Tartu’s business growth and development are supported by a good infrastructure, modernity, environmental friendliness and the clever utilisation of South Estonia’s full potential. Approximately 16,000 businesses are registered in the city, the most common sectors being: wholesale and retail trade; motor vehicle and motorcycle repairs; professional, scientific and technical activities; construction; real estate; transportation and storage; information and communication; and the manufacturing industry. There are traditional large enterprises as well as innovative start-up companies. To support existing as well as new forms of business, many cooperation and support centers have been created, and versatile smart solutions are valued.
To implement business ideas, Tartu Business Advisory Services is of help to entrepreneurial people, offering professional and creative consulting, organising various courses based on the needs of target groups, as well as initiating and managing development projects of the county. It is possible to get help from several important incubators to accelerate business growth: the purpose of the Tartu Science Park incubator is to support the establishment, development and operation of science- and technology-intensive companies by providing both business development and infrastructure services; the Tartu Biotechnology Park incubator specialises in supporting the establishment, development and operation of biotechnology, medical and veterinary medicine companies and research institutions. Businesses in the creative industries receive support and help from the Tartu Centre for Creative Industries which on the one hand functions as an umbrella organisation, on the other hand as a business incubator, providing legal and economic consulting and incubation services for creative entrepreneurs.
In Tartu, the fields of information technology and electronics are rapidly evolving, bringing together several large and successful companies and many start-ups, which the city’s business landscape continuously supports. Several well-known start-up companies such as Playtech, Fortumo, Click & Grow, Mooncascade stem from here, and plenty of smart solutions, such as mobile parking, electric taxis, and the spray-printer popular in street art, have originated from here. In cooperation with the city, the biggest business festival in the Baltics, sTARTUp Day, takes place annually, bringing together, from all over the world, both specialists in their respective fields as well as entrepreneurial enthusiasts who have only just begun making plans to start their own business. Several co-working spaces have been created to support start-up entrepreneurship, for instance, the business and communication centre sTARTUp HUB and Spark HUB.
In addition, Spark HUB is home to business support organisations, such as SPARK Makerlab, Entrepreneurship Village BizTown and SPARK Demo. Makerlab is the embodiment of the globally widespread makerspace or open-access DIY workshop culture in Tartu, which connects and supports entrepreneurial people and their projects. At Entrepreneurship BizTown, it is possible to take part in a business based role-playing game, and SPARK Demo is the calling card of entrepreneurship in Tartu and the whole of South Estonia. The demo hall brings together the most successful manufacturers, exporters, opinion leaders, employers, brightest start-ups and business support organisations.