TALLINN - On March 10 and 11, nine Estonian companies participated in the Information Technology & Communications Technology Show in Copenhagen, Denmark. The fair was organized by easyFairs at the Bella Center, which only a few months ago was host to the United Nations Climate Change Conference. According to Susanne Hallencreutz, easyFairs marketing manager in charge of the annual event, over 90 companies participated from all over the world, including from the United Kingdom and Bangladesh.
Estonia was well represented. “This is a knowledge event,” Hallencreutz said, describing the show that attracted over 2,500 visitors last year. “We hope that we help to drive businesses forward, and that participation in this marketing exposition provides firms an opportunity to interact, network and learn. This is a great chance to get some tips and tricks from industry insiders.”
Estonian companies have sent representatives like Adriaan Kik, a business development and export manager from Helmes, for the opportunity to showcase Estonian talents and strengths, as well as to approach specific experts in Denmark to try to find ways to cooperate in the future.
Attendance at the Fair is of significance for Estonia and the country’s economic and financial standing. Following the global financial crisis in 2008 and the anticipated currency change to the euro, it is important to boost European confidence in the country’s businesses and resources. There is significant interest and drive in expansion and export of IT-related services and products in Estonia. The economic slump has changed the layout of the IT industry. Many firms that were thriving in 2007 have gone out of business, and there is an opportunity now for the remaining and new firms to grab a share of the market in Estonia as well as abroad.
There is some optimism in the economic recovery in 2010. Andres Lips, Estonian CSD board member representing eCSD EXPERT at the Fair, explained that exporting is a relatively new business for Estonian firms, and that it is good for firms from the Baltics to be seen attending such an event. “Presence at large international fairs builds investor and partner confidence,” Lips said “and the introduction of the euro will further lower the barriers between Estonia and Europe.”
Like all attendees, Heiki Pant, the project manager at Enterprise Estonia responsible for organization of the Estonian attendance, expressed his optimism for the country’s progress in penetration of the global markets. “It’s encouraging to see Estonian companies here offering more than just outsourcing. The fact that Estonian companies here offer products with value-added services shows Estonia’s maturity in the IT sector. ”
In an effort to bolster Danish-Estonian relationships, the Estonian ambassador to Denmark, Meelike Palli, has generously offered to host a reception to introduce Estonian IT companies, and establish new business contacts between Estonian and Danish enterprises at the Estonian Embassy on March 10. “Denmark and Estonia are natural partners,” Palli stated. “This Fair has the potential to foster more cooperation. A very public example of Estonian and Danish, as well as in all fairness, Swedish cooperation is Skype. This is a great example of what can happen when people can put ideas and potential together in a collaborative effort. And, in addition to trading bilaterally, there is a possibility of Estonian companies working with Danish firms in third markets, and that is what we hope for.”
The reception was attended by representatives of eight Estonian firms, as well as representatives of four Danish companies. For the Estonian representatives, the two day Fair was viewed as an excellent learning opportunity. “Net Group branched out into exporting last year, and this is our third Fair,” Toomas Mottus, a manager with IT Infrastructure Services and Solutions at Net Group, said. “Actually, one of the best things about coming has been meeting people from other Estonian firms. We’re optimistic. This year, many firms are looking to replace IT equipment that they had waited to upgrade for two years, but had postponed due to the economic downturn. We made a profit last year, and this year is expected to be an even better year.”