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Estonia invites global entrepreneurs to run practical country-scale experiments

19. May 2021

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Government CIO Siim Sikkut make a global call to entrepreneurs who are searching for a way to test solutions to wicked problems in the real world. Estonia’s national testbed program Accelerate Estonia  was created to experiment with moonshot solutions to global challenges. The program combines the audacity of entrepreneurs with the transformative power of the public sector to tackle the systemic constraints behind urgent global problems.

“The Estonian digital governance model allows us to call ourselves the worlds’ first digital society and has catalyzed change in the European Union already. To create further change, we constantly need to test and experiment with bold ideas. We have legally permissive space for digital governance models to evolve and strong cross-sectoral cooperation of top performers from public and private sectors. We have combined these strengths and created a national testbed program Accelerate Estonia for bold ideas that have the potential to change not only Estonia’s future but also to lead global developments,” says Kersti Kaljulaid, Estonian President.

“Estonia has dared to be a pathfinder in novel solutions. The result of many years of work is an open society, characterized by a strong digital infrastructure, a public sector accustomed to managing rapid change, and a “Let’s do it!” mentality. We are used to trying bold ideas, because that is what has brought us to the modern day, where all public services are online, businesses can be registered in a matter of minutes and our services are used by e-Residents from around the world. These are just a few examples of what is possible when the whole of society can be activated around good ideas,” says Government Chief Innovation Officer Siim Sikkut.

Accelerate Estonia’s focus topics for 2021 are mental health and green turn, but also the door is left open for those ideas, which do not fit into the two focus themes, but promise significant global impact on urgent problems if successful. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges in the areas of mental health and the green turn. However, rapid developments in these areas depend on cross-sectoral cooperation and a willingness to bring about change quickly. Estonia is a fertile ground for ambitious entrepreneurs to experiment and develop their solutions: attested to by the highest rate of startup unicorns in the world. And we have more startups per person than Silicon Valley! Now we have a challenge for you. What if we give you a country for a year, what would you do with it?” says Siim Sikkut, the Government CIO.

On June 9-11 Estonian government visionaries open their virtual doors for office hours.  Participants have an opportunity to meet the digital nation’s leadership and pitch them a working moonshot solution to a global problem and test their readiness to validate it through a country-wide pilot. Ministers, previous ministers and other key decision makers will be available for rapid sessions on how to tackle wicked problems in practice. If you have an idea that fits with the focus topics and you want to test it on a country-scale testbed, take part in our virtual event and apply to the Accelerate Estonia.

Accelerate Estonia offers to run “solution on a country,” Estonia to Europe and beyond pilots and experiments – shape your vision by interacting with senior policy, public and private sector leadership. The program supports the costs of the experiment for selected projects with R&D grants of up to €90k. Register today for exclusive, limited seats at Accelerate Estonia’s office hour sessions in June to hear more about how you could become Estonia’s next moonshot entrepreneur. Sign up and read more about the event from the link: https://accelerateestonia.ee/office-hours/

“We can give you leverage, so you can change the world, ” said president Kaljulaid. “The urgency to react to climate concerns and crisis in well-being calls for a highly agile and experimental mindset. We have that in Estonia.”

Accelerate Estonia is a government-led and powered by Tehnopol Science and Business Park national platform for game changers to experiment, validate, and solve global wicked problems. From Estonia to the world.