Estonian women establish start-ups in the health sector most


In Estonia, there are 246 start-ups founded by women or with at least one female founder. The share of female start-up founders is the highest among founders of start-ups in the health (30%) and education technology (24%) sector.

Startup Estonia
Startup Estonia

The third most popular sector is communication services, where 21% of founders are women.

‘The share of female founders of start-ups in Estonia remains at 16%, which is similar to the rest of Europe. At the same time, both in Estonia and elsewhere in the world, women’s potential is still largely underutilised in the technology sector, which is why one of the focuses of both the start-up community and the organisations supporting the development of the local start-up sector is to increase women’s entrepreneurship and raise a new generation of women entrepreneurs in Estonia,’ said Eve Peeterson, CEO of Startup Estonia.

According to the Business Register, the average age of start-up founders in Estonia is 36.7 years old. ‘The proportions of founders by age remain more or less the same, but this year, we have seen a slight decrease in the share of women under 20 among start-up founders,’ Peeterson added.

Half, or 51%, of start-up founders in Estonia are aged 31 to 40, with 17% of them women. The highest proportion of female founders is in the 51 to 60 age group, where women account for 19%.

According to Startup Estonia and Statistics Estonia, 37% of all employees in Estonian start-ups are women, so it is still a male-dominated field. A total of 4,101 women worked at least one day in Estonian start-ups last year.  

The highest proportion of women work in a variety of top-level specialist positions, where women make up 39%. Women are most represented in top-level specialist positions in business and administration, where women account for 20%. According to Statistics Estonia, the average gross salary of top-level specialists reached EUR 3,137 last year. 9% of women employed in the start-up sector are in managerial positions, but the share of men is still higher in this regard, at 14%. The average gross salary for men and women in managerial positions in Estonian start-ups last year was EUR 3,721.

Startup Estonia connects and supports Estonian start-ups. Startup Estonia collects data in cooperation with start-ups and the published statistics are based on data from start-ups, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, and Statistics Estonia. Startup Estonia is a national programme to develop Estonia’s start-up ecosystem, boosting the emergence of start-ups and international success stories. The programme of Startup Estonia is carried out by the KredEx and Enterprise Estonia joint organisation. Startup Estonia’s research accelerator activities are carried out by SmartCap.

The Startup Estonia programme (project number EU50651) is financed using funds from the European Regional Development Fund.