WiFi on every street corner (most of it free). Technical excellence at local technology universities. A young and hungry population. Widespread e-banking and even e-voting. A reputation for producing the talent that coded Skype. Estonia is powering ahead as a technology hub, and not just because it’s wages are lower than comparatively expensive Sweden and Finland.
Everything I’ve seen here in Tallin, the capital, says Estonia has what it takes to the the “Ireland of the North”.
However there are just two things they are not doing well. One is that they are not marketing their capabilities to the outside world very well (although large sections of the tech and mobile world are beating a path to their door, so perhaps they don;t need to right now).
The other – and this is not a damning criticism by any stretch – is that the Finns and the Swedes trump Estonians on the English language. That’s not some Old England view, just a fact of life in business these days, where English is the Lingua Franca.
Other than that I don’t see any reason why quite a lot of the technology we use won’t be Estonian made in a few years time.
One more thought: St Petersburg looks like it may be the next tech hub. A triumvirate of Helsinki, Tallinn and St Petersburg could well from a real powerhouse in years to come.