Estonia ranked 13th overall in the 2019 Startup Ecosystem Rankings, one of the largest such surveys carried out worldwide. This year, however, the survey expressed doubt as to whether Estonia's visa programmes and e-residency are enough to make the country an environment to be taken seriously for startups.
Estonia must ensure it becomes a nation that creates startups and does not limit itself to hosting development centres for startups from higher-rated nations, and the time for such change is running out, as the cost of living in Estonia no longer allows for the establishment of such centres in the country, the survey says according to daily Postimees.
According to the survey, Estonia largely owes its success to Skype, the founders of which have supported other successful Estonian startups and contributed to the growth of the local startup ecosystem. Estonia's startup ecosystem remains ranked 13th worldwide due to being the birthplace of several major startups as well as efforts made by the state via programmes such as e-Residency.
Nonetheless, the two Estonian cities ranked in the survey, Tallinn and Tartu, have lost out significantly in competitiveness, dropping from 50th to 83rd and 182nd to 226th, respectively.
As previously, the 2019 rankings were topped by the US, UK, Canada and Israel. Estonia was preceded by Finland and followed by Ireland and Russia.
The survey, one of the largest of its kind, ranks 100 countries and more than 1,000 cities according to the strength of their respective startup ecosystems. The previous rankings were published in 2017.
There are altogether 500 startups in Estonia, employing a total of 5,700 people as of March 2019. Of these employees, however, only 3,078, or 54%, were based in Estonia. 23% of employees working at startup offices in Estonia come from other countries.
Editor: Aili Vahtla