Estonia, Funds, Good for Business

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 25.04.2019, 21:11

Estonian Entrepreneurs Launch One-Million-Euro Education Fund

BC, Tallinn, 05.12.2018.Print version
Estonian Entrepreneurs launch a philanthropy fund called The Good Deed Education Fund. The fund’s goal is to provide seed capital for innovative initiatives in Estonian education. Over the next three years, the fund plans to contribute 1 million euros to impactful educational initiatives, Fund representative informed BC.

Managing Director of the Good Deed Education Fund Pirkko Valge. Press foto.

The initiators of the Educational Fund are the Estonian entrepreneurs, the cofounder of Taxify Martin Villig and the cofounder of TransferWise Taavet Hinrikus. The founding members are Alari Aho, Riivo Anton, Viljar Arakas, Ahti Heinla, Martin and Terje Henk, Taavet Hinrikus, Gerri Kodres, Norris Koppel, Kristo Käärmann, Rain Lõhmus, Piret and Veljo Otsason, Martin Rand, Risto Rossar, Tõnu Runnel, Ragnar Sass, Helen and Martin Tajur, Annika Tallinn, Dina and Hannes Tamjärv, Ede and Sten Tamkivi, Kalev Tanner, Sten Tikk, Priit Vaikmaa, Peep Vain, Kaido Veske, Mari-Liis and Martin Villig. The companies contributing to the fund are Civitta, Contriber, Eften, Helmes, Lingvist, Monese, Pipedrive, Superangel, Taxify and TransferWise. 


The Educational Fund is lead by the Good Deed Foundation that has a long-term experience in launching and growing impactful initiatives in the society.

According to Pirkko Valge, the Managing Director of the Good Deed Foundation, the fund can provide either one-time support or finance the same project over a couple of years. “We expect ambitious initiatives that will disrupt the educational system in a good way. Estonia has several great examples of such projects, including Bully-free Schools, the program “Noored Kooli” that encourages university graduates from other fields to become teachers or the initiative that supports teachers who are the start of their careers. To achieve the best results, we would like to collaborate with the leaders of the Estonian education, the Ministry of Education and Research, entrepreneurs, universities as well as any other interested party,” said Valge. 

The Educational Fund supports initiatives that help to solve issues in Estonian education. The founders find the lack of young teachers, the high average age of educators, insufficient appreciation of principals’ work and youth dropping out of basic schools as the main problems in Estonian education. In addition, focusing more on developing STEAM skills at schools is important, as these are the key competencies needed today to succeed.

According to Martin Villig, the co-founder of Taxify, the fund is looking for education-related initiatives. “The Estonian startups have done well and a lack of capital should not impede good ideas to be realized. Local accelerators, business angels and VC funds also contribute. Now it is time to follow the same track with social innovation. Education is the backbone of society. With the fund we want to boost education-focused seeds and finance their pilots. As a result, the state does not carry any product development risks but instead gets an operating tailor-made product. If a pilot succeeds, the state has to decide whether to allocate permanent financing and how to scale the project’s positive impact to all Estonian schools,” said Villig. 

According to Taavet Hinrikus, the co-founder of TransferWise, they want to send a clear message that the state’s as well as the whole society’s contribution to education has to grow. “TransferWise and Taxify paid almost 3 mln euros in labor taxes alone in Q3 2018. We could hire even more locals in our companies and contribute additional taxes, however, there is a limit to finding people with appropriate skills. If one day we want the Estonian tech sector to be as strong as in Silicon Valley, the Estonian cultural scene as versatile as in Paris and the Estonian industry as hi-tech as in Germany, the only solution is to have the world’s smartest society. Including knowledge, digital literacy as well as social intelligence. With the PISA-score alone, we do not conquer these peaks,” Hinrikus said.

Good Deed Education Fund was established on November 30th, 2018. Current volume of the fund is 1,1 million euros. People and teams, who have an idea and plan on how to solve the issues in Estonian education, are welcome to visit Good Deed Foundation web site

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