State will start to offer ICT training for people with different backgrounds. During the upcoming years the Ministry of Economy will spend about 8 million euros of European money for increasing the number of IT-specialists and developing the IT-proficiency of people outside the field. The plan comprises opening new subjects in the universities, that are meant to increase IT-literacy of people from social sciences, and offering short intensive trainings of about 3 months. Such trainings have already been offered by the companies Codeborne, Tieto and Nortal. (Eesti Päevaleht, page 7, June 2, 2015)

P11 Estonian IT-companies Aktors, Net Group and Võrguvara are jointly creating a new electronic data system for Iraq court. Electronic system will be fully applied in all stages of the court within 9 months. The cost of the project is 5 million euros. (Äripäev, page 11, June 3, 2015)

Estonian start-up helps to optimize taxes. A new web service offered by a company Viatax offers a service to register a company in some different country in order to win from taxation conditions. According to Viatax 38 companies already registered in Latvia during May. Latvia offers an attractive taxation for up to 3-year-old companies with up to 5 employees that only have to pay a flat tax of 9% of the turnover. Viatax offers its service also in Latvia, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Malta, Singapore and Ireland. (Äripäev, page 7, June 8, 2015)

Estonia is a leader in economic freedom. According to the index of economic freedom, Estonia holds a second place after Switzerland in Europe and at the 8th place in the world. Estonia has clear legislation, rules are transparent, establishing a company is simple, bureaucracy small and corruption close to negligible. From the negative side Estonia could improve its position in the sub-index of government expenses that was the only measure that had worsened during the past year. (Äripäev, page 6, June 9, 2015)

Estonian company Kodumaja Plc is constructing the highest wooden building in the world. The 51 m high apartment-building with 14 stories should be completed in Bergen, Norway by the end of this year. The modules that were used in the building were manufactured in Kodumaja Plc Tartu factory. The project has attracted remarkable media attention in Norway and the progress of construction works has been reported both by the newspapers and TV channels. Such attention should have a positive effect to the whole Estonian wooden houses industry. Unfortunately the origin of the building company is often not known for the general public, but only for the specialists. (Äripäev, page 16-17, June 10, 2015)

LHV Bank(エストニアの市中銀行),電子決済アプリを提供
LHV bank started to offer a new mobile application Cuber for its costumer that allows making payments with mobile phones for replacing cash payments. (Äripäev, page 14, June 17, 2015)

Tallinn Airport recently installed innovative Sleeping Pods that allow passengers to lay down, when waiting for their flight. Sleeping Pods have attracted significant attention in the world and Tallinn Airport is the 5th airport making them available (after Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Helsinki and Amsterdam). (Äripäev, page 15, June 17, 2015)

The statistics about the size of minimum salary in Europe shows 10 times difference between the lowest minimum salary of 184 euros in Bulgaria and 1923 euros in Luxemburg. When normalized to the purchasing power, the difference decreases to a factor of four (380 euros vs. 1561 euros); Estonian normalized minimum salary is the fourth lowest in Europe. The fraction of minimum salary in comparison to median salary is the lowest in Estonia and Check republic (40%). (Äripäev, page 18, June 17, 2015)

Estonian start-ups were successful at Europas awards – Europe’s tech startup Oscars – that took place in London on Tuesday night. Pipedrive, which creates software for sales, won the Best B2B Startup of the Year award and the founders of TransferWise, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, were considered to be the best startup founders. A third Estonian start-up Wire, that offers innovative communication solution, was highlighted at the category of the start-ups with fastest growth. Jaan Tallinn, one of the developers and cofounder of Skype, was nominated for the Best Angel/Seed Investor of the Year. (Äripäev, page 3, June 18, 2015)

One of Europe’s leading pellet producers Graanul Invest already plans the next big expansion with buying 50% share in the forestry company Roger Puit. Graanul Invest is expanding its activities both in Estonia and Latvia. Few weeks ago the company announced acquiring Latvian largest pellet producer Latgran and with this transaction Graanul Invest raised to the TOP 20 of Estonian largest companies. The approximate value of Roger Puit is about 44 million euros, the sales of shares still needs to be authorized by Estonian Competition Authority. Currently Graanul Invest has four pellet factories in Estonia, two in Latvia and one in Lithuania, hiring about 400 people in total. (Äripäev, page 4-5, June 18, 2015)

Estonian start-up Adcash (offers innovative advertising solutions) predicts further growth. Adcash recently opened a new office in Barcelona additionally to the existing branches in Bulgaria, Mexico and France. Adcash headquarters in Tallinn hires 85 people. The total amount of employees including all branches is 125. The company plans to employ 60 more people by the end of this year. (Äripäev, page 8, June 19, 2015)

The net profit of Liviko rose by 27% last year, while the export decreased by 22%.Liviko has given up some low-profit subcontract work and the situation in Russia and Ukraine affects one of the important export markets. (Äripäev, page 14, June 29, 2015)

The golden age of TV is over. Young people listen two times less radio and watch 30% less TV than 11 years ago. Slight decrease in the popularity of TV and radio is visible in all age groups, but significant change happened for younger generation: average TV hours per day have decreased from 2.5h to 1h and 44minutes and average hours of listening to the radio from 3.5h to less than two hours. The worry of parents that children watch too much TV has been replaced by a worry that children spend too long hours with a computer. (Postimees, page 6-7, July 7, 2015)

Competition Authority allowed Olerex to buy Lukoil chain of 37 gas stations. Olerex now acquires 100% of Lukoil Estonia shares. After the transaction is finalized, Olerex will become the largest gas-station chain in Estonia with 87 stations. (Postimees, page 10, July 7, 2015)

Enterprise Estonia plans to introduce e-residency in US by a media campaign. Estonian Information Systems Authority (RIA) has announced a procurement in the volume of 160 000 euros for finding partners in US. The campaign would take place in spring 2016 and is funded by the Fund of European Regional Development. Currently Estonia has more than 2000 e-residents from 83 countries and more than 1500 additional applications have been submitted. (Postimees, page 10, July 7, 2015)

Estonian internet company Erply that offers business software hopes to help Greece out from the crisis. Erply is able to offer efficient solutions for collecting taxes, which is the largest challenge in Greece at the moment. Erply would see an immediate increase in tax revenues once the system is modernized. Erply sees that Greece has very bad reputation but enormous potential and Estonian companies should definitely investigate this market. Erply has been interested in Greek market since 2009, when they received their first investments. Then the local partners remained weak, but this time Erply wishes to take initiative. Currently negotiations with Greek ministry of economy are ongoing and upcoming weeks should give clarity. Erply has a vision how to change the history of a country and help it back to a good track. (Eesti Päevaleht, page 2-3, July 8, 2015)

The second Estonian satellite project plans to send a new cube-satellite to a 600 km high orbit latest by 2018. The project is carried out by the TUT innovation center Mektory together with partner companies. Satellite will fly with a velocity of 8 m/s and orbits around Earth 14-15 times per day, flying over Estonia at least once a day. The task of the satellite will be to save images of Earth’s surface both in visible and infrared spectrum. This time the focus of the project is more engineering and technical side of satellite creation and handling. More than 30 students (mostly TUT master students) from 9 different nationalities are currently involved in the project. (Postimees, page 6-7, July 9, 2015)

Swedbank daughter office of Estonia plans to pay more than 500 million euros of dividends to its owners this year. The state budget would receive 130 million euros as additional income tax as a result. According to the minister of finance Sven Sester, a potential surplus in state’s budget resulting from such non-recurrent income would be directed to the reserves. (Postimees, page 9, July 9, 2015)

Estonian start-up ZeroTurnaround received 5 million dollars of additional investments. ZeroTurnaround develops solutions that help software developers to increase working efficiency. These products are currently used by more than 4000 companies and development teams. The company plans to use additional investments for product development and employment of new talents. Estonian team plans to employ 30 more people. (Äripäev, page 10, July 13, 2015)

Japanese business giant bought Estonian start-up. Rakuten, one of the biggest e-trade companies in the world, bought Estonian start-up Fits.me that offers virtual fitting-room service. According to the founding member Heikki Haldre, the collaboration with Rakuten started in November last year, when Enterprise Estonia arranged a meeting between Japanese delegation and Estonian technology companies. CEO of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani got interested in Estonian start-ups, when president Ilves visited Tokyo in March 2014. In November Enterprise Estonia invited Mikitani for a visit to Estonia, during which he met with the founding members of Fits.me. Mikitani also received e-residency as a present from Taavi Kotka, CIO of Estonia, who commented yesterday that we are likely to see new investments soon. Headquarters of Fits.me is situated in London starting from 2012. Development center, lab and photo studio that works in collaboration with Tartu University are situated in Tartu, Estonia, employing 50 people in total. The number of employees in Estonia is likely to increase as the company is foreseen to grow faster than before. The collaboration with such a large company has importance for Estonia as a whole andmight be an interesting perspective also for the future. (Postimees, page 11, July 14, 2015)

Estonian kayak-producer Tahe Outdoors bought two market-leaders in Germany. In autumn the company plans to move the production units from Germany to Estonia for higher efficiency. The transaction significantly strengthens the position of the company in Western and Central Europe. The long term goal is to become clear market leader in Europe in water sport equipment.  (Äripäev, page 4-5, July 15, 2015)

Foreign students wish to stay in Estonia. More than half of the foreign students in Tallinn University of Technology plan to find a job in Estonia after graduation. The fraction is 2/3 among the master students. 80% of the students in Chemistry and Materials Science, 66% in IT, 64% in Mechanics and 62% of Natural Sciences wish to start working in Estonia after acquiring the diploma. Most of Indian and Turkish students wish to join their career with Estonia, while only 10% of Finnish students wish to stay. 60% of foreign students learn Estonian during the studies. (Äripäev, page 6, July 15, 2015)

Following the example of Estonia, Finland sets up X-road(Estonia’s data-exchange platform). According to the long-awaited agreement that was signed two weeks ago, Estonia and Finland become the first European countries that develop common data-exchange platform and make digital services simultaneously available in both countries. Both Estonia and Finland start using the newest version of data-exchange layer X-road already this year. In Estonia the process is coordinated by the Information System Authority (RIA) and in Finland by the Population Register Centre. The set-up of X-road in both countries improves the compatibility of e-services and enables to create international solutions. According to RIA, Latvian entrepreneurs have also started discussing about using e-services in the state level. (Postimees, page 8, July 17, 2015)

Kosaku Yamaguchi – the foreign representative of Enterprise Estonia in Japan – was one of the key persons behind the success of the Fits.me and Rakuten deal. Kosaku Yamaguchi says that Estonian IT solutions are well known in Japan and Estonia has become increasingly known as Estonia and not as a part of Baltic States or Europe. Yamaguchi believes that Estonia should rather concentrate on the export of IT-solutions. In case of food products Estonian production-capacity is not sufficient to manage the necessary volumes for a market of 126 million people. (Eesti Päevaleht, page 12, July 17, 2015)

Business magazine Bloomerang Markets rated SEB to be 12th and Swedbank 13th strongest bank in the world. The first place in the world was given to Hang Seng bank in Hong Kong. Finnish OP Financial group was rated to be the strongest bank in Europe.  (Äripäev, page 9, August 7, 2015)

Export increased by 3% in June in comparison to June 2014. Comparing the first half of the year of 2015 to the same period of 2014, export has decreased by 1%. During the first half of the year the export increased most in the direction of Sweden and decreased most to Russia. Export to new markets shows a positive development with an increase by 10%. The strongest export destinations were Sweden (mainly electric devices and timber, 20%), Finland (mainly electric devices and metal products, 16%) and Latvia (mainly mineral products and food products, 10%). Total volume of export was 1 milliard euros and import 1.2 milliard euros with a trade deficit of 145 million euros that is slightly smaller than in June 2014. (Äripäev, page 6, August 11, 2015)

A support to Rail Baltic project has recovered. 74% of the respondents consider the potential influence of Rail Baltic to Estonia to be positive and 68% support establishing the Rail Baltic railway connection. (Äripäev, page 12, August 11, 2015)

Estonian start-up Medikeep that offers a reminder of home pharmacy in the smart phone, received 50 000 euros of investment from the pharmaceutical giant Bayer HealthCare. The first version of the product was created in April 2014 during Garage48, an event that enables startups to carry out various business initiatives – participants need to realize their idea to the vendible level within 48 hours. (Äripäev, page 10, August 12, 2015)

In case the weather remains good we can expect extraordinarily good grain harvest, which means larger export. In 2014 grain export volume increased by 19% in comparison to 2013 and this year might bring another growth. It is the first year, when more than half of Estonian production would go to export – the reason is both good harvest and decreased domestic consumption. Last year the largest export market was Saudi Arabia, followed by Germany and Kenia. Swine Fever is likely to have only a short-term influence to feed market; larger farms are expected to recover fast. (Postimees, page 11, August 18, 2015)