The main topic of Entrepreneurship Week to be held from 5-9 October in four of Estonia's largest cities - Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Narva - will be innovation. Special attention will be paid to raising public awareness of the value of entrepreneurs.
Enterprise Estonia's entrepreneurship awareness coordinator Mehis Pärn says the current economic situation is practically crying out for innovative thinking - the old way just isn't good enough anymore. "To be competitive," says Pärn, "we have to bring innovation into our activities, products, strategies - and above all, into the way we think".
Besides promoting local entrepreneurs and ventures and talking about opportunities for getting started as an entrepreneur, special attention will be paid to raising the public awareness and perceptions of entrepreneurs. 5 October has been declared Entrepreneurs' Day at the initiative of Äripäev daily. Äripäev's website already includes a link for the public to nominate entrepreneurs who are deserving of mention.
Co-financed by the European Social Fund, Entrepreneurship Week will feature more than 160 seminars, training sessions, forums, quizzes, trips to companies and other events in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Narva. In Tartu, Pärnu and Narva, the events will last from Monday to Friday, while in Tallinn, the activity will be concentrated on Wednesday and Thursday.
In Pärnu, Entrepreneurship Week will feature a number of conferences, seminars and open house events along with tours of companies, conversation circles and one-day entrepreneurship fairs. Entrepreneurship Week's main event will be the international conference taking place in University of Tartu's Pärnu College on 8 October, entitled Communicating Entrepreneurship in the Baltic Sea Region. The second half of the day will be devoted to an award ceremony honouring the best entrepreneurs of the year in Pärnu County and the city of Pärnu.
In Tartu, Entrepreneurship Week events will address a different topic on each day. On Monday, creativity will be at the centre of discussion, on Tuesday, starting a business, on Wednesday, training will be provided to already operating firms, Thursday will be a day dedicated to searching for solutions, and Friday will be focused on communications. Discussion will cover product development, creativity, innovation, process management, finding financing opportunities, and resourceful marketing in difficult times. Visits to companies will provide examples from real life.
The city of Narva will open Entrepreneurship Week with the "Innovation in Practice" seminar. There will also be talk of opportunities for receiving state assistance for starting a business and funding for ideas developed by enterprising young people. Participants can learn to present and promote themselves and their companies. A business-themed game will be held for youth called Creativity, Innovation and Youth. There will be visits to companies and a student firm fair.
On 7 October, the Entrepreneurial Estonia 2009 fair will be held at the Song Festival grounds in Tallinn dedicated to providing information and practical advice on various types of entrepreneurial assistance. Admission is free and participants can register at www.ettevotjaeesti.ee. The Viru Hotel conference centre will host a conference related to young entrepreneurs.
On 8 October the Viru Hotel conference centre will host entrepreneurship events all day long. The day begins with a morning forum on the topic "Innovation - dare to be different" and continues with events such as "Innovative solutions at retailers today and tomorrow", "Innovative e-solutions for making customs procedures more effective" and a seminar on success stories, How To Be Innovative and Successful. Younger Russian-speakers can gain knowledge about entrepreneurship at the Bold Choice youth conference. A number of workshops are open in order to learn how to start a business, take part in competitions and entrepreneurship camps, and visit various companies. Entrepreneurship Day will culminate in an entrepreneurship award ceremony honouring the best Tallinn companies.
For more information (in Estonian) on Entrepreneurship Week 2009, visit www.ettevotlusnadal.ee. All of the events are free of charge to participants.
entrepreneurship awareness coordinator, Enterprise Estonia
phone 738 6011
mehis.parn @ eas.ee