Top ideas for making Estonia a better place
Eestlased Eestis 13 Jan 2013  EWR
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Toomas Hõbemägi, BBN
Below is a short list of top ideas received in the framework of [the] Successful Estonia contest aimed at making Estonia a better place.

It's a joint project between Äripäev, EMT, Tallinna Kaubamaja and Danske Bank. The contest lasts from June 1, 2012 until March 1, 2013. The main prize is 10,000 euros, second prize is 3,000 euros and third prize is 2,000 euros.

1. Estonian enterprises should focus on growth markets
Estonian exporters should focus not on Germany or Sweden, but on developing economies where middle classes are still developing and the market is not so rigidly developed and regulated. This would create possibilities for Estonian entrepreneurs that are not available in developed markets.

2. Set up state mortgage guarantee system
Government should inject more capital into real estate by creating guarantee mechanisms that allow banks to lend more for mortgages and property developer and increase internal demand and income earned from the real estate sector

3. Make public sector more efficient
Introduce a system where public sector employees are required to prove their competence on a regular basis. The objective is to decrease public sector expanditure by 4% of state budget volume.

4. Attract foreign brains into Estonian universities
3,000 foreigners with doctor’s degree in Estonian universities would create at least 1,000 international seed companies.

5. Set up a state property fund
The state should save at least 150 million euros a year and invest it wisely so that it builds up a reserve of almost two billion euros in ten years. This means that in 20 years we would have as many money in the state property fund as is our next year’s budget volume.

6. Estonian department stores should expand to Europe
Estonia should open department stores of good Estonian goods in some European city to promote exports and raise awareness about Estonia.

7. Build more themeparks for children
State should build more theme parks for children based on popular literary characters such as the Lotte themepark, Inventors’ Village, Kalevipoeg village, etc.

8. Set up Ministry for Social Cohesion
The new department would take over the functions of the regional minister and the former popular minister and focus on supporting young people, developing new ideas and benefiting from the wisdom of senior citizens.

9. Making Estonia Smart
Introduce the smartness factor that is measured by the registered intellectual property per capita.

10. Entrepreneurs must learn to speak Russian and Swedish
Estonia is a door between Scandinavia and Russia and this would reinforce this position.

Other top ideas include allowing mothers receiving parental benefits to do part-time work without losing income, introduce an institute of state treasurer who would replace Finance Minister and be non-political, abolish public pension system and use the money to strengthen the social welfare system with a focus on re-integrating people with working disabilities into the labour market, set up Estonian centres in every port to replace embassies and give new parents an addtitional vote for elections.

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