Estonia Lacking in Entrepreneurship, But Using Single Market Well, Says EU ({{commentsTotal}})

2013 SME Assembly in Vilnius
2013 SME Assembly in Vilnius Source: Courtesy of the European Commission

Estonian small and medium sized enterprises (SME), which account for over 99 percent of all businesses in the nation, scored high marks in internationalization, but placed below the EU average in entrepreneurship.

The European Commission's report on SMEs in Estonia, unveiled on Tuesday at the second SME Assembly, said that the proportion of self-employed people was half that of the union's 16 percent average, although the business-building component, or people who are developing a business around an opportunity as opposed to people who perform a routine set of tasks while being self-employed, was slightly above the EU's average.

Estonian SMEs are far better at utilizing the common EU market, with 17 percent of companies exporting to other EU member-states, compared to the average of only 8 percent, and 8 percent exporting outside the union, twice the average of the EU.

Of the ten areas highlighted by the report, Estonia fared above average in six – "think small first," responsive administration, state aid and tenders, access to finance, and the already mentioned internationalization and single market categories.

Besides entrepreneurship, the nation also scored below average in the second chances category, which analyzes how easy it is for failed entrepreneurs to start up again, in skills and innovation and business environment.

Latvia picks up prize in Lithuania

The Latvian Chamber of Commerce won the Grand Jury Prize at European Enterprise Promotion Awards, held in Vilnius during the SME Assembly, for an initiative to help micro-enterprises by creating a special tax rate, simplifying accounting and other measures, which helped a total of 28,000 small companies.

Estonia's entry to the competition, the ESTCube space satellite project, did not make it onto the 19-strong short-list.