The 15th season of Ajujaht, the largest accelerator of business ideas in Estonia, is about to begin
The 15th season of Ajujaht, the largest start-up accelerator programme in Estonia, is about to begin. Teams can apply for the Ajujaht programme until 8 May. The programme, which lasts until the end of the year and was created by the joint agency of Enterprise Estonia and KredEx, is based on long-term experience and aims to support the rapid growth of start-ups. Participants will receive more than 300,000 euros in grants and investments this year.
According to Eve Peeterson, the Head of Startup Estonia, the role of start-ups in the Estonian economy cannot be underestimated as they already pay approximately 125 million euros a year in labour taxes to Estonia, create knowledge, and attract foreign talent. Many of these success stories began in the Ajujaht programme.
“In view of the small population of Estonia, the number of Estonian start-ups as well as the number of unicorns is an important indicator that we have excellent ideas, a strong ecosystem, and a network of organisations to support start-ups. The goal of the Ajujaht programme is nothing less than to change the world, and the programme this year is designed to put a start to the next international success stories,” Peeterson explained.
She added that the 15th season of Ajujaht is special in many ways and has been significantly renewed compared to previous years. We are still looking for outstanding business ideas, but above all, existing teams and companies which need additional impetus to reach the next level with their start-ups are welcome to apply this year.
The start-ups selected for the competition will go through a full-scale accelerator programme. The ultimate goal of the programme is to help the companies become scalable and ready for investments. Among other things, support is provided in finding the first customers, entering export markets, and raising capital.
A record number of key mentors have been involved in the programme this year, providing practical advice to the teams throughout the programme.
According to Andra Altoa, Head of Strategy at SEB Baltic, which is a long-term supporter of the Ajujaht programme, all of the unicorns in Estonia today have gotten to where they are now with small steps and thanks to a motivated team that really wants to achieve something. Therefore, everyone who has a vision and lots of motivation is welcome to apply.
“This year, the goal of Ajujaht is to offer the participants the most effective programme and to help as many start-ups as possible to be ready for investments. Although only one team will win the TV show, all participants in the programme receive a high level of expert advice and are able to build a strong business network both in Estonia and abroad,” added Altoa.
This year, the prize fund is more than 300,000 euros, and the supporters of the programme will also hand out several thematic special prizes. Applications can be submitted until 8 May on the website of Ajujaht. The 8-part TV show about the exciting programme and the development of the teams will be broadcast on ETV from October to December.
The Ajujaht accelerator programme and TV competition is a collaboration between the public and private sectors. It was initiated by the joint agency of Enterprise Estonia and KredEx. Over the years, nearly 5,000 business ideas have been submitted to Ajujaht, and several of them have grown into local and international success stories. The best-known examples include Bolt, Bikeep, Click & Grow, GoWorkaBit, FoodDocs, Groveneer, Timbeter, and many others.