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Key Sectors

Information Technology
Food Industry
Woodworking Industry
Metal-processing and Machine-building


Tartu is the centre of Estonia’s medical and biotechnological landscape. The main areas of expertise in this emerging sector of the region lie in the fields of biochemistry, genetics and heredity, neuroscience and bioinformatics. There is a well-developed network of private clinics in Tartu. Clinics collaborate closely with the research and development institutions as well as other companies. Specialists for the rapidly growing sector are provided by the University of Tartu, the Estonian University of Life Sciences and Tartu Health Care College.


The City of Tartu has declared biotechnology one of its focus areas in its strategy. However, the significance of biotechnology is not only limited to the municipal level: biotechnology is defined as one of the strategic key sectors of Estonia.


Tartu is the Best Place for a Biotechnology Business:

  • Centre of expertise for life sciences and medicine: more than eight research organisations, 11 universities and colleges0

  • Centre of health care in Estonia: Tartu University Hospital, many private clinics, medical tourism

  • Nordic, educated and disciplined labour force for the biotechnology and healthcare sector

  • Supporting infrastructure: Tartu Biotechnology Park, modern laboratories, technological solutions for development and innovation

Key Companies

Tartu University Hospital

Icosagen Group

TBD Biodiscovery

Asper Biotech

Competence Centre on Health Technologies

Last changed 07.12.2020

Information Technology

Estonia has made a name for itself with the innovative application of information communications technology, where state-of-the-art technologies are a way of life. Tartu has always been a trendsetter when it comes to ICT developments: talented minds and ambitious entrepreneurs have led to a rapidly growing ICT ecosystem which has attracted the attention of venture capitalists as well as foreign ICT companies. For example, in 2017, the city hosted more than 80 startup events (from hackathons to MobileMonday to sTARTUp Day, etc.), with more than 5,000 people from the tech industry getting involved.


The ICT and electronics sector in Tartu is characterised by a few leading companies and many startups (especially in ICT) who have partially grown out of these large companies, supplementing each other and forming a well-working cluster. The favourable environment towards ICT has allowed huge companies like Microsoft and Skype to open their development centres in Tartu.


The key strengths of the sector include successful spin-off companies, a qualified workforce and a professional and functioning co-operation network between research centres and companies. The ecosystem is not only being supported by the companies, but also by several technological institutions like the Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre, the Buildit Accelerator, sTARTUp HUB, SPARK HUB, Tartu Science Park and the Smart City Lab Cluster.

Key Companies

Playtech Estonia




Mobi Solutions




Last changed 07.12.2020

Food Industry

The food industry is an essential part of the manufacturing industry in Estonia. The most important branches of the food industry in Tartu and Estonia are similar: the dairy, beverage, meat and bread industries. Exports make up about one third of the total production volume. In addition to the big players, quite a large number of small producers are active in the market. Many of the producers offer healthy and ecologically friendly products, a strength of the well-preserved nature and well-developed agriculture in Tartu County and other areas in South-Estonia.


The food industry in Tartu is mainly characterised by a few very big manufacturing companies like

  • A. Le Coq, the largest producer of beverages in Estonia;
  • Salvest, one of the largest food-canning industries in Estonia;
  • Valio Eesti, one of the largest dairy companies in Estonia; and
  • Nõo Lihatööstus, one of the largest meat products producers in Estonia.


Yet, small companies like Luke Dairy Farm (the only moldy cheese producer in Estonia), Andre Farm (cheese) and Gustav (cakes and truffles), etc., are emerging and enriching the local food market.

Key Companies

A. Le Coq

AS Salvest

Valio Eesti

Nõo Lihatööstus

Last changed 07.12.2020

Woodworking Industry

Wood-processing has historically been a mainstay of the Estonian economy, the output of which is based on local and renewable raw materials. Similar to the technological leap made in other sectors of the economy, the flow of new investment has brought state-of-the-art equipment to all areas of the wood processing industry.


The range of wood industry products is extensive, beginning with the production and treatment of sawn timber and leading to the production of wooden houses, windows, and doors. Creative thinking and innovations are helping to break traditions in the wood industry: Estonian design accessories like bowties, watches and frames for glasses are becoming increasingly popular.


The key strengths of the sector include:

  • long-lasting traditions;
  • strong, successful companies active in export (Kodumaja, Lemeks);
  • availability of properties;
  • support services (research and development, centres of excellence, competence centres);
  • proximity of raw materials;
  • co-operation partners; and,
  • innovative solutions.

Key Companies



Tarmeko enterprises




Last changed 07.12.2020

Metal-processing and Machine-building

The metal industry is the third largest industry in Estonia. The Tartu region has traditionally been the centre of Estonian research and development with its internationally renowned universities. Expertise, international contacts and traditions characterise the metal-working and machine-building industry in Tartu.


The sector varies from historical string agricultural and forestry machines to apparatus manufacturing to new production of car parts and trailers. And, last but not least, producers of steel structures have profited from the favorable environment created by the building boom propelled by the Estonia’s accession to the EU.


The key strengths of the sector include:

  • long-lasting traditions;
  • strong, successful companies active in export (Tarmetec, Hanza Mechanics);
  • availability of properties;
  • support services (research and development, centres of excellence); and,
  • compatible curriculums in university and vocational schools (such as Tartu Vocational Education Centre), which means highly educated engineers, semi-industrial labs and equipment.

Key Companies

HANZA Mechanics Tartu

Respo Haagised



Last changed 07.12.2020