October 13, 2019

Accelerate Estonia (aEstonia)

Description of the core change(s) brought by this policy instrument

Accelerate Estonia (aEstonia) is new tool for public sector innovation that allows for exploring the public domains which are ripe for disruption and build models that would bring about that disruption.

Please list the implementing agencies

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, via the Startup Estonia program. Also in close collaboration with Tehnopol Science Park and Incubator.

Please name the policy advisor(s) or leader(s) who have been key in introducing and/or designing this policy instrument

Mikk Vainik, Project Lead for Smart Economy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia

Viljar Lubi, Secretary-General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Accelerate Estonia was launched at the beginning of 2019, when Viljar Lubi and Mikk Vainik from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications were trying to figure out, which are the challenges different ministries are tackling and solving and how are the ideas and projects chosen in general.

Mikk Vainik took the idea to the 2018 Startup Nations Policy Hack in Indonesia, and received feedback from an international team based on the Lean Policy Canvas. He continued to develop the program in close collaboration with the Estonian tech ecosystem.

Lifecycle of target firms for this policy instrument
Existing SMEs
Start-up firms
If you marked "start-up" and/or "scale-up" firms, please provide the specific definitions used

Early-stage ideas.

Support offered
Indirect Financial Support
Non-financial Support
Level of intervention
Barrier(s) addressed with this policy tool
Access to Markets
Ecosystem Engagement/Coordination
Abstract summary of this Policy resource

In close collaboration with the tech ecosystem, the Estonian government is exploring the public domains which are ripe for disruption and build models that would bring about that disruption.

Policy timeline

In the pilot phase, Startup Estonia called for applications over the months of June-July 2019.  70 ideas were entered into the program, across 10 policy areas.

Over July-August 2019, around 10 community building events were conducted to discuss the problems more thoroughly. 

The top 17 ideas, as chosen by a panel of policymakers, entered into a 48h Moonshot hackathon in September 2019.  Four moonshot ideas emerged victorious from the 48h hackathon.

The teams behind these ideas receive attention of the government, up to 100 000 EUR to support their work, a 9-month contract for the project manager and a possibility to engage extra resources and services. If within 9 months (March-April 2020), the ideas turn out to be successful, the government will continue supporting them. 

Stated goal/metrics of the policy instrument

In the pilot phase, the Ministry aims to help 4 concepts that have the potential to create new markets while solving some of the thorniest issues in society.

Evidence of results

As of October 2019, aEstonia, via government-private sector collaboration, has:

  • Built top-down and bottom-up support for aEstonia as a policy tool that can boost entrepreneurship and innovation in Estonia.
  • Defined which are policy areas ripe for disruption.
  • Built the community to discuss and validate problems.
Notes and additional context

Inspired by the success of the e-residency program, the policy leaders behind this program sought to create a system to accelerate innovative public policy ideas, taking into account how e-Residency was developed. 


Related news:

State invests €600,000 in 'risky' startups hoping to find next e-residency (Nov 2019)

Geographic scope