The Birth of New Nordic Tech Valley

The Nordic region's ambition to establish itself as a central hub for deep technology in Europe is not only a progressive vision but also a strategic necessity. As we navigate increasingly demanding economic problems, deep technology is paramount to fuel future economic growth. Compared to the US and Asia, Europe is lagging behind in the effective implementation of research results to businesses. To develop world-class deep technologies and compete in the global market, we need to combine resources and act as a unified region.

Estonia has set an ambitious target: to quintuple the number of DeepTech startups by 2030. With the launch of cooperation reports between Estonia, Finland, and Sweden, the Nordic Tech Valley concept was born, and the first Nordic Tech Talks panel was initiated by Startup Estonia and EstVCA during Latitude59. 

We invited prominent tech ecosystem representatives, this time from Estonia, Finland, and Sweden together to discuss ways of pooling resources for better global visibility and becoming a center of gravity for DeepTech talent and investments with 2 topics:

  • “How can we maximize the deal flow of the most outstanding research and business prospects to the region?", and
  • „How can we increase the pool of top international talent in the Nordic Tech Valley?”

What did we find? Solving the European Paradox: Fostering Innovation and Attracting Talent in the Nordic Tech Valley.

The European Paradox - the gap between scientific progress and commercial innovation - remains a key challenge for the region. However, with the right strategies, we believe we can convert this paradox into opportunity.

During the Nordic Tech Talks, two primary questions were the focus of our panels: how to maximize the flow of high-quality research and business prospects to our region, and how we can attract the best international talent.


The proximity of venture capitalists to academia could unlock incredible potential. Imagine VCs awaiting in university lobbies, ready to invest in promising research teams. We see the potential for a more robust public-private partnership model, where public funding serves as a catalyst for private investment.

Yet, the most crucial factor remains talent. If we can attract and cultivate talent, capital will undoubtedly follow.


The Nordic Tech Valley must become a magnet for international talent. The unique blend of urgency, scarcity, and hunger in our region presents opportunities that can attract ambitious individuals.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have a full understanding of what motivates talent to move and choose their career paths. This blindness often leads to misguided competition between cities within the region. It's time for a shift in mindset.

Programs like the startup visa initiative in Estonia serve as excellent blueprints. We need more countries to adopt and adapt such initiatives, enhancing the appeal of our region as a whole.

The mantra "fail fast, learn fast" is apt. Rapid iteration and learning from mistakes will hasten our growth and innovation.


  • We need to shift our mindset from the local game to the regional, create regional resource pools and build on each other’s strengths and experience: Sweden's long-term view, Finland's funding model, and Estonia's flexibility. Talent will attract talent, and successful startups will attract other startups.
  • To accelerate the development of science and technology-intensive entrepreneurship, a favorable regulatory environment for the development and use of innovative technologies must also be created. An example given was the medical sector's innovation, often hindered by strict EU regulations.

What next?

The StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2023 named Estonia as the third top startup hub in the Nordics, following Sweden and Finland. Estonia is a country with a small population, but according to the report, we have an impressive ecosystem and have successfully positioned ourselves as leaders in IT, cyber technology, and digital government.

So we initiate the New Nordic Tech Valley and involve Scandinavian countries in joint entrepreneurship incubators, accelerators, cross-border mentorship, and development programs, and regional development initiatives.

The first Nordic Tech Valley Talks event was attended by 100 distinguished guests and has sparked a lot of further buzz and activity. 

To delve deeper into these discussions, see the photos and panel recording of the event, and visit the homepage of the initiative for more information.

Listen to the panel here
See the website and read an article covering the event here 
Gallery here

The blog post was written by: Marina Bachmann and Ettie Mikita.

Startup Estonia connects and supports Estonian startups and develops the sectoral ecosystem. The Estonian Business and Innovation Agency implement the Startup Estonia program. SmartCap implements the activities of the Startup Estonia research accelerator. The Startup Estonia program (project number EU50651) is financed from the resources of the European Regional Development Fund.

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