In 2020, another World Expo will be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' economic capital, which differs from previous expos primarily by having its main focus on global business. Estonia decided to join the Expo at the end of last year; this decision was in many ways motivated by entrepreneurs who want to showcase their products and services at the world's largest 6 month long networking event.
For these six months, the desert city of Dubai will become the centre of business in the world, bringing together entrepreneurs from 192 countries around the globe. Andres Kask, Member of the Board of the Estonian representation at Expo Dubai 2020, believes that World Expo will provide all Estonian enterprises an opportunity to introduce themselves, regardless of size or scope. "The enterprises that have already informed us of their wish to participate have largely determined the direction of the Estonian pavilion, which is digital society, smart solutions, nature conservation, and green economy," said Kask. The focus on digital society comes as no surprise as it has been Estonia's success story for many years, characterized by achieving results through a systemic approach - and this is what distinguishes Estonia from other countries: where others partly use e-solutions, Estonia uses them fully.
According to Kask, Estonia is well known in the United Arab Emirates for its digital society and thanks to this Estonia is welcomed with open arms at the World Expo. “Digital society-related services have opened many doors for Estonia, but now its time to use this attention to turn the spotlight on Estonian enterprises from other fields,” remarked Kask. Although the World Expo is held in Dubai, you shouldn't limit yourself thinking that this is the whole Expo area. "The world is essentially shrinking for 173 days, bringing together representatives from 192 countries - with just one flight, you can connect with entrepreneurs from almost every country in the world who might possibly be attractive cooperation partners for Estonian entrepreneurs," added Kask.
For Estonia, participation in Dubai Expo is a thoroughly considered decision, supported by further actions to make the country's presence even more visible, such as opening an Estonian embassy in the United Arab Emirates in autumn 2019. According to Andres Kask, this step is crucial for introducing Estonian enterprises in the Gulf States, along with the role of the experienced diplomat Daniel Schaer, Estonian High Representative at Expo Dubai, in opening doors to Estonian entrepreneurs in relation with both private enterprises and public bodies.
Andres Kask, Member of the Executive Board of Expo Dubai 2020 Estonia, and Madis Kass, Head of Partner Relations, at the upcoming Expo Pavilion
Enterprises have many opportunities to participate in the Expo, including participating in exhibitions or showrooms, using visits and diplomatic communication for their business success, and participating in programmed activities, both through Estonian and Expo events. The most affordable way to be represented at the Expo is to organize your own event in the Estonian pavilion, the price for that starts at 5000 euros. As regards to networking and inviting contacts, Jukka Hahlanterä from Finland, a representative of Enterprise Estonia in Dubai, offers valuable assistance. By the way, for Finns, participating in Dubai Expo is very important, and the spots for people interested in participating were filled quite quickly. While Finns have the advantage of already cooperating with entrepreneurs in the Gulf States, for Estonians we rather see the need to establish contacts for the future and to be the centre of the world's attention, even if it is for just a moment.
To date, the Expo Dubai 2020 Estonia representation office has already been in contact with 200 entrepreneurs, and a joint visit of the Estonian President and nearly 30 entrepreneurs to Dubai will take place in September to explore the opportunities offered by the Estonian pavilion and local organizers. “For Estonia, participating in the World Expo is a necessary investment that will only work in partnership with the state and entrepreneurs - here we can offer the perfect combination of physical presence, diplomatic support and national presence,” Kask concluded.