How is Accelerate Estonia different from an accelerator or incubator?
Accelerate Estonia projects are experimental collaborations between high-growth companies and the Estonian Government on shared opportunities. We take joint responsibility for the experiments and hopefully realising the moonshot opportunity.
Accelerate Estonia does not have a set program format like an accelerator, and is time-limited and outcome focused, unlike incubators.
What opportunities are of interest to us?
“Audacious” is one of our favourite words. We are looking for opportunities that challenge the status quo, and can deliver significant economic returns to Estonia if we take the lead in addressing systemic barriers.
Partnering companies should have solved a genuine, ideally global, problem. Their rapid growth should be constrained only by systemic barriers – legal, regulatory, trust – that need government intervention.
Is there funding for selected opportunities?
Funding is available to support a large-scale pilot of the solution in Estonia. The pilot will demonstrate the solution and any agreed public sector changes at scale. The funding is up to €300,000 and will be negotiated based on the costs of the pilot agreed during our initial engagement. This won’t cover all your costs but should give you significant support.
The funding is R&D based so projects must experiment with novel approaches to solving their chosen problems, and continuously share the results publicly through Accelerate Estonia.
What is the program?
There is no fixed program. We will experiment with, and hopefully prove, some radical solutions that will change the world. You can’t format that process. So AE will adapt as needed, and agreed, with opportunities that excite us and get the support of the relevant government policy owners.
Our approach is discovery-based: as we validate the opportunity with you, we can become more specific about the commitment we will make; and expect the same of you.
The focus is on delivering a large-scale pilot that demonstrates the solution along with any public sector changes needed for scaling the impact, along with a high-growth business model to deliver it.
Companies participating can expect:
- Together (Accelerate Estonia and your team) we design a specific ask for decision makers and identify the systemic changes needed to enable your solution.
- Regular meetings with our Public Sector team to help you through the process of making ”illegal things legal” (your business to function) and overall understanding of the Estonian Government agencies.
- Regular meetings with our Experiment Lead to optimise your experiments; establish partnerships in the Estonian private sector to deliver your pilot; and develop the roadmap and partnerships to scale internationally.
- An advocate for your experiment from within the public sector of Estonia.
- Regular meetings with expert advisers from the Public, Private and Academic sectors.
- Funding to support the pilot based on agreed costs and goals.
- Exposure of the experiment and your solution in Accelerate Estonia’s channels and if possible, news publications.
Accelerate Estonia is a collaboration. Businesses solving problems that are genuinely urgent in Estonia, with solutions that excite the relevant policy owners, are likely to get the most active support. You take the lead and we will activate the power of the Estonian public sector and communities to accelerate the process.
Is it possible to participate online?
Most of our engagements with participating companies are online and we encourage participants from all over the world. The pilot must take place in the Estonian environment – digital or physical. That said, we’ve found that companies participating from outside Estonia do need local partners, or to establish a physical presence here, to take full advantage of the speed of execution native to our “unicorn factory”.
What are the collaboration goals and outcomes?
Accelerate Estonia is discovering and proving novel solutions to global challenges that depend on new regulatory/public sector or social models.
We work with projects to:
- Solve global wicked problems that are urgent in Estonia.
- Create significant economic returns for Estonia.
- Create systemic change in Estonia through the public sector.
Specific outcomes are agreed for each collaboration but will normally include:
- Policy/regulatory/legal changes and/or public sector processes needed to sustain the solution, and act as a model for policy makers in international markets.
- Demonstration of the solution through a large-scale pilot that validates the public sector changes, and proves the solution to international markets.
- Creation or activation of a new market opportunity from Estonia.
- Agreement on ongoing collaboration with the Estonian private sector that includes the potential for significant exports growth.
What are the collaboration phases?
The focus of the program is on running a meaningful pilot that experiments with, validates, and catalyses:
- The solution at scale.
- The systemic changes needed from the public sector for it to succeed.
- The market creation model to scale impact and economic returns.
What is the selection process?
- You fill out the application form
- We evaluate the match and get in touch to discuss collaboration
- On the back of our interaction we probe your solution to the relevant public sector representatives and validate it with industry experts
- If we’ve confirmed the initial interest from us, you and the public sector we will compile all the data, solutions, parameters and possible outcomes in a longer form, so that we have something tangible to present to our mission board.
- Accelerate Estonia’s team and mission board give they’re evaluation whether to accept you into the program.
Do companies have to be incorporated in Estonia?
No, but it will be helpful having a local partner or presence.
We do expect significant economic returns to Estonia through export revenue, or FDI, in return for the risks we are sharing with companies in these experiments. The agreement on how we do this will be unique to each collaboration, and negotiated during our engagement.
Don’t underestimate the case for doing business from Estonia.
Who is Accelerate Estonia run by?
Accelerate Estonia was founded by and is funded by the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, our day-to-day activities are powered by Tehnopol Science and Business Park. You can see our team here.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.