EXPO Estonian pavilion visited by 3 million people
The Estonian pavilion at Expo Milan world exhibition has been visited by three million people, which is a record for the country so far.
“If one compares this figure to the size of Estonian population, then undoubtedly, it is a big number of which to be proud. At the same time, we hope that over the remaining week and a half, many more would still find their way to our pavilion,” said Andres Kask from Estonian delegation.
Kask added that over the past month, the number of visitors at EXPO has continuously increased: “There are hours-long queues in the pavilions and people seize this final opportunity to experience the world exhibition.”
Built from 100 unique wooden modules and open from three sides where visitors can follow their own path of exploring the exhibition, Estonian pavilion has stood out this time.
In May, CNN included it among the 24 most impressive designs at the exhibition. "Three floors of shifting wooden blocks create the "nesting boxes" which contain the best of Estonia's culinary culture, with food and drinks inspired by its nature. Energy swings at the ground floor can be used by visitors to produce electricity and see how much effort translates into the energy required for everyday tasks like charging a phone," the American TV-channel said.
According to the architects behind the design, the Estonian pavilion indicates that the country is in constantly changing process and development.
The Estonia pavilion displays the exhibits of 40 Estonian companies and organizations. Participation in the EXPO 2015 cost Estonia an estimated 3.7 million euros.
EXPO Milan opened in May 1 and runs until October 31, 2015.
Two Estonian companies in top 10 in Baltics
The most valuable company in the Baltic states continues to be Sweden's Swedbank, with a value of 3.9 billion euros, up 22 percent in a year.
SEB, also a Swedish bank, is up one place in second with a market worth of 1.9 billion, up 19 percent.
Estonia's ferry and hotel group Tallink is third, having fallen one place. Tallink's value fell by 12 percent to 1.6 billion euros.
Eesti Energia, the Estonian-state-owned company is fourth. The energy giant's market worth fell from 1.4 to 1.27 billion euros.
Vopak E.O.S, an Estonian-based oil terminal operator, has fallen out of the top 10.
Lithuania's Maxima is fifth (1.07 billion euros, up from 976 million), followed by Latvenergo of Latvia (1.07 billion, down from 1.3 billion), Lietuvos Geležinkeliai of Lithuania (1.03 billion, up from 891 million euro), Lietuvos Energija of Lithuania (down from 880 from 944 million euro), Latvia's Latvijas Valsts Meži (up from 801 to 810 million) and Norwegian bank DNB (new on the list with 723 million euros).
The annual top 10 Baltic companies list is compiled by Pridentia and Nasdaq Riga.
Construction company Kodumaja named business of the year 2015
Enterprise Estonia (EAS) announced the winners of the second annual business awards in a televized gala on Thursday evening. Estonia's Business of the Year is Kodumaja, a group of companies that specialize in construction of high-quality housing.
Head of EAS Hanno Tomberg said that Kodumaja is an excellent example of a company that is based on Estonian capital and has managed to succeed on both local and international level. "Export is the magic word that helps our businesses and economy grow," he said, adding that Kodumaja exports almost 100 percent of its produce, with a turnover of 52 million euros.
Over 90 percent of the housing is built by Kodumaja group in Nordic countries. The company specializes on design and construction from prefabricated wooden frame modules.
Winners of EAS Enterpreneurship Award 2015:
Foreign Investor of the Year: Westaqua-Invest
Most Competitive Companies 2015:
Large Enterprise of the Year: Merko Ehitus
Most competitive by area:
Service: Olympic Entertainment Group
Young Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Indrek Ulst from Mooncascade.
Minimum wage set to rise
Workers unions and a public conciliator have reached an agreement to raise the national minimum wage to 430 euros in 2016 and 470 euros in 2017.
The national minimum wage in Estonia is currently 390 euros per month.
The Estonian Employers’ Confederation announced a week ago that they will accept the offer, after having rejected the one for 440 and 460 euros respectively beforehand.
Peep Peterson, the head of the Employers’ Confederation, said that although the amount of 470 euros takes them close to the 40 percent of average wage, it is still below the relative poverty threshold. "So we have to keep pressuring the industry," Peterson said.
TransferWise co-founders receive award in London
Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, the Estonian co-founders of international money transfer firm TransferWise, were named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2015 winners.
The award recognises leaders of a young company that demonstrate innovation, strategic direction, entrepreneurial vision, financial performance, passion and social impact. The awards program runs in 145 cities in more than 60 countries.
London-based TransferWise was praised by the judging panel for its simple but innovative approach to disrupting the traditional payments industry.
“It’s a great achievement by the whole team to win this award. We’re only at the beginning of our mission of making the world of finance a little fairer. Our goal is to bring low-cost, fast and fair international money transfers to everyone who needs to send money abroad,” Käärmann said, upon collecting the award.
TransferWise was launched in 2011 in London by Hinrikus and Käärmann, who were frustrated with the fees charged by banks on international money transfer.
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is sponsored by Ernst & Young, multinational professional services firm headquartered in London.