Ernest Hemingway has written that in every port in the world, at least one Estonian can be found. Estonia is a small country with a population of 1,3 million people, though the area is bigger than Denmark or The Netherlands.
People in Estonia speak Estonian as their mother tongue, but they also speak really good English. Estonians are actually on the 7th place in the world speaking English as non-native speakers. In addition to English many people also speak Russian, Finnish and German. Estonian is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Estonians are highly educated, benefitting from an Estonian language-based educational system that meets the international standard on all levels. University of Tartu is highly ranked university in the world. 89% of Estonians have graduated high school (avarage in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries is 73%). 36% have higer education degree. Estonia has high number of specialists calculated of working-age population. Most popular specialities in universities are economy, business management, infotechnology, laws of science and other connected specialities.
Enterpreneurship is becoming more nad more popular among Estonians. Although most new businesses last only 3 years and have one or two employees, Estonians still take their chances and try to turn their passions into profit. They often run their own individual businesses beside the average of 40,8 hour working week.
Start-ups are really popular among students and newly graduates. Estonian goverment has started many projects to support enterpreneurship. Most popular institution is Enterprise Estonia (EAS)
. It manageses nation wide financial assistance, counselling, cooperation opportunities, training for entrepreneurs and research institutions. Many smaller non-profit organizations have started their work supporting and counselling entrepeneurs locally at provincial centers. There are also many nationally supported programs to acquire capital or finance product development, expand overseas etc.
Estonia is a desirable destination for enterpreneurs from all over the world. Estonia locates on the border of East and West. For enterprenuers from Asia, Estonia is a gateway to the rest of Europe, but also the last stop before Russia and other Eastern European countries. Estonia has all the possibilities and know-how to intermediate trade between East and West. Highly developed e-services and hard working multi-lingual people make business quick, cost-effective and trustworthy.
There are a couple of things to consider when doing business with Estonians. The main way of greeting is to shake hands. In some occasions a hug may be suitable. Estonians never do cheak-kisses and they tend to keep a small distance to unknown persons. Estonians are introverts. They don’t often share their feelings or emotions, neither do compliments. You can call it a success if an Estonian audience will nod or make eye-contact with you. Estonians usually don’t start conversations nor ask questions unless they have something important to ask or to hurry you go one with the story. They don’t make small talk and go straight to the subject. One thing to remember is that Estonians are punctual. They are not 5 minutes early nor 3 minutes late, they are exactly on time. Estonians are nostalgic and not open-minded to innovations, unless they are scientifically proven.
When you win their trust, Estonians are one of the most helpful, friendly and social nations you can find in the world.