Ten to 15 years ago, Estonia's top executives would meet in Pärnu once or twice per year to exchange ideas and chat. Because the Estonian economy became increasingly more international, and because being the digital front-runner means just that, namely running at the front of development, the place where they get their ideas has since shifted abroad.
There seems to be a peculiar lack of ideas in Estonia. Talking to delegates across several groups, the same thing comes up time and again — networking isn't the first priority of the people attending the conference. They're really here for new ideas — to be inspired by the speakers, and get food for thought.
In that sense, the Nordic Business Forum takes care of several needs at once. Top executives as well as a whole array of specialists in their field in Estonia get to meet and mingle here, starting with the breakfast buffet on the boat on the way over.
And though they do say that networking is slowly becoming more important, they are here to listen to the speakers. If the Estonian delegates agree on one thing, it's that there is no comparable event on the other side of the Gulf of Finland that could afford high-profile speakers like Adam Grant, Richard Branson, and Will Smith.
And they're expected to deliver. For instance, Eesti Energia, the country's state-owned energy utility company, is present with a 20-strong delegation. As one executive explains, they will listen to the speakers and later meet back home in Tallinn to exchange ideas and see what there was that they could build on themselves.
This fits in with comments from others present here at the conference, including Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo (SDE). Estonia's ascent to the forefront of digital development means that the country has been getting a lot of attention, but also that it will need to keep up in this fast-paced business.
Which again makes it necessary to be up-to-date and know what is happening worldwide, also in terms of corporate development and talk. As Estonia is finally stepping onto the stage of global business and its companies are getting the hang of selling themselves abroad, to be seen at these events and to be aware of what the business world is talking about becomes essential.
Editor: Dario Cavegn