How to gain support for your business in Estonia

Estonia loves ambitious entrepreneurs, which is why there is a multitude of opportunities and resources available offering support for businesses in Estonia. The range of support is also diverse. Regardless of whether you are an early-stage startup looking to expand to new markets, modify your product or strengthen your professional network, you will find a match for your needs in this comprehensive list of resourceful bodies. E-resident companies are Estonian companies, so they are eligible to apply for all the programs set out in this article.

Grants

Grants are a great opportunity to not only receive funding but also an opportunity to participate in extensive mentoring and networking sessions through people who believe in you and your business idea.

  • Estonian Business and Innovation Agency offers grants to startups as well as practical training and workshops facilitated by experts in the field. Their grants are divided into various difficulty levels and target areas, offering attractive funding opportunities for enterprises at any stage.
  • Prototron funds innovative business ideas in the green and cleantech sector with packages up to €35,000 in equity-free funding. In addition, the company also receives expert mentoring and the opportunity to participate in Prototron’s incubation program. It’s a great way to kick off your successful business journey.
  • Tootearenduse toetus is a grant developed to encourage businesses to invest more in development, resulting in new competitive products and services and increased international sales. You can receive up to €500,000 to cover staff costs and purchase services for product development, materials, and equipment.

Incubators & Accelerators

Incubator and accelerator programs are a sustainable means to immerse yourself in the Baltic startup world. They provide intensive mentoring sessions and create meaningful connections in a productive environment.

  • Tehnopol’s Startup Incubator offers a growth program package worth up to €10,000. This includes practical training, first-hand advice from experienced mentors, workshops and networking events as well as the use of offices and meeting rooms on their campus.
  • Founded in 2012, Startup Wise Guys has become one of the biggest investors in startups in the Baltics, helping young entrepreneurs achieve growth and long-lasting success with their various acceleration and incubation programs. The following programs are affiliated with Startup Wise Guys. 
    • Fintech Accelerator. This intensive acceleration program provides you with a convertible investment of up to €90,000. It offers a follow-up opportunity, networking and mentoring through industry experts, and the use of a modern coworking space.
    • SaaS Accelerator. This accelerator is offered to B2B SaaS companies looking to expand to the global market. They receive mentoring, support with implementation, and training in nine content modules. The modules cover essential strategies to support business acceleration for both the founder and the product.
    • Growth Accelerator. This fully customized, 6-month program can help you scale your business successfully with expert mentoring and coaching adapted to the company’s needs as well as funding opportunities. 

Startup Wise Guys has a number of accelerator programs in various European countries which all are open to e-residents with an Estonian company.

Themed incubators

Themed incubators offer a deep dive into the domestic and international market in a specific field, connecting you with specialists who help take your business to the next level.

  • Tallinn Creative Incubator. Aimed at new design and technology businesses in Estonia, Tallinn Creative Incubator serves as a platform for the growth and development of entrepreneurs. It provides entry into a two-year program tailored specifically to a company’s needs, helping founders reach their individual business goals.
  • Join the Health Founders accelerator program if you are an early-stage health tech entrepreneur with innovative ideas. This program offers training sessions and design sprints with the guidance of a personal lead mentor. The aim here is to successfully establish up-and-coming businesses in the exciting health tech market.
  • Beamline is an accelerator supporting green startups in the Baltic cleantech sector. They offer a 3-month hands-on program, bolstered by the provision of knowledge from industry experts. Each team receives €35,000 as well as one-on-one coaching sessions. Webinars are also available, and the program gives graduates the opportunity to stay within their network.
  • Buildit is all about enabling the success of IoT- and hardware-focused startups. This 4-month program supports the development and prototyping of company products. The best-performing teams will have the chance to receive a PreSeed investment of up to €50,000, or up to €250,000 when joining the Seed round.
  • For young businesses using space-related technologies to target the non-space market, the ESA BIC incubator is a chance to receive funding, a business loan, and expert mentoring and support. It also provides office space and access to its international network.
  • The Tartu Biotechnology Park offers an incubation program for startups in the fields of veterinary medicine, biotechnology, and medicine. In line with their aim of accelerating growth and competitiveness, they provide high-quality facilities and equipment and offer consulting and development services.
  • Elisa UP wants to help startups in the field of digitalization and telecommunication thrive by sharing their expertise and knowledge. They collaborate by offering tailored mentoring and advice on how to boost sales and growth, optimize processes, and expand to new markets.

Competitions

Participating in a competition is not only an exciting way to win money and recognition for your business, but it also helps expand your professional network. 

  • Ajujaht is a worthwhile competition for startup enterprises. It includes a study program, personal mentoring, financial support, and investments as well as the opportunity to present your business on TV. Moreover, the first-place winner receives at least €30,000.
  • Latitude59 Pitch Competition. This competition is for early-stage startups with a solid mission, a scalable business model, and a functioning product with proven traction/feedback. 
  • sTARTUp Pitching. Preferred applicants for this pitching competition have a strong mission and a scalable business model. Your startup should have a functioning product with traction/feedback and a strong team, and you should be ready for an investment.

Hackathons

Sometimes, intense brainstorming in good company is just what you need to overcome challenges. Such opportunities enable the exchange of ideas and present new perspectives on your business model.

  • Garage48 hosts hackathons with various focal points, such as developing IT prototypes or creating physical objects in a “makeathon”. Their events are a great opportunity for anyone looking for a boost in inspiration or simply exploring the world of startups.
  • Tööstushäkk. This three-day hackathon invites representatives of industrial and IT companies to explore and develop new, sustainable ideas and overcome challenges by finding digital solutions with the support of mentors and peers.

Counselling

Counselling programs present a space in which you can receive tailored advice from industry experts and gain new perspectives on your business model in Estonia.

  • Konsultatsiooni teenused innovaatilisele ettevõttele. Aimed at all businesses that aspire to grow and innovate, the development experts of this program will help you expand your network. They connect you with experts, researchers, testing, and certification bodies around the world.
  • The Rakendusuuringute program focuses on supporting applied research, offering both financial resources and professional counselling. Its aim is to enable entrepreneurs to develop new or significantly modified technologies, processes, products, or services.

E-resident companies are also eligible for EU grants. Find more information here:https://european-union.europa.eu/live-work-study/funding-grants-subsidies_en

 

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