Laying the groundwork for partnership with the Silicon Valley of the Baltics

Recently, the Xamk delegation from the Online Training Business Services unit found ourselves on an exciting journey to Ülemiste City in Tallinn. Invited by our partners, we were eager to build upon the existing collaboration which commenced last winter with the testing of online micro-courses for talents from their companies—a test that proved successful.

This visit aimed to explore additional collaborative avenues and it did not disappoint, yielding an abundance of insights and potential collaborations. Let’s dive in!

Ülemiste City, situated on the eastern edge of Tallinn near Lake Ülemiste, is a burgeoning business hub, rightfully dubbed the ”Silicon Valley of the Baltics”. What began as the historic Dvigatel factory complex has transformed into a vibrant smart city, attracting IT, high-tech firms, startups, and service enterprises.

Nearly 500 companies are doing business in Ülemiste City, today earning a total turnover of more than 2 billion per year. Based on the labor tax coming in from business ventures, the contribution of Ülemiste City to the Estonian economy is on the third place after Tallinn and Tartu.

What makes Ülemiste City stand out is its focus on creating a sustainable and thriving work environment. Picture this: instead of the usual vending machine junk, there were carrots and broccoli at the snack stations! Yes, you heard that right—it might take some getting used to, but your waistline will thank you later. The commitment to sustainability extends to recycling and the use of reusable kitchenware, exemplified by convenient drop-off points for these items throughout the campus.

Oh, and did I mention the botanical garden right in the office? It’s as if Mother Nature herself decided to go corporate! And for those of you who think it can’t get any better—Ülemiste City is dog-friendly. That’s right, your furry friend can tag along, making every day ’bring your dog to work day’. Talk about a morale booster.

On the educational front, the city houses the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences that cater closely to the business ecosystem’s needs, thereby ensuring a continuous pipeline of skilled professionals.

Transportation infrastructure is another strong point for Ülemiste City, located adjacent to Tallinn’s main airport and the upcoming Rail Baltic terminal. This proximity enhances its attractiveness to international businesses and provides excellent connectivity.

The digital infrastructure is equally impressive, bolstered by Estonia’s renowned e-governance systems, incorporating AI and Internet of Things (devices communicating with each other wirelessly) to streamline business operations. During our visit, we witnessed innovative uses of technology, including office doors that could be opened with a simple hand gesture, thanks to embedded chips. They’re even testing robots and CO2 level monitors for tracking tiredness that would make any tech aficionado’s heart skip a beat.

Future development plans for Ülemiste City are ambitious and aim towards more intelligent buildings, eco-friendly transport solutions, and expansion of residential areas, further positioning it as a model for global urban development.

The visit also highlighted successful initiatives like a corporate university model, which integrates work and study, and startups like Key2Enable, which empowers people with disabilities, enriching our understanding and appreciation of Ülemiste City’s inclusive culture.

In conclusion, Ülemiste City is a beacon of urban innovation, merging technological advancement with sustainable development. As XAMK looks forward to tapping into this energetic pool of innovation, we’ve already started mapping out our next steps with forums, collaborations, and more. Here’s to laying down the groundwork for a partnership that’s very exciting. Stay tuned, because things are just getting started!

We would like to thank you our partners, Eneken Titov from Mainor, real estate developer of Ülemiste, and Margit Puik and Anrdres Aia from the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences.

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