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IT R&D / software / hardware

Estonia is the world’s most digitally enabled nation, offering a unique combination of talent, environment and innovation. Our IT R&D ecosystem enjoys global proof of concept, being trusted by global organisations such as Kuehne+Nagel and NATO and producing unicorn startups Transferwise and Bolt.

  • #1 globally for cyber security, e-ID and e-government
  • 4 unicorns born in Estonia
  • 128 countries using Estonian IT
  • #1 in Europe for Entrepreneurial Employee Activity and Competitiveness

Our advantages

4unicorns born in Estonia
SkillsTalent pool with world-class IT education, skills and experience.
AgileAgile mindset and work methodologies.
Unique systemsUnique global proof of concept in software and systems.
Digital environmentCompact, digital environment well suited to accelerated R&D and launches.
Track recordSolid track record of successful innovations and investments.

Overview

#3in Europe in share of ICT specialists among people employed

Estonia’s journey to becoming the world’s most digitally enabled nation began 25yrs ago when visionaries committed to IT as a country strategy. Today, Estonia is a recognised leader in digital identity, cyber security and Blockchain and has produced numerous innovations in consumer, enterprise and government sectors.

IT is taught from primary school onwards in Estonia and the country ranks in the top 10 globally for the teaching of maths and IT. Numerous universities and vocational education centres collaborate with industry on knowledge and technology transfer, ensuring the workforce possess professional knowledge and practical experience.

Estonia ranks #3 in Europe for startups per capita and has produced four unicorns. Fourteen incubators and accelerators provide validation, mentoring, risk capital and global commercialisation services for sectors including CleanTech, Gaming and Industry. Government initiative Startup Estonia promotes early stage competitiveness and global integration.

Corporate R&D is significant in Estonia. Global organisations such as Kuehne+Nagel trust Estonia to conceive, develop and launch new logistics solutions. NATO conducts cutting-edge cyber security R&D in Estonia and NASDAQ has conducted successful Blockchain trials. Competence centers STACC, ELIKO and IMECC provide facilities and expertise to conduct applied R&D in AI, Big Data and more.

Estonia’s IT R&D ecosystem is enabled by modern digital infrastructure and a pro-business environment which is free of red tape, promoting accelerated innovation and launches. Government policy is highly supportive and has led to Telia trialling 5G in Estonia and Google’s use of new location technologies to improve emergency services.

As digitalisation transforms life, business and government, Estonia’s combination of skills, experience and environment make it the ideal location for globally scalable IT R&D.

Software development

7.4%of GDP from ICT sector

Regularly ranked a world leader for IT skills, infrastructure and environment, it is little surprise that Estonia is a global hub for software development.

Our sector is vibrant, spanning startups to multinationals across segments such as gaming, fintech, e-commerce, cleantech, enterprise and e-government.

Thanks to a 25-year government commitment to the IT sector and tailored programs for talent mobility and skills development, Estonia possesses a skilled, multi-lingual workforce of over 20,000 with expertise in all key computer languages, UX, data analytics and cyber security.

Foreign investors such as Microsoft, CGI, Fujitsu, Kuehne+Nagel and Arvato have successful long-term operations in Estonia thanks to their ability to serve global clients with high-quality, innovative solutions.

Homegrown talents such as Fortumo, Playtech, GrabCAD, Pipedrive and Transferwise have gone global from an Estonian base, attracting venture capital and awards in the process.

Today Estonia is recognised as an R&D hotbed, with eight universities, fourteen accelerators, numerous events and a tech savvy government collaborating with industry and investors. Our competitive economy and unique digital environment provide an ideal launchpad for accelerated R&D and global scaling.

Whether you seek sustainable ROI or new intellectual property creation, Estonia has the skills and track record to deliver.

Complex systems

300M+queries via X-Road annually

Estonia has highly skilled architects who are experienced in creating complex, reliable, cross-border systems.

Estonia’s early expertise stems from e-government solutions. X-Road is our system of public and private sector databases which function in harmony to support e-services. Outgoing data is digitally signed and encrypted while incoming data is authenticated and logged. New services and databases are easily added. Reliable, secure and scalable, X-Road has been adopted by countries as diverse as Finland and Namibia, and ensures Estonia has world class skills in decentralised databases and connected networks for the Blockchain and IOT era.

Estonia’s e-Tax system provides automatic calculations, one click returns and real-time data. 95% of all tax declarations in Estonia are filed electronically, taking just minutes for users and providing efficiency to the state. As a result of this innovation Estonia has the most competitive tax code in the OECD.

Estonia is also expert at managing and protecting high-tech systems, being home to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCD COE) and the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems (EU LISA). The latter supports high volume, cross-border flows of data in real-time in the areas of freedom, security and justice.

Nor is Estonia’s expertise limited to government solutions. Guardtime, the world’s largest Blockchain company, trusts Estonia to provide their cryptographers, developers and security architects. Estonian banking and fintech systems are adopted globally. Global telecoms giants Ericsson and Telia research and develop new systems in Estonia.

As the global IT architecture transforms towards blockchain, platforms and cloud, Estonian expertise in developing, managing and protecting high-tech systems makes it the trusted investment location.

IT R&D / software / hardware

These websites can be useful when interested in IT R&D in Estonia:

You are also welcome to send us a request for personal e-consulting to obtain more specific information.

Business opportunities

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Need more information?

What is it like to run a business in Estonia? How to benefit from the e-solutions and the efficiency of our business culture? What are the opportunities in specific sectors?

The Business in Estonia section helps you prepare for doing business in Estonia. And if you have any further questions, do not hesitate to use our complimentary e-consulting service.

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