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Estonia launched a national testbed for moonshot ideas

8. Apr 2021

Estonia is bringing public and private partners together to test moonshots that tackle complex problems the society is facing. A national testbed called Accelerate Estonia is a unique way to experiment, validate and develop solutions that have strong value to the global economic space.  

Accelerate Estonia is a national platform for game changers to experiment, validate, and solve global wicked problems. From Estonia to the world. “Our vision is to be the most impactful platform for entrepreneurs experimenting with the public sector to solve global grand challenges. We want to punch above our weight by launching game-changing success stories,” says Mikk Vainik, head of Accelerate Estonia.

“We provide collaboration with policy owners and public sector influencers to identify systemic enablers and resolve constraints that help validate your moonshot in Estonia. We have a network of evangelists working inside the public sector for maximum collaboration and minimal friction,” tells Vainik and adds Accelerate Estonia is covering the costs of the experiment.

The focus topics for 2021 are mental health and green turn but also wild cards 

“Wherever we look, the stress levels of different groups – students, parents, to-be-soldiers, the elderly, the young professionals – are going up in speed. Our society is leaking valuable individuals and that hurts us, and the economy. The crisis may have raised the urgency, but we have been in need of help for a long time. The public healthcare system no longer sustains that, and unhealthy habits must be turned into opportunities,” says Mikk Vainik. Data published by the World Health Organization paints a sad picture of the mental health situation – the global economy loses about US$ 1 trillion per year in productivity due to depression and anxiety. But every US$ 1 invested in treating depression with therapy or antidepressants leads to a return of US$ 4 in better health outcomes and work abilities. 

The second focus topic is green turn. “There is a lot of talk about the Green Pact, the Green Revolution, the fight against climate change but which concrete actions are set towards the goals in order to achieve them? Many questions still remain. How can data give us a head start with the green turn mission? Or how to pioneer the creation of the recyclable materials market? Or how to get the maximum value out of all the food before it turns into waste? Whoever can answer these questions will enter the business world of hundreds of millions,” tells Vainik.

Accelerate Estonia has also left the door open to ideas that do not coincide with the areas of mental health or the green turn. “Last year showed us clearly that we need to be ready for unexpected events and react accordingly. We do not know yet what 2021 will bring, but we must be ready to react quickly and utilize a timely opportunity. So if you have a wild card for us that does not fit the other two missions, we should have a discussion!”

Estonia’s national testbed calls you to apply for the program

Accelerate Estonia calls for solving the challenges related to mental health and the green turn. The program recruits ideas all year round, if you are interested, you have the opportunity to get acquainted with the missions and application information by visiting https://accelerateestonia.ee/missions/

“We believe there’s no problem that cannot be challenged. We know that change starts with talents with a game-changer mindset – we bring together the brightest minds to challenge the future. The question is, are you ready for new challenges? If the answer is yes, send us your idea, and let’s get busy!” Vainik sums up. 

Accelerate Estonia is a government-led and powered by Science Park Tehnopol moonshot experiment lab solving global challenges- the program tests moonshot solutions to global challenges by combining the audacity of entrepreneurs with the transformative power of the public sector.