise capital from sub-funds interested entrepreneurs have to contact the manager of the sub-fund:
  • BPM Capital: Kalmer Kikas
    Phone: +372 501 9745
    Email: kalmer.kikas [at] bpmcapital.eu
  • BaltCap: Peeter Saks
    Phone +372 665 0285
    Email: peeter.saks [at] baltcap.com
  • Livonia Partners: Kaido Veske
    Phone: +372680 0441
    Email: kaido.veske [at] livoniapartners.com
  • Karma Ventures: Margus Uudam
    Email: good [at] karma.vc
Potential managers of sub-funds who are interested in including BIF resources in their funds have to contact EIF:
  • Krisjanis Zarins
    Phone: +352 2485 81659
    Email: k.zarnis [at] eif.org
The measure is open and applications may already be filed.



Mikk Vainik
Expert of the Economic Development Department

Phone: +372 625 6392
mikk.vainik [at] mkm.ee

Support measure for vouchers

The target group of the support measure for innovation vouchers is small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and its purpose is to increase their activities relating to innovation and development while also promoting cooperation with SMEs and providers of relevant services. 
Budget of the measure: 10 million euros (European Regional Development Fund).
The current support measure for vouchers allows entrepreneurs in cooperation with a partner providing innovation or development services to: 
  • Seek solutions to development problems enterprises are facing
  • Develop and test innovative solutions
  • Build knowledge of new technologies
  • Study issues concerning intellectual property
Innovation and development services are provided, for example, by R&D institutions, institutions of professional higher education, calibration and testing laboratories, patent attorneys, engineering bureaus, and others.

The products, services or processes created or improved as a result of the cooperation help improve competitiveness of SMEs.
The measure is open for applications.



Paul Jaakson
Executive Officer of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6417
paul.jaakson [at] mkm.ee

Support measure for clusters

The aim of the support measure for cluster development is to increase international competitiveness of cluster partners through promoting common marketing and development activities in growth areas of smart specialization. 

Budget of the application rounds of the measure: 10 million euros (European Regional Development Fund).

Cluster as a cooperation platform allows to:
  • Promote innovation-related cooperation and interpenetration of various economic sectors.
  • Reinforce communication between the representatives of public sector, third sector and private sector, and thus build trust and create opportunities to carry out joint activities that are knowledge-intensive and targeted at high added value.
  • Concentrate knowledge, skill, capital, and human resources and bring together enterprises of various sizes, which is important for achieving economies of scale on an international level, to build a unified brand and find strong cooperation partners.

Target group of the measure:

  • Non-profit associations and foundations that bring together cluster partners and support cluster activities
  • Entrepreneurs who are ready and capable of implementing the activities of the cluster through mutual cooperation
  • Research institutes and institutions of higher education whose participation requires cooperation between entrepreneurs and research institutes

Activities that are supported:

  • Carrying out development activities of cluster to contribute directly or indirectly to the increasing of production effectiveness, development or improvement of products, services and processes, and thus achieving higher added value.
  • Carrying out joint marketing activities of cluster to make the cluster and its partners internationally more visible with a better position and support wider networking of the cluster and involvement of new partners.

Expected results:

  • Added value of cluster partners increases per employee.
  • Return on sales from new or significantly altered products and services of cluster partners increases.
  • The number of partners active in innovation-related cooperation in the cluster increases.
  • The number of entrepreneurs contributing to growth areas of smart specialization in the cluster increases.

The application round for 2016 has been closed. Funding decisions will be approved in the third quarter of this year.



Andres Kikas
Andres Kikas

Executive Officer of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6477
andres.kikas [at] mkm.ee

Measure of creative industries

The aim of the measures for developing creative industries is to increase the competitiveness of enterprises in this sector and export volumes, and connecting the potential of creative industries with the rest of the economy.

Budget of the measure: 20 million euros 
(European Regional Development Fund).

In implementation of the measure attention is paid to raising awareness, activities aimed at building knowledge and skills (incl. trainings) are carried out, incubation concerning creative sectors and sectoral development activities (e.g. product development, globalization, marketing) are supported, the capacity of regional and sectoral development centers of creative industries to provide services that help improve competitiveness of SMEs is increased. Although non-SMEs can also apply for support, only SMEs are the final target group and beneficiaries of this investment priority.

The last mapping of creative industries that was prepared in 2013 and showed the indicators for 2011-2012 succinctly pointed out the following as the bottlenecks of the sector:
  • Creative enterprises are smaller and their export capacity is low, i.e. low viability of enterprises and fragmentation of activities impedes development, investing and entering foreign markets.
  • There is little cooperation between entrepreneurs of creative and other sectors, i.e. other economic sectors do not see a competitive advantage in using creative solutions or an opportunity to make more profit.
  • The state has supported the creation of an appropriate environment and support structures for the development of creative industries but what is more important is that activities initiated outside would turn into the enterprises’ desire to cooperate. 
As a result of the implementation of the measure for creative industries, the economic indicators (incl. profit per employee and profit per enterprise) of entrepreneurs in creative sectors have turned positive compared to the average indicators in Estonia. 

From the second half of 2015 companies in the creative industry sector can use a new export grants measure for creative industries development. (Additional information on the web, see below)

As of 2016 companies of creative industry and other sectors can submit applications for implementing creative industries cooperation projects.

The first round of application has ended for the measure of supporting creative industries development centers.

The application round for "Developing creative industries' infrastructural and technological capacity" is now open.

The measure for cooperation projects for creative industries is also open for applications. The target groups for the measure are entrepreneurs who don't belong to creative industries sector but who involve creative industries in carrying out development projects. More information on Enterprise Estonia's web.



Anette Järvpõld
Executive Officer of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6399
anette.jarvpold [at] mkm.ee


Start-up grant

The purpose of the support is to help people with little experience in entrepreneurship to establish an enterprise that has high growth potential and capacity to internationalize.

Budget of the measure: 8.1 million euros 
(European Regional Development Fund).

New people who have no or little previous experience in entrepreneurship have become entrepreneurs. As a result of the granting of support and holding development consultations and providing guidance, enterprises have been established that are more ambitious and sustainable.

The measure is opened.



Anette Järvpõld
Anette Järvpõld

Executive Officer of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6399
anette.jarvpold [at] mkm.ee

Start-up Estonia

Start-up Estonia is a program for developing an ecosystem of start-ups aimed at increasing the potential for entrepreneurship in people so that start-ups would be established, and their team, product, customer and business model developed as a whole. The program contributes to developing a financing model for start-ups that would help them become successful.

Budget of the measure: 7 million euros 
(European Regional Development Fund).

The initial Start-up Estonia (SuE) program was launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in 2011. In 2011-2013 three business accelerators were financed through Enterprise Estonia, a startup conference was held, trips to Silicon Valley were organized and several mentors were brought to Estonia. From 2014 the program is being implemented by Estonian Development Fund who carries out a pilot project to implement the program for 2014-2020.  

In summer of 2015 the new "Start-up Estonia" program was confirmed which lasts until the end of 2023. The aim of the program is similar to the previous - improve the business environment for start-ups and increase the development of innovative products and services that have great export potential and high added-value.

Two types of activities are supported within the framework of the program:
  • Training and development programs introduced in pre-start-up stages:
    • Programs for developing start-up skills and knowledge
    • Programs for establishing start-ups and achieving investor readiness
  • Support of accelerators in start-up stages
The program took effect in July 2015 and has been implemented since autumn 2015.


Mikk Vainik
Expert of the Economic Development Department

Phone: +372 625 6392
mikk.vainik [at] mkm.ee

Program of awareness on entrepreneurship

The purpose of the support scheme of awareness on entrepreneurship is to raise awareness on entrepreneurship, foster the growth of entrepreneurship and develop the business environment.

Funding of this program - 
European Regional Development Fund.
Target group of the program: 
  • People who might be interested in entrepreneurship today or in the distant future and who wish to start a business
  • Entrepreneurs (incl. managers of enterprises, employees and owners)
  • Organizations related to entrepreneurship
  • Present and future investors
  • Other legal or natural persons who promote entrepreneurship and contribute to the development of entrepreneurship
The purpose of the support scheme is to raise awareness on entrepreneurship in the society as a whole and in specific target groups and allow established entrepreneurs to develop. Various support services are offered to acting and potential entrepreneurs within the framework of the support scheme. Financial support is not offered to the entrepreneurs within the framework of this support scheme.

The following activities are carried out within the framework of the program:
  • Advice and information is given in regional development centers
  • Trainings in various sectors essential to entrepreneurship, e.g. management, marketing, etc.
  • Events to raise awareness on entrepreneurship, e.g. entrepreneurship week and entrepreneurship days, entrepreneurship competition
  • Activities aimed at increasing export capacity of entrepreneurs, e.g. fair visits, export consultants and creation of a contact network in foreign markets
  • Activities aimed at building Estonia’s reputation
The conditions for the program have been implemented.


Anette Järvpõld
Anette Järvpõld

Executive Officer of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6399
anette.jarvpold [at] mkm.ee

State as a smart customer

In order to create a market for innovative products and services the state’s capacity and readiness to be a customer for innovative solutions has to be enhanced.

Budget of the measure: 20 million euros 
(European Regional Development Fund).

Traditional tendering procedures are not the best solution in a situation where the nature of the product or service to be procured is unknown to the customer and therefore it is wise for the state to initiate the organization of public procurements that support innovation.

Similarly to most European countries, supply-side initiatives have dominated in the Estonian innovation policy (grants, direct supports). In order to ensure a more comprehensive functioning of innovation policy it is necessary to introduce demand-side instruments of which one of the most common is using public procurements.

The purpose of demand-side instruments is to help eliminate systemic and market failures which means that the target group of the activities is public as well as private sector. It is intended to develop a package of activities that facilitates the use of public procurements to promote innovation. Activities include raising awareness among contracting authorities and tenderers, expert counseling, trainings, creation of sectoral networks and support for innovation procurement.

Since demand-side innovation policy resources have not been knowingly and systemically used in Estonia, a feasibility study was carried out for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in the first half of 2014, it analyzed the feasibility of this new policy initiative in smart specialization areas. To date, the application mechanism has been developed and is being implemented by Enterprise Estonia.

Within the measure, different forms of training, seminars and conferences are held and guides and other reference materials are put together. Public sector contractors can apply for innovation grants when the application round opens. The first round was closed in June 2016. The next round is scheduled of the spring of 2017.


Paul Jaakson
Executive Officer 
of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6417
paul.jaakson [at] mkm.ee

Introducing space technologies

Space is a rapidly developing sector in the world that offers countless opportunities to scientists, entrepreneurs and public sector in the development of its services. The applications of space technologies - satellite remote sensing and satellite navigation - on earth significantly affect our daily life. For example, when we use the city’s transportation system, listen to the weather forecast, watch TV or analyze our jogging workout on a computer screen. 

Dealing with space technologies allows Estonian enterprises to participate in high-tech development work and thus not merely be a user of technology and services but also their developer and exporter in the future. Ground-based applications of space technologies help to improve the quality of services and cost-effectiveness of public sector and make our country more innovative.

Developing the scientific competence of space sector and capacity of enterprises in Estonia creates several opportunities for participating in the EU space programs (Copernicus, Galileo) and thus contribute to the Estonian economy.

Estonia began cooperating with the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2007. On 27 September 2010 Estonia entered into a five-year European Cooperating State agreement with ESA (PECS agreement) and joined the PECS program. Thanks to the 24 projects funded from the program, Estonian enterprises and research institutes had a great opportunity to demonstrate their potential, ability and interest in participating in high-tech development work in the space sector.

Due to the success of the ESA projects, in 2014 a proposition was made to Estonia to become a full member of the agency. By now, accession negotiations are successfully completed and on 4 February 2015 an accession agreement was signed and once this will be ratified Estonia will become the 21st member of ESA. Becoming a full member of ESA gives Estonia as a small country a great opportunity to realize its space-related ambitions and to open important doors in the space sector.

The duties of the Estonian Space Office are fulfilled by Enterprise Estonia.



Paul Liias
Expert of the Economic Development Department

Phone: +372 625 6341
paul.liias [at] mkm.ee

Attracting foreign specialists

Work in Estonia - the objective of the action plan for attracting foreign specialists to Estonia 2015-2016 is to make Estonian society and economy more international, thus increasing its competitiveness. The action plan offers solutions on how to attract foreign talents and Estonian citizens living abroad to Estonia and help them to find jobs here.

Foreign specialists in this context are highly qualified specialists who have skills, knowledge, competence and contacts and who arrive from abroad, whose immigration is governed by the Aliens Act or the European Union framework of free movement of workers, and/or citizens permanently living outside of Estonia.
One of the growing problems regarding development and growth of Estonian enterprises is the increasing lack of qualified specialists and skilled workers. According to entrepreneurs the availability of qualified work force is currently quite small.

Based on the labor demand forecast up to 2022, about 22 500 top specialists are needed in Estonia within 10 years. Most of the top specialists will be provided by the national workforce but when taking account of economic developments it is necessary to involve foreign top specialists to ensure a competitive economy.

The following activities are carried out within the framework of the action plan:

  • Contributing to building the image of Estonia abroad, introducing Estonia as a target country with a flexible and entrepreneur-friendly economic environment, brilliant scientists and numerous career possibilities.
  • Assisting in making it easier to find and hire foreign specialists, simplifying immigration and realizing the potential of entrepreneurs and workforce.
  • Assisting in making Estonia a target country for foreign specialists where flexible services are offered to them and their family members that support their adaptation.
  • Supporting foreign specialists and the creation of networks of actors that come into contact with them, as well as cooperation between them.
Target groups of the action plan:
  • Entrepreneurs as current or potential recruiters of foreign specialists and other employers (including third sector organizations, research and development institutes and institutions of higher education)
  • Organizations of public (both state and local government level), private and third sector providing services to foreign specialists (for example, private companies providing services in the market or consultation points operating with the support of public sector)
  • Foreign students studying in Estonia
  • Estonian specialists living outside of Estonia
  • Foreign specialists, including foreign scientists, who have competencies, which the local labor market is lacking
Expected results:
  • Estonia’s position in the sub-category of Talent Attraction and Retention in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index will increase.
  • The assessment of entrepreneurs with respect to the availability of work force will improve.
  • More living permits will be issued for the purpose of employment.
  • The number of foreign students who enter the Estonian labor market after graduating will increase.
  • Satisfaction with public services will grow among foreigners. 
A wide-ranging work group of representatives of entrepreneurs, ministries, universities and support structures participated in the preparation of the action plan for attracting foreign specialists. The action plan for attracting foreign specialists is an action plan based on the “Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020” contributing to achieving the objectives of the Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy and thus to achieving the comprehensive goals of “Estonia 2020”. 

For monitoring the implementation of the action plan, a steering group has been approved by the minister of entrepreneurship. The steering group will meet in the first half of February 2016.

In addition to monitoring the implementation of the action plan, the Ministry of Econimic Affairs and Communications actively participates in the third stage of the change process of Aliens Act and cooperates with various business organizations to raise awareness of tolerance in the business community.



Piret Potisepp
of the Economic Development Department
Phone: +372 625 6338
piret.potisepp [at] mkm.ee


The main objective of services offered in the export sector and activities carried out by Enterprise Estonia is to support the growth of export capacity of Estonian exporters through developing competences of the entrepreneurs, raising awareness and expanding international contact base.

In order to carry out the activities aimed at promoting export, 19.5 million euros have been allocated to Enterprise Estonia until 2020 (European Regional Development Fund).

Opportunities offered to entrepreneurs:

  • Export advisors for the markets of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Great-Britain, Germany, France, Netherlands and China, and in 2015 one more export advisor started working in South-Germany
    • Preliminary advice to enter foreign markets and service for finding an export partner (for a fee)
  • National joint displays in international fairs
  • Associated consultants
    • Services will be provided in six markets where there are no export advisors (the service is being developed)
  • Sector-based contact trips for entrepreneurs
  • Export bulldozers for target markets
  • Introducing Estonian entrepreneurs to purchase managers of foreign enterprises
  • Introducing Estonia to target groups: fairs, contact events, business visits
  • Service for finding contacts
  • Consulting services and trainings, including:
    • Seminars about target markets
    • Trainings on how to prepare an export plan
    • Sector-based trainings
    • Making it possible for Estonian entrepreneurs to attract international competence
    • Internship opportunities for Estonian entrepreneurs in foreign enterprises (the service is being developed)
Expected results:

The services provided and activities carried out by Enterprise Estonia support the achievement of objectives set in the Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy (2014-2020) and Estonian foreign investments and export action plan Made in Estonia 3.0, including:
  • Increased number of exporters within all target countries by 12% a year
  • Export turnover within all target countries at least by 10% a year


Andres Kikas
Andres Kikas

Executive Officer of the Economic Development Department
Tel: +372 625 6477
andres.kikas [at] mkm.ee

Foreign investments into Estonia

In the coming years, three main directions are followed when attracting foreign investments to Estonia: movement towards attracting into the country foreign investments that offer higher added value, establishment of contacts and development of the image and environment of Estonia (incl. introducing Estonia as an attractive country for “smart workforce” in neighboring countries).

Funding of this measure - European Regional Development Fund.

Companies with foreign shareholding, wherein the shareholding of a foreign investor exceeds one tenth, provide 60% of total export, 36% of employment, 35% of expenses of research and development institutions, 45% of added value to the economy and 28% of higher productivity (based on added value). Hence, direct foreign investments are the basis and catalyst for an economy providing higher added value.

The following objectives have been set to attract foreign investments to Estonia: 
  1. Annual investment volume produced by the internationalizing division of Enterprise Estonia is 70 million euros
  2. 30 investments per year which should distribute by country as follows:
    1. 40% neighboring countries
    2. 43% Hanseatic road
    3. 17% faraway markets
  3. 50% of projects in growth areas
  4. Added value per worker greater than the Estonian average (2013 ~ 20,000 euros)
  5. Increase foreign investments from countries of the Hanseatic Road. Ratio vs Finnish/Swedish investments.
The following customers are focused on:
  1. Units of large international groups (turnover exceeding 100 million euros, economic activity in at least three countries) with high added value
  2. Research and development units of major international companies operating in growth areas
  3. Datacenters
  4. Connecting international venture capital and start-ups, bringing the headquarters of start-ups to Estonia
Innovations include, amongst others:
  1. Developing a common message and value offers within the framework of growth areas regarding preferred investments, and the means intended to support the receipt of foreign investments with “smart jobs”
  2. Developing support packages for inter-group mobility and training of executive and developmental employees of large companies
  3. After-sale service – strengthening cooperation with foreign investors already operating in Estonia (mainly executed with the help of a national after-sale service team and regional representatives)
  4. Tighter cooperation with subsidiaries of foreign groups already operating in Estonia for moving the activities of their local units up the value chain
  5. Making the foreign communication and investment sales network more efficient by improving communication between authorities and with entrepreneurs
  6. Developing an Estonian success story and sales arguments (Demokeskus, Mektory) 

Activities to attract foreign investments to Estonia constitute a part of the export and foreign investments action plan 2014-2017 "Made in Estonia 3.0".

Enterprise Estonia has opened a support measure for R&D centres and support services. The target group is an entrepreneur who has been registered in Estonia and belongs to an international group, and who also provides support services or serves the function of development activity in the group. More information found here.



Piret Potisepp
of the Economic Development Department
Tel: +372 625 6338
piret.potisepp [at] mkm.ee

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a manner of running a company wherein all members of the company, including the owners and employees, voluntarily assume responsibility for the societal, environmental and economic consequences as well as sustainability of their decisions and actions. In other words, it’s a natural and voluntary integration of the economic, environmental and social aspects of a company in the everyday activities, management and business strategies of the company.

The results of the application of corporate social responsibility include very specific benefits for the undertaking and thereby to the state as a whole:

  • Increased competitiveness
  • Improved reputation, incl. among foreign partners
  • Expansion of export opportunities
  • Increased employee satisfaction and decreased staff turnover
  • Financial gain via smarter planning.

Following the principles of corporate social responsibility is an effective tool for the company for long-term improvement of economic results, being a reliable partner on foreign markets, caring for the surrounding environment and being an attractive employer in the current light of high labour shortage. The MKM sees corporate social responsibility as a crucial part of the overall business culture.

The Ministry has assumed the objective of promoting the importance of this topic and the distribution of the principles of corporate social responsibility in the society via good examples, in order to increase the responsibility and sustainability of the business environment.

On the 3rd of April 2019, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist and corporate representatives involving 24 countries signed an agreement to follow the principles of corporate social responsibility, in order to promote the importance of those principles by showing an example. This is a voluntary agreement, with which state owned companies show their efforts and desire to use the principles of corporate social responsibility and set a good example to the entire Estonian business environment.

A strong partner for the Ministry in implementing the principles of corporate social responsibility is the Responsible Business Forum (VEF, www.crs.ee) founded in 2005, which brings together companies practicing corporate social responsibility. The VEF helps define the co-responsibility of business activities in the society and promote the mindset that business should be responsible as well as profitable, in order to ensure the companies, as well as the business environment at large becoming more responsible and sustainable. The VEF hosts the Corporate Social Responsibility Gala every year, where CSR quality labels are handed out to the best (gold, silver and bronze labels). A photo of the President could go here as well. Other outstanding partners of the Ministry in addition to the VEF in spearheading the topic are the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Estonian Business School.

OECD guidelines for following the principles of corporate social responsibility. OECD as an international organisation has been utilising guidelines for international undertakings for the past 40 years, aiming to ensure the responsible operating of undertakings in the target country and the compliance of activities with policies of the government of the target country. These guidelines have been established with the OECD Declaration and Decisions on International Investments and Multinational Enterprises, which is mandatory for all OECD member states and states which have subscribed to the declaration.

National Contact Points (NCP) have been created in each member state in order to follow the OECD guidelines. In Estonia, the contact point is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Each NCP has developed a domestic work procedure for handling complaints according to the OECD guidelines intended for international undertakings. The domestic work procedure determines how the failure to follow the guidelines is reported, various parties are involved and solutions to cases are found, and how the solution reached to between parties is communicated. The objective of the activities of the NCP is finding a solution to the situation and preventing similar cases in the future. Here, it is very important to mention that a National Contact Point serves a significant role, because the solution process of specific cases is a unique extrajudicial practice in the world where excellent solutions have been reached.

The Estonian work procedure for handling complaints was approved on the 22nd of November 2018 by Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist. The domestic work procedure is available here.

Complaints are submitted via e-mail. In order to submit a complaint, fill this form and send it to the e-mail address: ncp.estonia [at] mkm.ee.



ncp.estonia [at] mkm.ee




Last updated: 29 May 2020