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Why Tartu?

City of Good Thoughts
Estonia at a Glance
The Best Entrepreneurs
Business Support Organisations

Tartu – City of Good Thoughts

Tartu, with its population of around 100,000 in an area of 38.8 square kilometres, is the second largest city of Estonia. Lying 185 kilometres south of Tallinn (the capital city of Estonia) it is also the centre of southern Estonia. The Emajõgi River, which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia, flows for the length of 10 kilometres within the city limits and adds colour to the city.


The first written records of Tartu date from 1030.


Tartu has all the best of the globally new, but with the local advantage: the costs are lower, security is higher and the air is cleaner than in Tallinn, Helsinki or New York. Access to Estonian’s central market region, a well-educated and qualified work force, a good transport system and a fully modernised business infrastructure has made Tartu an attractive location.


The geographical location makes the city very attractive logistically. By car/bus it takes no more than 2.5 hours to travel to Tallinn, or 3.5 hours to Riga.

Photo by Kalle Paalits
Photo by Kalle Paalits

Facts about Tartu

  • The second largest city of Estonia
  • Area: 38.8 square kilometres
  • Population: about 100,000 inhabitants
  • Distances from Tartu: Tallinn 186 km, Narva 184 km, Pärnu 178 km, Riga 250 km, St. Petersburg 315 km 
  • Ethnic composition: Estonian 76%, Russian 19%, others 5%

Tartu – the Smart Location in Estonia

Tartu is a city that promotes innovation via competitive enterprises, being attractive to investors and facilitating entrepreneurship and knowledge-based production and services.


If you are considering Estonia as a source of investment opportunity, you should really take a look at the City of Tartu and the surrounding county.


Tartu is a city in motion, empowered by the changes that have taken place over the last decade. These changes have been radical with a substantial influence on citizens´ welfare and business growth.


The region´s infrastructure has been extensively updated and is ready for further expansion. A development strategy and detailed action plans have been prepared and put into force in most areas, to maximise the potential development. Recognising that the city and county are mutually dependent, the administrations of both are actively coordinating at every level to continue the rapid tempo of positive change.


Long traditions and high competence in electronics, information and biotechnology have made our enterprises internationally competitive.


Tartu - City of Smart Entrepreneurship

Last changed 07.12.2020

Estonia at a Glance

Estonia offers a progressive innovative business environment with an efficient and compatible infrastructure. Our e-services, mobile communications and internet applications are among the most advanced in the world.


The attractiveness of Estonia is demonstrated by the large number of foreign investors doing business here and the dominance of world-renowned foreign companies in several of Estonia’s economic sectors. Exports represent more than 100% of the Estonian GDP.


In Estonia, foreign investors are treated the same as domestic ones. For example, European Union subsidies are equally available for both foreign and domestic companies. Estonia’s advantageous and user-friendly business environment has attracted a great number of foreign investors and large companies of international renown to the country, including Ericsson, ABB, Kuehne + Nagel, Stora Enso, Microsoft and many others.


Estonia is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), European Union (EU), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).




The Estonian economy is ranked highly internationally (rankings are from 2019)


More information on the business environment of Estonia can be found at: http://www.investinestonia.com

Photo by Jane Est
Photo by Jane Est

Last changed 07.12.2020

The Best Entrepreneurs of Tartu

Since 1998 Tartu City Government has organised a competition to recognise the most successful entrepreneurs in Tartu. The competition is for entrepreneurs that are located and mainly operating in the City of Tartu.


Results of the Competition "Best Entrepreneur 2020" will be published in October 2021.


Results of the Competition "Best Entrepreneur 2019"


Results of the Competition "Best Entrepreneur 2018"




Results of the Competition "Best Entrepreneur 2017"



Results of the Competition "Best Entrepreneur 2016"


The biggest job creator: Hotel Lydia

The biggest investor: AS Fortum Tartu

The biggest export increase: Kodumaja AS

Fast-growing small company: KRC Ehitus OÜ
The best partner of Tartu Vocational Education Centre: Hotel London
The most succesful company in life sciences and medicine: Medita Clinic
The best entrepreneur of Tartu Science Park: ProtoLab LLC


best entrepreneurs 2016.jpg


Results of the Competition "Best Entrepreneur 2015"


The best entrepreneur among small firms: Mooncascade OÜ

The biggest job creator:  Kodumaja AS

The biggest investor: AS Tartu Veevärk

The biggest export increase: OÜ TMB Element

Tourism deed of the year: Hektor Design Hostel
The best partner of Tartu Vocational Education Centre: AS HANZA Mechanics Tartu
The best start-up of Tartu Centre for Creative Industries: Teenu OÜ
The most succesful start-up with the support of Tartu Business Advisory Services:  Disaintekstiil OÜ
The most succesful company in life sciences and medicine: Osaühing EST-DOMA
The best entrepreneur of Tartu Science Park: Solis BioDyne OÜ

Last changed 17.08.2021

Network of Business Support Organisations

Tartu has a strong network of business support organisations which work in close cooperation to develop the economic environment of the city.


Department of Business Development of Tartu City Government

Tartu Business Advisory Services Foundation

Tartu Science Park

Buildit Accelerator

Tartu Centre for Creative Industries

Tartu Biotechnology Park

Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the University of Tartu

Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu

Tartu County Tourism Foundation

Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry





The support organisations meet regularly to discuss business development, joint projects and challenges in the region. Cooperation projects include for example yearly events like Tartu Entrepreneurship Week (which includes approximately 80 events, e.g. trainings, conferences and seminars on different topics, company visits, etc.) and sTARTUp Day.


Last changed 07.12.2020