Business Support for creative start-ups

Tallinn Business Incubators (TBI) has been providing business support in Tallinn, Estonia since 2006. Over the years, it has helped around 170 companies to enter the market and grow their business. However not everyone makes the cut – more than 400 have applied – as TBI needs to be sure that there is return on every invested euro, either via new jobs that have been created or increased export numbers.

TBI offers real support through business support and advice given by our team and wide network of business mentors, including exporters, experienced fashion industry professionals, marketing experts and law specialists. Each incubee has their own consultant who makes sure that the companies receive tailor-made advice. Strategies and plans are always discussed together.

Equally important is the modern and supportive physical environment, where the companies can interact with each other and where new convergent ideas have a chance to grow. The unique setting of Tallinn Creative Incubator, operating as part of TBI, sees fashion and accessory designers working alongside software companies and engineers, creating a hotbed for collaboration opportunities. TBI organises different training programmes and events, where the incubees and other companies in its network get the chance to polish existing skills and acquire new ones.

In addition, TBI acts as a promoter of the companies it works with. One way of promotion is TBI’s showroom ZERO° which is often the first place where young designers get to sell their products and get customer feedback. TBI also organises export programmes to different markets and where necessary, taps into its wide network in the Baltic Sea Region and further in Europe to help companies get their first contacts in new markets.

However, the service package that TBI offers is definitely a two-way street. The companies accepted need to be motivated and have a strong team with a capable and visionary leader. Our consultants can fill in and help with some aspects in the beginning but in the end it all depends on the team and their drive and motivation to succeed with their business idea.

The incubation programme lasts for three years. First year is all about getting the company going, putting different market entry strategies in place. Second year is spent on preparing for export activities and third year is where most companies make their first transactions on foreign markets. After three years in the programme, companies enter TBI’s alumni club and will remain active members of our network, with some of them becoming mentors to new companies.

Anu Lõhmus, CEO Tallinn Business Incubators

Maarja Pehk, Development Centre Manager, Tallinn Business Incubators