Tartu and its German sister city Greifswald are to begin cooperating on supporting startups in the future, the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern announced.
On the third and final day of its visit to Estonia on Saturday, a state delegation from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern visited Tartu, Estonia's second-largest city. At a meeting held at Tartu Town Hall, the mayors of Greifswald and Tartu agreed to increase cooperation between the two cities.
The exchange of startups is to be supported by Greifswald's Science and Technology Park North East (WITENO), Tartu Science Park and Tartu Biotechnology Park.
This autumn, young Estonian startup founders will head to a digital festival in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; next January, German representatives will in turn participate in the next Tartu Startup Day.
"Tartu identifies itself as Estonia's startup city," Minister of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitization Christian Pegel said. "In a networked manner and digitally, new startups are being established and entrepreneurship is being cultivated there."
A robustly networked Baltic Sea region is important for the digitally-minded state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well, he added.
"A framework agreement was signed today with which we wish to support youth startup scene exchange programmes and receive inspiring impulses for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern," Mr Pegel said.
"I am happy for future cooperation with Greifswald, so that the innovative Baltic Sea region can gain fame outside of its borders as well," Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said.
"I am certain that international cooperation will advance all of us," Greifswald Mayor Stefan Fassbinder said. "This is also why we signed the agreement today. We agreed that innovation centres will get in closer contact with one another. Startups' approaching of one another must be supported. That is why we also chose two specific dates today."
"Just like in Greifswald, most startups in Tartu are also established in connection with the university," WITENO director Wolfgang Blank said. "We want to learn from Tartu's years of experience and take a bit of startup spirit home with us from Europe's leading startup state."
"The simplicity that surrounds Estonians' handling of the topic of digitalisation is impressive," said Professor Lars Kaderali, head of the University of Greifswald's Institute of Bioinformatics. "Many of my business partners have mentioned that the development of the digital society is not a matter of technology but rather requires a shift in thinking in society. Thus, such an approach by the Estonians must be adopted and applied to our state."
Editor: Aili Vahtla