Estonia: the most entrepreneurial European country for tech startups

Estonia with just over 1.3 million residents, has emerged as a powerhouse of entrepreneurship in Europe.

In this blog post, we’ll examine Estonia’s journey in the tech and startup ecosystem, covering topics such as unicorns and innovative policies.

Introduction to Estonia’s entrepreneurial rise

Estonia’s journey to becoming a thriving hub of entrepreneurship is nothing short of remarkable. In the fast-paced world of technology and startups, Estonia has defied its size and emerged as a beacon of innovation on the European stage.

The State of European Tech 2022 report by Atomico has given Estonia the spotlight it deserves. It firmly establishes Estonia as the most entrepreneurial European country for tech startups. With just over 1.3 million residents, Estonia has proven that it’s not the size that matters but the impact it can make.

In December 2022, the Estonian Startup Database listed 1,452 startups that originated in the country. What’s even more impressive is that this number continues to grow, confirming Atomico’s prediction that Estonia is on a path to unparalleled success in the tech startup arena.

Notable Estonian unicorns

Estonia’s entrepreneurial prowess doesn’t stop at startups; it extends to the creation of unicorns – those rare billion-dollar companies that appear as legends in the tech world. Estonia has already birthed ten such unicorns, and with 7.7 unicorns per million capita, it leads the way in Europe, surpassing competitors like Luxembourg, the UK, and Germany.


Skype, a household name in digital communication, revolutionized global connectivity. Its impact on the way we communicate cannot be overstated.


Playtech, a global gambling software and technology company, has solidified its position as one of the nation’s most successful and influential companies. Its reach extends far beyond Estonia’s borders.

Wise (formerly TransferWise)

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, offers a peer-to-peer international money transfer platform. It enables individuals and businesses to send and receive money across borders at lower fees and competitive exchange rates.


Bolt, known for providing convenient and reliable transportation solutions, has become synonymous with green scooters for many.

Other Estonian unicorns

But the unicorn factory doesn’t stop there. Estonia boasts more unicorns like Pipedrive, Zego, Gelato, Veriff, and Glia. These companies have not only made their mark in Estonia but have garnered international recognition.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate these unicorns for their extraordinary contributions.

Estonia’s attraction for investments

Estonia’s ability to attract investments is nothing short of remarkable. In 2022, investments reached an astonishing 3.6% share of GDP, a feat achieved by only one other European country – Croatia.

Venture capital investments per capita in Estonia are equally impressive, standing at €1,967 per capita raised and one startup per 1,048 people. This sets a high standard for its European peers. To put this in perspective, it means that Estonia is creating an environment where startups not only survive but thrive.

The closest competitors, Iceland and Sweden, fall behind with $543 and $477 invested per capita, respectively.

It’s a testament to the confidence investors have in Estonia.

Estonia’s secret to success

What’s the secret to Estonia’s remarkable success? Many attribute it to the country’s advanced digital capabilities and an entrepreneur-friendly environment.

Advanced digital capabilities

Estonia’s commitment to digitalization is evident, with 99% of government services available online. From digital signatures to paperless communication, Estonia is a pioneer in providing seamless online services. It’s not just a convenience; it’s a way of life.

Entrepreneur-friendly environment

Estonia boasts a tax-competitive environment, featuring a 0% income tax on retained and reinvested profits. Clear stock options regulations and double taxation treaties with numerous countries make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs.

But it’s not just about taxes. Estonia offers an affordable high quality of life, top-notch human capital, and a reliable legal system. It’s a combination that creates a favorable and thriving business climate.

The startup visa program

Estonia’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship is exemplified by its startup visa program, initiated in 2017. This program allows startup founders to relocate their businesses to Estonia, benefit from e-Residency, e-voting, and hire talent from outside the European Union.

Since its inception, over 2,700 applications have been received. The result is a diverse ecosystem where 25% of startup founders are foreign citizens. This program not only fosters innovation but also embraces diversity, a key driver of success in the modern tech world.

Collaboration and mentorship

Estonia’s startup scene thrives on collaboration and mentorship. The sense of community and a shared vision are the driving force behind innovation. In Estonia, it’s not just about competition; it’s about lifting each other up.

This supportive environment is where ideas flourish, startups grow, and unicorns are born.

Incorporate: Your partner in Estonia’s entrepreneurial landscape

Incorporate is your gateway to navigating the Estonian business landscape with ease and efficiency. We offer a range of services designed to assist and empower entrepreneurs, whether you’re a local or a foreigner looking to tap into Estonia’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Incorporate is dedicated to facilitating your success in Estonia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our mission is to ensure that you can focus on your business’s growth and innovation while we take care of the administrative and regulatory aspects.

As Estonia continues to make waves in the global tech ecosystem, Incorporate stands ready to be your trusted partner on this exciting journey.

Contact us today and let us help you turn your entrepreneurial vision into reality in the most entrepreneurial European country for tech startups.


In summary, Estonia has defied its size to become a thriving European hub for tech startups. The State of European Tech 2022 report highlights its leadership in nurturing startups. Estonia’s impressive track record includes ten unicorns, a remarkable investment magnetism, and a commitment to fostering entrepreneurship through initiatives like the startup visa program.

For those seeking to join Estonia’s entrepreneurial landscape, Incorporate provides essential support services, enabling entrepreneurs to focus on innovation and business growth.

As Estonia continues its journey to global tech prominence, Incorporate is poised to assist entrepreneurs in realizing their vision in Europe’s most entrepreneurial country for tech startups.


How did Estonia become a hub for startups and innovation?

Estonia’s journey to becoming a hub for startups and innovation can be attributed to its advanced digital capabilities, entrepreneur-friendly environment, and strong support for entrepreneurship. These factors have created a fertile ground for innovation.

What are some of the key policies that have contributed to Estonia’s success?

Estonia’s tax-competitive environment, including a 0% income tax on retained profits, clear stock options regulations, and double taxation treaties, has been instrumental in attracting entrepreneurs. Additionally, the startup visa program has played a crucial role.

How does Estonia’s investment environment compare to other European countries?

Estonia’s investment environment is impressive, with investments reaching 3.6% of GDP in 2022. When it comes to venture capital investments per capita, Estonia significantly outperforms the European average, competing closely with countries like Iceland and Sweden.

How can foreign entrepreneurs benefit from Estonia’s startup visa program?

Foreign entrepreneurs can relocate their businesses to Estonia, benefit from e-residency, e-voting, and hire talent from outside the European Union through the startup visa program. It’s a gateway to accessing Estonia’s thriving business ecosystem.

What are the advantages of collaborating with Incorporate in Estonia?

Incorporate offers a range of services to assist and empower entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their businesses in Estonia. Their expertise simplifies the process and ensures you can focus on business growth.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information, which may or may not be correct, complete or current at the time of reading. No recipients of content from this site should act on the basis of content of the article without seeking appropriate legal advice or other professional counselling.

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