Estonia, a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, is known as one of the most advanced nations in terms of technology. Now it is predicted to become another Silicon Valley much like the monumental technology hub in Santa Clara County located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California.
Estonia is top in its local Internet performance with speeds that surpass those of other countries. Moreover, it boasts of being the first in the world to install electric car charging grids in all areas. To top everything, its own president Toomas Hendrik Ilves began to create his own program when he was only 13 years old. For more than 20 years now, Ilves has been upholding Estonia’s technological organization as it moves forward in further developing its tech business.
The Baltic region where Estonia belongs along with five Nordic countries is currently drawing world attention as its performance in the global tech race has become noticeably impressive. On the whole these regions are credited for Skype, Ericsson, Nokia, MySQL, Kazaa and other popular digital tools and applications. In social networks, a hashtag for #EStonianmafia was created by Dave Mcclure, the geek who founded some 500 startups. This happened during the 2011 London Seedcamp finals. At the event, Mcclure saw that there were 20 Estonian participating teams. This indicated how Estonia has become an unbeatable leader in startups, thus making it deserve the exclusive hashtag.
Tech-savvy political leaders
The reason behind Estonia’s worldwide prominence in technology has some historical aspect. The Iron Curtain demolition paved the way for Estonia to renew its vigor in business and industry. When Communist officials in the region departed, an empty room was left waiting to be filled by a new set of leaders. Younger, progressive and tech-savvy leaders rose. Estonia itself is now under the governance of a president who is a programmer himself. Education in telecommunications and technology has received huge investments as Estonia moved ahead to be part of the European Union.
Skype executive Sten Tamkvi holds the opinion that Estonia’s technological success can be attributed to its ability to adapt to restrictions brought by communism. As the country had to adjust to certain limitations in its entrepreneurial activities, Estonian people developed the cunning to reinvent, innovate and redesign existing technological applications. It also helped that the Soviet reign gave much importance to the study of sciences and engineering. By the time when Communist control crumbled and the Iron Curtain was lifted, Estonia found its re-independence beneficial to its business and tech growth
Tech corporations and startups
At present Estonia is fast becoming another headquarter for many of the world’s biggest technology corporations and startup businesses. More world capitalists have taken notice and tech investments are pouring in. Despite public knowledge that the government finances a big chunk of Estonia’s technology projects, entrepreneurs have managed to be creative enough to pull off their own businesses and individual institutions. The promise of Estonia being the next Silicon Valley is by far greatly based on the fact that the government is willing to support certain projects that can certainly lead to technological breakthroughs.
Photo Credit: Küüni Street in Estonia