Thursday, 16 March 2017

Estonia: Europe’s Most Entrepreneurial Country

Very proud that Estonia was proclaimed the most entrepreneurial country in Europe! Below is a summarised version of the World Economic Forum report.

When you think of the word ‘entrepreneur’, you might conjure up a maverick who turned a great idea into a successful business. But you’re unlikely to imagine furious entrepreneurial activity in the small European country of Estonia. Yet, according to a World Economic Forum report, Northern Europe and the Baltics are a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity.

The report, Europe’s Hidden Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurial Employee Activity and Competitiveness in Europe, looked at a form of entrepreneurship beyond the typical start-up – intrapreneurship – with some interesting conclusions.

Northern Europe leads the way when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation.


Intrapreneurship involves workers formulating and implementing new ideas within organizations, rather than starting their own businesses. In the report these are called EEAs, which stands for entrepreneurial employee activity.

Entrepreneurial individuals in Europe frequently choose to start new ventures or projects while working for their employers rather than start their own business, the report found.

The report compares entrepreneurial activity within organizations with start-ups, which are referred to as “total early-stage entrepreneurial activity” or TEA.


When you look at TEA only, shown in dark blue on this chart, Europe doesn’t do very well compared to other major economies and regions.

However, when you add EEA into the mix, Europe comes after only the US, Canada and Australia.

In Europe, a greater proportion of entrepreneurship is expressed as EEA than anywhere else in the world: 40% of entrepreneurial individuals are EEA entrepreneurs, compared with 29% in the United States.

When you take both TEA and EEA together, a picture emerges of highly entrepreneurial Baltic countries. In this ranking Estonia comes out on top, while two of Europe’s largest economies, Germany and France, don’t even make the top 10.

Estonia has a high rate of TEA and an above average rate of EEA. Almost 80% of businesses started in Estonia are opportunity-driven and Estonia is often cited as a model for entrepreneurially-oriented policy, says the report.