Tallinn Business Awards announced

The development project of the year, collaborative project of the year, start-up of the year, tourism deed of the year, job creator of the year, future solution and eco-innovation awards were announced at the Tallinn Business Awards gala held at the Song Festival Grounds on 30 September. Awards were also presented for the best applied research projects.

According to Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu, this year's competition was one of the most successful ever. “Although you might assume that the social and economic crisis caused by the pandemic would slam the brakes on entrepreneurship, the situation’s been quite the reverse,” he said. “A lot’s been done in Tallinn over the last year, as is reflected in the record number of nominations for the awards.”

The plethora of nominations made life very hard for the competition jury, since there were so many products, services and initiatives which the Deputy Mayor says were worthy of being recognised. “In the end, the awards went to those companies whose projects or initiatives stood out for their innovative approach or that have had a significant impact on the development of Tallinn's business environment," he explained. 

Winners of the 2021 Business Awards

Development Project of the Year: Old City Harbour cruise terminal and roof promenade developed by AS Tallinna Sadam. This was a large-scale project which focused on creating new urban space and opening up the city to the sea. The multifunctional terminal building has created new business opportunities at both the local and international levels. The innovative urban space created on the rooftop promenade offers 360-degree views of the sea, port, vessels and city as well as modern facilities suited to a variety of events.

Cooperative Project of the Year: Intelligent Transport Cooperation Network or ITS Estonia OÜ project led by the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications. With more than 40 partners, the ITS Estonia cooperation project has grown into a sustainable network of intelligent transport systems and mobility. The aim of their cooperation is to increase the efficiency, security and sustainability of transport and logistics systems with the help of modern information and communication technologies. Over the last few years, the network has been focusing on exporting Estonia’s smart transport solutions and launching pilot projects.

Start-up of the Year: Sixfold OÜ (logistics and IT). This company’s technology connects the real-time location data of tens of thousands of trucks with data on ordered goods. In this way, customers know where their goods are at all times and when they will arrive. Sixfold's customers include Tesco, Nestlé, Saint-Gobain and Coca-Cola’s Europacific Partners. The company currently employs 38 people. 

Tourism Deed of the Year: U23 and U20 European Athletics Championships Tallinn 2021 led by the Estonian Athletics Association. In July 2021, two international title competitions in athletics took place in Tallinn: the U23 and U20 European Championships. These are unique events for Estonia, as the events usually take place separately and this time around the U23 competitions were set to take place in Bergen in Norway. The original organiser’s decision not to host offered an opportunity to bring both events to Tallinn. The competition attracted more than 3500 visitors from 48 countries.

Job Creator of the Year: Bolt Technology OÜ. Despite the pandemic, the software company Bolt has posted strong growth, bringing more than 300 new employees of 50 different nationalities to Estonia. Most of these new jobs are based in Tallinn. They include leading professionals in software and product development, sales, marketing and finance. 

Eco-innovation of the Year: Panditops project led by OÜ Eesti Pandipakend. Ever since the introduction of Panditops at the first events in 2019, the use of disposable plates and cutlery in Estonia has steadily decreased. Reusable dishes can withstand up to 500 uses before they are recycled. This project gained further momentum in summer 2021 when many events were held and the largest reusable dish rental and laundry centre in the Baltic States was opened in Tallinn. At this year's summer events, the Panditops service prevented the creation of four tonnes of garbage. 

Future Solution award: R8 Digital Operator artificial intelligence software designed by R8 Technologies OÜ. R8 Digital Operator is an artificial-intelligence software solution for the management of technical systems in commercial buildings which enables a better indoor climate to be achieved with lower energy costs. The solution uses pre-existing hardware and does not require additional investments. 

Special prizes for applied research

Best Research Project at TalTech: Pulse wave and respiration curve sensor (head of research: Mart Min, PhD) This sensor enables the automatic monitoring and analysis of a patient's cardiovascular functions and respiration and lung functions during post-operative hospitalisation and subsequent rehabilitation at home, as well as by their family doctor. The data are recorded through a digital communication and notification system and automatically transmitted to the on-duty doctor or nurse. The sensor is in the testing stage in the cardiovascular centre at East Tallinn Central Hospital.

Best Research Project at Tallinn University: Pedagogical analysis of ALPA Kids games (head of research: Janika Leoste) As part of this collaborative project, researchers from Tallinn University provided a pedagogical assessment of the games used by the company ALPA Kids, which will help in developing the concept of a personalised digital learning path. The improved application enables pre-school children to acquire knowledge while playing games and significantly simplifies distance learning in primary education.

Best Research Project at the Estonian Academy of Arts: The ELEMENTary bus stop (Sille Pihlak & Siim Tuksam). The ELEMENTary bus stop is a prototype which arose from research into the possibilities of using the production residue of Arcwood, a company which manufactures prefab timber houses. This project is a good example of practical cooperation with the private sector, making it possible to find new product solutions. The result, which fits in well with the principles of the circular economy, creates wider opportunities for the systematic use of waste. 

Best Research Project at Estonian institutions of professional higher education: COVID-stop Manager (Laura Keidong, Health Care College). The purpose of the COVID-stop app is to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious diseases in the work environment and to prevent the emergence of new infections. The app can also be adapted to reduce the spread of the flu virus, for example. It is being developed by Tervise Teejuht OÜ. 

The entrepreneurship competition forms part of the annual Tallinn Entrepreneurship Day, which this year was held on 28 September. The aim of Entrepreneurship Day is to value and recognise entrepreneurship, to encourage the implementation of bold new ideas and to offer people the opportunity to expand their networks of contacts in addition to obtaining new knowledge. Tallinn Enterprise Centre organised Entrepreneurship Day for the 18th time. The theme of this year’s event was ‘On the Wave of Change’.