Estonia has enjoyed success stories

Abstract:

Estonia has enjoyed success stories in ICT implementation in a broad field of public and private sectors for last 15-20 years. The key event for that development was the launching of the Tiger Leap program in Estonian schools, 1996. The program fully equipped schools with computers and Internet access and other ICT services. Computer science classes were provided in 84% of schools in the following eight years. Since 2014 World Economic Forum considered Estonia among innovation-driven knowledge-based societies, and some years later – being hidden entrepreneurship champion in Europe. Besides, Estonia has become one of the developed startup ecosystems where young ICT companies are booming. These events mentioned above refer to the successful combination of educational and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Estonia. The paper aims to disclose the role of ICT as the engine of the innovation-driven development in a small society. Findings of the study show a growing importance of digital technology, ICT startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the welfare of Estonian citizens.

I. Introduction

Estonia, a small country (1.3 million residents), has earned much international attention because of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the second half of 2017. One of the main events organized for this period is “a digital summit for open-minded discussions about Europe’s digital future” [1:19]. Many of the ideas raised at the summit come from everyday practice: Estonia has enjoyed success stories in ICT implementation in a broad field of public and private sectors for last 15–20 years. The key event for that development was the launching of the Tiger Leap program in Estonian schools, 1996. The program fully equipped schools with computers and Internet access and other ICT services. Computer science classes were provided in 84% of schools in the following eight years [2], and computer skills started to call a new literacy. An e-governance program, making Estonian Government’s assemblies paper-free was launched in 2000. Many public e-services including electronic identity card and based on that authentication and digital signing of documents enabled ‘one stop shop’ portal (www.eesti.ee). This is a Gateway to e-Estonia where the citizen can apply practically all state services, for example, electronic voting, the Electronic Health Registry and e-Prescription, not to mention tax declaration or registering of buying-selling a car. Particular attention on international level was evoked by the e-residency system following changes to the residency legislation in 2014 [3].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.