Es-stole Our Hearts

Here we are! BACK AT IT AGAIN. The dynamic duo, Angelica and Zent.

This time on our next adventure we decided to take a BOAT to our next location instead of a plane. I (Angelica) got motion sickness and did not enjoy the boat ride over to the beautiful land of Estonia.

Sea Sickness

Estonia was an interesting part of the trip. As an entire class, we loved the historic buildings of Estonia and the food! We liked part of the business meetings we had as well! In this article, it said that Estonia was on its way to becoming Europes startup nation. It is also considered to be a “startup heaven” since it has the highest rates of startus per capita. The first stop we went to was Mektory. This was a guided tour through this school, and their focus was on start ups.

1st stop Mektory

As previously mentioned in our Finland blog post, we talked about how start ups were seen as uncommon because people did not like risky pursuits. It was seen as frowned upon because independent success was not normal and they wanted everyone to be equal. As we noted previously there were also differences between the private sector views and the views in academia. There were also culutural differences among the startup people we spoke with because of their tendency to share ideas similar to US ideas. It felt similar to start ups here in America so it was definitely cool to see something similar to home.

In Estonia startups are becoming increasingly common. At Mektory we were given a tour of the facilities. They explained how they help connect university students with businesses and also help students with business ventures with a focus on tech. The facilities were very cool and we were shown a variety of different businesses that currently occupy the space. Estonia prides itself on its unique educational opportunities.

Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol

The next place we visited was the Tallinn science park. Their focus feilds were health tech, green tech, and ICT & smart city. The CEO who gave us the presentation explained that the free education system in Estonia provided educated people that could not find jobs. The solution of the science park was to provide these people with the resources necessary to start their own businesses. We were told that the businesses had a success rate of 60%. When we asked what metric determined the reason for the success the CEO replied that success was determined simply by the ability to sell the product. As MBA students, we found this to be a fairly ambiguous claim. If the business is not actually profitable it would not be seen as successful back home in the US. If profitability was considered the success rate would probably not be as high as 60%.

Estonia Library

The last place we went for a meeting was the Estonia library. This meeting is what we would call the most… “interesting”. The speaker was Carl Pucci, head of international operations at Datel. Carl was a big fan of Estonia and originally lived in the US. We did not learn much about the business that he worked for however, Carl had very strong opinions about how the US was not as technologically advanced as Estonia. He also proceeded to go on a few various political rants. Most of the students were left confused and were ready to go on to the next country!

Angelica in Old Town

Our visit was short in Estonia but it definitely has a place in our hearts. After our company visits we had some spare time to wander around again and be able to experience what we could of this magical place.

Next stop?