President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, accompanied by his wife Ieva, visited a number of Tartu-based IT companies today.
They met with representatives of the local startup community at a venue provided by Garage48 HUB in Tartu — there recent developments in the business environment in Tartu were discussed.
Tartu startups were represented by:
- Rein Lemberpuu: Contriber, sTARTUp HUB, and SPARK
- Aleksander Tõnnisson: Buildit hardware-accelerator
- Marti Soosaar: SportID
- Priit Salumaa: Mooncascade
- Triin Kask: GreenhouseCI
- Jüri Kaljundi: Weekdone
- Richard Murutar: SprayPrinter
- Janek Timmas: Waystone
A Closer Look at the Business Environment in Tartu
The discussion focused on:
- Why Tartu is a favorable place for startup enterprises
- The joint efforts employed by the City of Tartu, the University of Tartu, and the local business community
An essential feature highlighted, was the willingness of experienced operators to contribute toward boosting business activity in the local community. Skills and knowledge critical to startup companies were listed, pointing out ways in which experienced operators are able to lend a helping hand.
“It is applaudable that President Ilves is always willing to promote local startups abroad. He was very interested in us sharing information with him about current goings-on in the IT field in Tartu and about Tartu-based companies so that he might share our tweets with his Twitter followers, for example,” said Triin Kask, co-founder of GreenhouseCI.
President Ilves presented ideas on how to amplify the global reach and visibility of local startups. He promised to employ all of his personal efforts in promoting Estonian startups abroad (both now and after his term as the President of the Republic of Estonia).
sTARTUp Day 2016, sTARTUp Hub, and SPARK
Rein Lemberpuu took advantage of the opportune moment to invite the head of state to sTARTUp Day 2016, a tech conference to be held in Tartu on December 9 (the event is expected to host more than one thousand IT and business enthusiasts).
Taking President Ilves’ advice, a separate Twitter username – @sTARTUpTartu – was set up today for the startup community in Tartu. The username can be put into immediate use to share information about the upcoming event.
Two particular buildings have emerged as the centerpiece for IT, technology, and hardware companies in Tartu — sTARTUp Hub in Town Hall Square and the SPARK building (a stone’s throw away across the river on Narva mnt).
The buildings are the home base for 200+ startuppers from more than 30 different companies. Rein Lemberpuu estimates that approximately 4000 IT specialists operate in Tartu today, with the number growing continuously.