Estonia’s journey to becoming the world’s most digitally enabled nation began 25 years 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.
In Estonia, IT is taught from primary school onwards and the country ranks in TOP10 globally for teaching maths and IT. Numerous universities and vocational education centers collaborate with industry on knowledge and technology transfer, ensuring the workforce possesses professional knowledge and practical experience.
Estonia ranks #1 in Europe for startups per capita and has produced 10 unicorns. Round 20 incubators and accelerators provide validation, mentoring, risk capital, and global commercialization 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. A global organization like Kuehne+Nagel trusts 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 that is free of red tape, promoting accelerated innovation and launches. Government policy is highly supportive and has led to Telia trialing 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 makes it the ideal location for globally scalable IT R&D.
Regularly ranked a world leader for IT skills, infrastructure, and environment, it is not a 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 people 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.
Today Estonia is recognised as an R&D hotbed, with 7 universities, round 20 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.
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 that 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. 98% 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 an 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.
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.
Estonia is a cashless society with over 99% of financial transactions occurring digitally. Electronic ID and Blockchain are widely used in FinTech applications. 80+ FinTechs ranging from innovative startups such as Wise to Blockchain leader Guardtime make Estonia a global centre of excellence for FinTech.
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 like Wise and Bolt.
Estonia has a sizeable food industry which benefits from ecological raw materials, skilled workers and modern production facilities. With an established export capability and growing application of food science and technology, Estonia is the ideal location for export and R&D oriented investment.
Estonia is not only a pioneering digital society, which has found convincing answers to the challenges of digitalization, but it also is a very green country. There is a strong societal and political will to utilize the capabilities and ecosystems. These have been developed to tackle the challenges of decarbonization of the economy and to become once again a leading player – in CleanTech and GreenTech.
Defence systems have always been a focal point for Estonia. The country has built very capable defence army consisting of a professional army, reserve forces, and national defence league, complimented by NATO allied forces. Over the years technology entrepreneurs and engineers have teamed up with the army to develop world-class solutions for the global defence industry. When we mean defence, we mean business.
Metaverse is the parallel universe or a unified universal virtual world, facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets. In addition to the fact that existing products and services can be transferred to the Metaverse, it achieves a completely new economic environment and opportunities to create and market products and services that are unique to the Metaverse. Simply said, Metaverse has no limits in Estonia.
Estonia developed X-Road, its proprietary decentralised, distributed system in 2001 and has utilised Blockchain since 2008. World-class technical skills supported by practical experience implementing public and permissioned Blockchain’s place Estonia at the forefront of the emerging Blockchain economy.
Patient records in Estonia are digitised and secured by the Blockchain, providing a single immutable data source for healthcare professionals. With a unique digital platform and collaborative ecosystem, Estonia is positioned to lead on preventative medicine, patient self-treatment and industry efficiency.
Estonia has a diversified energy sector which comprises long-standing expertise in oil shale, a sizeable renewables sector and growing CleanTech capability. World-class expertise within a highly digital, pro-business environment will see Estonia play a leading role in the energy revolution
Estonia has one of Europe’s largest bioeconomies, including world leading expertise in forest-based activity. Supported by high-quality natural resources, ultra-high use of IT and supportive policy making, Estonia offers a range of production and innovation opportunities.
Estonia’s marine sector specialises in the design and build of small and medium-sized commercial and leisure vessels. Centuries long expertise, cutting-edge application of IT and a flexible approach make Estonia a competitive location for innovation and export-oriented production.
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? Who to partner up with?
The Estonian Investment Agency’s team is happy to help you via its complimentary e-Consulting service, organize online or offline follow-up events such as virtual investment visits and guide you through the fairly simple process of investing in Estonia.