Earlier this spring, Enterprise Estonia held an online seminar to turn the spotlight on the opportunities and achievements resulting from the cooperation between Estonia and Japan. Here are some of the key messages mentioned during the event.
The perks of a favourable business environment
In the words of Estonia’s Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Andres Sutt, the soil for fruitful cooperation lies in the work ethic and values the two countries share. “In terms of our business culture, Estonians and Japanese have many similarities. We are both prepared to work hard, value accuracy, detail and deadlines, as well as keeping one’s promises,” he explains.
And what better place to concentrate on work and ideas that matter, than a country with one of the world’s healthiest market conditions? “According to the OECD, Estonia ranks number one for a business-friendly environment, trusted jurisdiction, ease of doing business and tax competitiveness,” Sutt proudly notes.
Japanese innovation relying on Estonian solutions
Estonia’s reputation as a digital country in Japan first broke out thanks to the achievements in e-governance. The cornerstones that make over 99% of our public services available online are digital identity, interoperability, security and confidentiality. And on the basis of this momentum, Japanese companies and investors have started cooperating with Estonian companies to take this innovation to Japan.
Cybernetica, R&D firm among the main architects of our digital ecosystem, has been working in Japan for over 6 years now by developing core e-governance technology. With Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Fujisoft, and NTT Data Corporation, the company is developing different use cases for its UXP platform, ensuring secure data exchange across databases and information systems. Ensuring identity verification through digital tools is also in focus, working with ELTES in the field of ticketing, in pursuit of better customer registration practices against fraud.
PlanetWay, Estonian-Japanese tech startup, has also relied on the Estonian experience with the X-Road interoperability platform – originally developed also by Cybernetica. With energy operator Nichigas, they have created a proprietary data exchange layer to improve processing time of customer requests.
Strong value proposition fuel investment in scalable businesses
In parallel with B2B cooperation on specific projects, key actors from the Japanese investment industry too have started looking into Estonia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for virtuous projects to support.
Andrus Oks, Founding Partner of VC fund Tera Ventures, is one of the makers working to boost relations between Estonian and Japanese funds, as well as their joint commitment in setting a global stage for innovative tech companies and startups.
“In Tokyo I have built a proper network, and I intend to continue doing so in the future. From the Tera Ventures perspective, our pride lies in helping our portfolio companies fundraise from top international investors. Japanese funds are certainly among these, notably listing ITOCHU, Mistletoe, NordicNinja, Global Brain, Rakuten, and NTT Docomo,” Oks explains.
Estonian companies that have managed to bag investments from Japan include Monese in fintech, Cleveron in last-mile delivery automation, Realeyes and Lingvist in AI and machine learning. Jobbatical, Scoro, Snackable and Brainbase complete the sheet, all with high potential for scalability thanks to such investments and the scalability of their value proposition.
Hirai: “1+1 = 3, or even more”
In celebrating the orderly design and deployment of Estonia’s digital solutions, Takuya Hirai, Minister for Digital Transformation in Japan, highlights the need for “building up a digital cooperation where 1+1 equals 3, 4, 5, or more.”
Tightening business and institutional relations between countries are, notably, one of the preconditions for further economic prosperity and the main question is how many possibilities emerge from constantly enriching relations. Where innovation powers entrepreneurship, scalability is the point that makes companies and investors come together in vibrant, global markets.
If you are considering Estonia as a business or an investment destination, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Just book an e-consulting with one of our advisors here and get started!
The event was funded by the European Regional Development Fund.