With the support of the Estonian Development Fund, 23 young people have been chosen from among almost a 100 candidates to study at the Founder Institute, a new start-up institute at which classes began in Tallinn on Wednesday. The institute's mission is to act as a springboard for people who could be the creators of new start-ups.
Twenty-three such potential entrepreneurs were selected to study in the Tallinn program of the start-up institute, which was established as a nationwide pilot project. Although initially the plan was to accept 20 people, the number was increased due to the large number of applicants who exhibited potential (75), the institute said.
The average age of those starting their studies in the program is 32, and they currently work in large companies. Classes will last for four months. The start-up institute forms part of the biggest start-up training program in the world – the Founder Institute, which is represented in nearly 50 cities all over the world.
“The four-month course at the institute includes some very practical work – our potential entrepreneurs create their own start-ups during their studies, and develop them using the information gained on the course as well as feedback from business mentors and practical assignments," explained Mari Suviste, the Estonian representative of the Founder Institute.
Study sessions are being held once a week in the evenings, which means that participants do not need to take time away from their day job.
"Although the start-up field is often filled with young, enthusiastic, proactive people, in reality it’s often people with a bit more experience and with management skills in large corporations who are more successful,” said Lauri Antalainen, an entrepreneur and one of the program’s mentors. “The Founder Institute is targeted precisely at these ‘career people’, who feel ready to become entrepreneurs but don’t have enough knowledge and haven’t been given that decisive push."
The Founder Institute is operating under the Startup Estonia program, which is financed from the European Regional Fund. Startup Estonia’s goal is to offer a comprehensive and easy-to-understand development environment for Estonian start-ups in cooperation with the Estonian start-up ecosystem, and to contribute to the creation and development of ambitious and globally valuable companies.
With its headquarters based in Silicon Valley, the Founder Institute has contributed to the creation of more than 1,000 technology start-ups around the world in the past four years. The total market value of these companies is 5 billion dollars, and they employ more than 10,000 people.