After 6 months, 400,000 visitors, 80 high-level delegations, 24,600 burgers sold in its Taste Estonia restaurant, Estonian Pavilion at Dubai Expo has closed its doors knowing that Estonia is now better known, its businesses have new contracts in their pockets and new cooperation deals are on the way.
“Already in the first three months, a large number of UAE government ministers visited the Pavilion. The Ruler of Dubai did not visit all the 192 pavilions, but he did visit us twice,” Daniel Schaer, Commissioner General of the Estonian Pavilion emphasised. In addition to President of Estonia Alar Karis and former President Kersti Kaljulaid, heads of state from Poland, Finland, Latvia, Guatemala, Suriname, Botswana, Belgium, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, and elsewhere visited the pavilion.
Estonia – the gateway to Europe
“If you look at Estonia, look at Europe, then you can see the scale: together with the rest of the EU and the UK, we make half a billion people,” Minister Andres Sutt told at his reception in honor of the opening of Expo 2020 Estonian Pavilion in Dubai, encouraging companies to use Estonia as a bridgehead to enter Europe.
Entering Europe through Estonia has been made easy for foreign businesses. It takes only 3 hours to start a company in Estonia fully online and from almost anywhere in the world. 98% of companies are established online in Estonia, and its e-Residency program offers the freedom to easily start and run location-independent businesses online.
Ahmad Belhoul, UAE’s Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SME’s, noted in his speech at the UAE-Estonia Business Forum held on September 13, 2022 in Dubai, that the UAE and Estonia have a lot of commonalities such as sharing the digital vision: “Our countries do believe that digital economy is the way forward.”
Success for Estonian companies
As a result of participating at the Expo 2020 Dubai, Estonian companies have already announced a number of success stories.
For example, the robot-bartender YANUhas signed three preliminary contracts and is in negotiations with four MENA corporations for sales rights and the company has received 10 interested buyers for its product from the UAE.
Ventilation equipment manufacturer ETS NORD found a local partner in the UAE, obtained four restaurant ventilation reference objects and started to build a local factory.
Adamlights, the author of the exhibition’s lighting solution, starts business in Dubai and establishes a UAE company. Adamlights has found new contacts with specialists, having experience in their specific field, as well as a number of potential clients.
Nortal, the digital transformation powerhouse, has made many contacts with potential customers in the MEA region and has significantly strengthened Nortal’s reputation and brand in the GCC market.
Silen, a manufacturer of private silent pods, has signed a cooperation agreement with the local UAE distributor ARKI Group, and the first products have already been installed in the offices of its customers there.
Click & Grow’s smart small garden products were already on sale locally in the UAE before the EXPO, and the Expo has been instrumental in raising awareness.
Antegenesis‘ innovative genetic testing and personalised cancer prevention programmes attracted a lot of interest from the UAE National Genome Programme. Antegenes will continue discussions with the UAE government authorities and partners for the co-development of a personalised breast cancer prevention programme in the UAE, similar to Antegenes’ activities in Europe.
During Expo Dubai 2020, interest in doing business and investing in Estonia has grown significantly, as experienced by Invest Estonia‘s investment advisors, having advised dozens of businesses in the United Arab Emirates and other countries of the region.
Estonia – the unicorn factory
As Estonia has the most unicorns per capita in Europe, and the UAE has produced the top unicorns of its region, both Estonia and the UAE being the leading hubs for startups in their areas.
Estonians have adapted an attitude to think globally from day one. And that is what makes Estonian startups unique and successful in the world. Estonia has 10 unicorns founded by Estonians or in Estonia: Skype in 2005, Playtech in 2007, Wise in 2015, Bolt in 2018, Pipedrive in 2020, Zego, ID.me and Gelato in 2021, Veriff and Glia in 2022. During the last 10 years, startup investments in Estonia have increased 100 times.
Estonia’s startup sector continues to grow rapidly. According to the Estonian Founders Society‘s vision, by 2030, 30% of Estonian GDP will come from tech sector export.
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