Startup Estonia continues its operations at KredEx


Starting from 1 July, Startup Estonia, the support unit of Estonian start-ups — which had previously functioned under Arengufond — will continue its operations at KredEx. The aim of the merger is to improve the support offered to enterprises and to facilitate funding options in all stages of growth.

This is one part of a larger process resulting in the consolidation of the operations of Startup Estonia and SmartCap under KredEx. While the official merger will take place on 1 July, active cooperation is already taking place. For example, a joint procurement for accelerators was recently announced to purchase accelerator services and invest in two venture capital funds.

According to Lehar Kütt, the consolidation of the operations of KredEx, Startup Estonia and SmartCap is a natural development, as all these initiatives serve the same purpose. “It is important to create a favourable environment for the faster development of new businesses and improve the funding options available to entrepreneurs in all stages of growth. In the case of companies in the early stages of growth, the knowledge and contacts offered by the investors for the development of the enterprise holds at least as much value as funds. Until now, this role has been successfully fulfilled by SmartCap, but the opportunities available to entrepreneurs are about to widen thanks to the new accelerators and cooperation programmes as well as the sub-funds created in the framework of EstFund.

The first half-year has been a preparatory period for the team of Startup Estonia—several public procurements have been announced to involve new cooperation partners. Together with the start-up community and the Ministry of the Interior, a start-up visa solution has been devised to bring foreign talent to Estonia; the technology conference Latitude59 has been organised; and in the summer period, the focus will be on work for the ClimateLaunchpad programme for green technology start-ups.

“The Startup Estonia team has a great opportunity to learn from the experience of KredEx, traditional economy companies, and to bring this world closer to the domain of start-ups,” said team leader Mari Vavulski. “The start-up ecosystem is open to all, and we give our best to ensure that joining KredEx would bring many new and fascinating parties to the world of technology.”

In the second half of the year a programme targeted towards start-ups, for developing sales skills, will be launched, and a partner for the cooperation programme between businesses and start-ups and counselling for the founders of start-ups will be found. Also, the final round of the European green technology idea competition will be brought to Estonia, along with promoting Estonian start-ups at conferences abroad. By autumn, the partners will be selected with whom negotiations will begin to create new accelerators.

According to Kütt, KredEx definitely has a lot to learn from the experience of Startup Estonia in the development of the local start-up ecosystem, enabling even greater involvement with this important target group. “From our side, we have solid financial competence and, through the funds, venture capital to offer to the start-up community,” he reasoned.

SUE stands for maintaining Estonia’s position as a known and attractive destination among the start-up entrepreneurs in Europe, and that by 2020 it would become one of the leading centres for start-up businesses in Europe

According to the Startup Compass survey, Estonia had 500–700 start-ups in different development stages as at the end of 2015. Altogether, the Estonian start-ups provide nearly 2300 jobs, more than 80% of which are in Estonia. In 2015, the start-ups paid over EUR 20 million to the state budget in taxes on labour.