Consolidation of Estonia’s startup support system continues
Following the decision earlier in the year to close down the Estonian Development Fund, Startup Estonia is moved to Kredex and will continue its activities there, starting Jul. 1.
According to announcements made, no jobs will be lost in the process, as the whole team including Startup Estonia’s CEO Mari Vavulski moves on to Kredex.
The Startup Estonia program has seven team members and an overall budget of €7m, expiring in 2020. While its activities will continue under the supervision of Kredex, its budgetary side will be handled by Enterprise Estonia.
The move is part of a consolidation process begun in March this year, when the decision was made to close down the Estonian Development Fund. MP Toomas Kivimägi (Reform), the chairman of the parliamentary committee in charge, said back then that the decision was the logical next step after the investment activities of the Development Fund had been transferred to KredEx.
Considering that in ten years Estonia’s working population would be 80,000 smaller, it wasn’t thinkable that the state could continue with the same number of structural units and government agencies, Kivimäe said.
With its reputation for consistently high numbers of startups, Estonia’s startup support landscape is fragmented, and there are lots duplicate efforts that could be eliminated.
According to Kredex CEO Lehar Kütt, the development was “natural”, as all the three organizations involved worked towards the same goal. The main aim was to be able to offer new companies assistance at every development stage, Kütt said. Aspects to be considered included the angle of investors, a side which SmartCap had covered well.
The startup investment firm SmartCap had been incorporated into Kredex earlier on in the year.
According to the Startup Compass survey, Estonia had 500-700 startup companies in different stages of development last year. Startups employ a total of about 2,300 people, over 80% of which live and work in Estonia. They contributed more than €20m in labor taxes to Estonia’s revenue in 2015.