Speaking at a Tartu and Jõgeva County economics event this weekend, Enterprise Estonia management member Martin Hirvoja said the quality of marketing campaigns promoting Estonia to foreign investors has improved.
"The focus of our activity is to bring better-paying jobs to Estonia, since Estonia is losing its advantage as a cheap labor market and the economy's future growth will rely on higher value added business," Hirvoja said.
In one example of success, Hirvoja said, a world leader in manufacturing navigational systems, Navionics, opened a development office in Estonia this year. "You could say that the future of the world's marine navigation is being created in Estonia. Although only around 20 people work for the company, the value added they generate is equal to that of 100 employees at a cheap-product factory," Hirvoja said.
He also pointed to the logistic company Kuehne+Nagel's IT center in Estonia and the Danpower German-language call center in Võru as other examples of progress.
Hirvoja said creating a brand for Estonia and promoting that abroad is essential for the export sector.
"The country's reputation must be ahead of the exporter: if a company goes abroad, we need to have already cleared the way for it," said Hirvoja.
He said a Robbie Williams concert last summer, which was part of a project to promote Estonia internationally, has already borne fruit.
"Organizing the concert was a risk, but it paid off," he said.
Other ideas discussed at the event included a high-speed train connecting Tallinn and Tartu, establishing a tourism and foreign trade minister, improved connectivity between Lake Peipus and the Baltic Sea, and a conference hall near Tallinn Airport.