Ajujaht (Brain Hunt) launches the 15th anniversary season - applications open until 8 May
Estonia's largest start-up accelerator programme, Ajujaht, starts its 15th anniversary season. Teams are invited to apply for the Ajujaht programme until 8 May. The programme, which will run until the end of the year and was launched by a joint agency of EAS (Enterprise Estonia) and KredEx, builds on long-term experience and is specifically designed to support the rapid growth of start-up companies. More than € 300,000 in grants and investments is waiting for participants this year.
According to Eve Peeterson, Head of Startup Estonia, the role of start-ups in the Estonian economy cannot be underestimated, as already today start-ups pay about € 125 million in labour taxes to Estonia per year, create knowledge and attract foreign talent. Many of today's success stories started with Ajujaht.
“Considering Estonia's small population, the number of Estonian start-ups and unicorns sprouting from them is an important indicator that we have ideas and a strong ecosystem and network of support organisations to support start-ups. The goal of Ajujaht is nothing less than to change the world, and the anniversary programme is designed to create the next international success stories,” explained Peeterson.
She added that the 15th anniversary season of Ajujaht will be special in many ways, and will also be significantly new compared to previous years. Outstanding business ideas will continue to be sought, but this year's call is particularly open to existing teams and companies that need an additional boost to take their start-ups to the next level.
The start of the season will see the start-ups selected for the competition go through a full accelerator programme, with the ultimate goal of helping companies to investor readiness and scalable business. Among other things, support is provided for finding the first customers, entering export markets and raising capital.
This year, Ajujaht will involve a record number of key mentors who will give practical advice to teams throughout the programme.
According to Andra Altoa, SEB Baltic Strategy Manager, all of Estonia's unicorns today have started with small steps and a motivated team that really wants to make a difference. So it's worth coming to Ajujaht for anyone with vision and drive.
“The aim of this year's Ajujaht is to provide participants with the most impactful programme possible and help as many start-ups to become investor-ready as possible. Although only one team will win the TV show, all the participants in the show will benefit from high-level expertise and a strong business network both in Estonia and abroad,” Altoa added.
In line with the anniversary season, this year's Ajujaht prize has a prize fund of more than € 300,000, and the programme's sponsors are also offering a number of special thematic prizes. You can apply for Ajujaht until 8 May on the Ajujaht website. The exciting programme and the development of the teams will be broadcast in 8 episodes on the ETV channel from October to December.
The Ajujaht accelerator programme and TV competition are born through public-private cooperation and its initiator is the joint agency of Enterprise Estonia and KredEx. Over the years, nearly 5,000 business ideas have been submitted to Ajujaht, and the national agency's programme has given wind to the sails of many local and international success stories. Some of the best known alumni include, for example, Bolt, Bikeep, Click & Grow, GoWorkaBit, FoodDocs, Groveneer, Timbeter and many more.