Startup Estonia: Fifth of Estonian startups founded by women

sTartup Day.
sTartup Day. Source: Трийн Канд

Women have established 196 startups in Estonia, about one-fifth of all Estonian startups; among them are also those companies where at least one of the founders is a woman, data from the Estonian Startup Database and Statistics Estonia shows.

A total of 2,983 women work in Estonian startups, which makes up 36 percent of the startup sector's employees, Startup Estonia and Kredex said.

In Estonian startup companies, most women work in various top specialist positions, where the share of women is 39 percent and the average gross salary reached €2,873 last year, according to Statistics Estonia.

The largest number of female founders of startups is in the fields of health and educational technology, with 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively. In third place is the field of communication with 23 percent.

According to last year's statistics, 15 percent of men and 10 percent of women employed in the Estonian startup sector work in leading positions. The average gross salary of men and women in management positions in Estonian startups was €3,325.

"The potential of women is still underused in the startup sector and in the venture capital world, but it can be seen that young Estonian women are bolder, more active and more ambitious and are ready to take responsibility and risks related to entrepreneurship. There could be more women in the startup sector aged 40+, who have both the knowledge and experience to show, but who often lack the courage to make a career change - change jobs or become entrepreneurs themselves," the manager of Startup Estonia, Eve Peeterson, said.

The share of female founders of startups remains at 15-20 percent in Estonia, which is about the same as elsewhere in Europe. According to the Baltic Startup Scene 2019-2020 report, the number of startups where at least one of the founders is a woman is on average 13 percent in the Baltics, 18 percent in the Nordic countries and 15 percent in Central and Eastern Europe. According to The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020, 14 percent of startups worldwide are founded by women or mixed teams.

Peeterson said diversification of the startup sector, including increasing the share of women among the founders of startups, is an important goal of the new period of the Startup Estonia program. "We are developing an action plan to encourage and support both young and older women," she added.

Startup Estonia is a national program that unites and supports Estonian startups. The Startup Estonia program is implemented by Kredex. The activities of the Startup Estonia research accelerator are carried out by SmartCap.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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