Business competency at its finest

Jukka Hahlanterä, head of Enterprise Estonia - Middle East
Jukka Hahlanterä, head of Enterprise Estonia - Middle East

EAS Enterprise Estonia serves as an interactive platform for business and trade opportunities. Jukka Hahlanterä, head of Enterprise Estonia - Middle East, shares its speciality. Excerpts from the interview:

Published: Sun 22 Mar 2020, 9:03 AM

Last updated: Sun 22 Mar 2020, 11:09 AM

Tell us a bit about Estonia, and the various investment opportunities available there.
Estonia is a small and dynamic country that has been developing bespoke products and services, particularly in the ICT sector. The e-government and digital society solutions are well known all over the world. Its clean nature and historic tradition has also made it popular as a food and wood country. Adding competent and easy-going people to the above makes it a winning combination.
What are the current economic ties between the UAE and Estonia, and the importance of the UAE as a business partner.
Looking at the trade relations between the two countries, non-oil exports from the UAE to Estonia and Estonian exports to the UAE have been on a similar level of 60 million euros. The UAE as a very dynamic and fast developing country and its importance as a non-traditional trading partner will certainly increase in the future.
Tell us about Enterprise Estonia and the significance of its Dubai office.
Enterprise Estonia is the official trade promotion office of the Estonian state that falls under the Ministry of Economy and IT, and operates own offices in 13 countries. The main purpose of the Dubai office is to advise Estonian companies in establishing presence and entering the market and to identify relevant investors. Physical presence in the UAE and GCC is a must enabler. Cooperating with the Estonian Expo 2020 organisation is an important part of activities during 2020 and 2021 as is the overall cooperation with the Estonian Embassy.
What are the common obstacles faced by Estonian and Emirati enterprises, and how does Enterprise Estonia alleviate these?
For Estonian companies, the UAE is a non-traditional export country and a market area where business dynamics and ways to enable establishment of presence differ from that in close-by markets like Europe. Enterprise Estonia helps companies with information to identify potential partners and investors and understand a company's readiness to enter the market.
Tell us about Estonian businesses currently operating in the UAE?
Few companies are physically present and some have direct exports, but the number is growing with the current efforts and help of EAS partners like the Dubai Future Foundation. Currently, various discussions between the UAE and Estonian companies are ongoing.
Below, Jukka Hahlanterä discusses the UAE and Estonia as platforms for business opportunities:
The rapid development of the UAE has been a model to many countries of how to diversify the economy, increase the well-being of its citizens and ensure a good civil society.
The UAE 2021 Vision and the UAE 2071 Vision outline the targets and level of aspiration that the country has. Functioning civil society, world-class education, and affordable and reachable healthcare are among those targets, coupled with the rapid development and implementation of AI and blockchain solutions in a cyber secure environment.
The spearhead offering of Estonia matches perfectly with the above-mentioned targets. Estonia is known already for its world-class solutions in e-governance and e-services in the UAE and the Middle East. The good image of a friendly, small but highly efficient country speaks for Estonia.
The best companies from across the world are interested in the UAE, due to its status as a hub and entry point for the whole GCC market area.
Personal relationships and a relevant network play an essential role in doing business in the UAE, thus finding the right partner and ability to invest time and resources on a personal level is the key to success, together with the right product or solution and a well-thought value proposition.
The UAE offers an excellent opportunity to grow, develop and prosper together with one of the leading countries in the world.
Enterprise Estonia
Trade Development Agency
Lasnamäe 2, 11415 Tallinn, 
Contact: +372 627 9700
Enterprise Estonia Dubai
One Sheikh Zayed Road, 
The H Dubai Office Tower, 
19th floor

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