During the recent years, forming business clusters has become increasingly popular in Estonia. The clusters join several companies of the same area of activity or similar product group, to which research and educational institutions and entrepreneurship support system organisations may be added.
The main reason for forming clusters is the fact that entrepreneurs have realised it is much easier to solve challenges that companies are facing through cooperation than by acting alone. Due to the relatively small size of Estonian companies, clusters create the necessary capability and competence that ensures development for the entire sector as well as for each company individually.
Strong clusters help to improve competitiveness of Estonian economy, work with technological and product development, promote creating new companies and jobs as well as to find business partners from abroad. Through strengthening of the cluster, its influence on the sectors of economy increases, the growing clusters attract new investments and better qualified employees, because they are able to offer the best working conditions.
The business clusters are a good and trustworthy partner for foreign companies and investors. Clusters are able to offer sound solutions and ensure volume and capacity necessary for fulfilling the orders. Clusters have the knowledge and information of the area in order to create long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships. Cooperation with foreign companies for the purposes of developing trade and export could be the basis for the investments of the public sector for research and development, product and technology development and establishing infrastructures.
Estonia has established nationwide clusters based on product or service group as well as regional clusters based on the value chain. Some of the best known and strongest clusters working in Estonia are:
Estonian Logistics Cluster
The logistics sector is one of the drivers of Estonian economy and it is closely related to the development of many other areas. The Logistics Cluster joins 14 transit and logistics companies, two universities and a transit companies association. The main aims of the cluster are joint marketing of Estonia as a transit node, product development in cooperation with different transport types and improving communication with the sectors related to transit.
Estonian ICT Cluster
The aim of the cluster is to increase export of Estonian ICT products and services as well as export of other important Estonian economic sectors through developing and introducing broader and more efficient ICT-based solutions. The focus of the activities of the cluster lies on cooperation with universities for the purposes of developing curricula and preparing employees as well as cooperation with the companies of other economic sectors in order to explain common interests and introducing ICT solutions.
Wind Power Cluster
The wind power cluster was born of the wish of Estonian companies to be involved in the rapidly and innovatively evolving wind power sector. The emergence of wind power plants is connected their erection and electricity production and also provides work for many industries. There are 16 members in cluster, including companies of energy production and producing of technological solutions, as well universities and science institutions.
Estonian Woodhouse Association
The cluster for the companies exporting wooden houses was created with the aim of improving international competitiveness of the companies participating in the cluster, increase added value and export turnover. The tool for achieving the aims is international cooperation between the companies, research and development as well as educational institutions in the field of joint marketing, product development and development of competencies. The cluster joins 36 partners, 25 of whom are companies manufacturing wooden houses and the rest are professional associations, research and educational institutions as well as support organisations contributing to the development of the sector.
Estonian HealthTech Cluster
The mission of the cluster is to increase the wellbeing of people through developing and applying innovative health technology products and services in Estonia as well as international market. The cluster promotes mutual cooperation of research and development institutions, entrepreneurs and providers of medical services, and creates possibilities for improving international competitiveness of the health technology sector through partner relations. The consortium consists of 19 health care institutions as well as treatment and medical technology companies.
City of Paldiski Entrepreneurs Clusters
The region’s municipality and entrepreneurs are working side by side offering to new companies and new investments variety of services and products. Those services and products combine different value chains, what help to start and boost new business in Estonia.
City of Paldiski Entrepreneurs Clusters main competences are one of the strongest in Estonia and are in the fields of auto logistics, energy centre (including alternative energy competence centre), modern metal manufacturing, light oil and gas storing and storing goods for and from Russian and Asian markets.