Starting the year right… with travelling. Plane tickets were booked and I was so excited to celebrate the orthodox Christmas (on January 7th) in Tallinn, Estonia. It was a first time for me to spend some days in this magical winter wonderland. But, I do not think I was prepared for the extreme low temperatures that welcomed us in Tallinn. Coming from a southern country, it was expected that we will complain about how cold it is and that it should be illegal to do anything at -34C 🙂 After the initial temperature shock, when we gathered for our first night out, visiting the beautiful fairy-tale called Christmas Market in the old city of Tallinn, we were amazed by the sight and warmed up with some delicious mulled wine.
So, the first day was all about sightseeing and enjoying the city. The next day was all about meeting startup enthusiasts and getting to know the community, while learning what #EstonianMaffia is all about. Prior to my trip, I did my research and contacted many people from different organizations and startups. The first person I met and it is my pleasure to introduce you to Mirjam Kert a project manager at Startup Estonia.
“Startup Estonia is the link between startups and policy makers. It serves as an umbrella organization that unites the Estonian startup community, while connecting networks of investors and mentors, business and innovation accelerators, starting and already succeeded enterprises. Our aim for 2016 is to launch more diverse programs that will enable better cooperation, since we are a small community and this is very much needed, so we can accomplish better results. We also do help a lot with providing up to date and relevant information, especially to young entrepreneurs. We provide a monthly calendar of startup events and we are also co-organizing the tech conference Latitude 59. Also, foreigners that want to start a business in Estonia, come to us for advice, support and everything that is needed. Even though it is very easy to register a business over here through e-government, the most important is that the community is very supportive!” – says Mirjam.
It was interesting to learn that they as an organization do not directly support the startups, but actually serve as a “go to” point. I was interested to hear how she got involved in the “startup scene” and what would be her main advice from her experience so far.
“My first experience in the startup eco-system is with Startup Estonia. Once you get involved, you get more interested. I think I got hooked because of the pace of things and how everything is developing so fast. Also I have projects of my own, such as Engage Estonia – a project to bridge startups and corporations; and kickstarting the Estonian cyber-tech startup ecosystem. One of my advices for startup enthusiasts would be to get on this train straight away, do not wait. Grab the opportunity, because what better time to start a business than now. There are so many opportunities within the new economy, you can get media attention easier nowadays, because they do love to report on startups. Get in touch with experienced entrepreneurs from your field of interest, validate your idea and do not be embarrassed to ask for help. Plus, when you are young there is not so much to lose, so do it now!” – adds Mirjam.
While we were finishing our cup of coffee, we promised to stay in touch and meet again. It was my pleasure, that I got to meet Mirjam as a representative of Startup Estonia and to get first hand info, on their startup scene. After this meet-up, I was headed to one cool place in Tallinn, for my next meeting….
So, if you are interested to find out who’s the next person I met, make sure to subscribe to the blog via e-mail. #StartUpSelfie #18 is coming in the following days…