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Newcastle hosts Estonian Ambassador to foster economic ties and investment opportunities

August 10, 2023

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Newcastle upon Tyne, UK – The Estonian Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mr Viljar Lubi, has met with a group of North East business leaders and policy makers for a discussion on mutual economic development and investment.

Organised by Invest Newcastle, part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, and global sustainable development consultancy, Arup, the visit took place on Wednesday 2nd August 2023 and provided a platform for constructive dialogue with one of Europe’s most dynamic economies.

Estonia is a global leader in IT services, boasting the highest number of unicorns (start-ups with a market capitalisation of $1bn) per capita in Europe. The country is also ranked first in the world for tax attractiveness and has pioneered an e-residency programme which allows business owners to securely authenticate, establish and manage an Estonian company from any corner of the globe.

Mr Viljar Lubi has been Ambassador to the UK since 2021 and was previously Vice Minister for Economic Development and Director General of the EU and International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, helping to steer Estonia’s economic transformation from the Soviet era to full integration with the European Union.

On his visit to Newcastle, Viljar shared his experience of deploying a range of financial instruments to attract investment and foster business growth in Estonia.

He was joined by representatives from North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle University, North Tyneside Council, CPI, Global Underwater Hub, AMLo Biosciences and Kinewell Energy.

During the meeting, the Invest Newcastle team presented on how the North East is leading the way in growth sectors such as Health and Life Sciences and Energy and Sustainability, deploying its significant research power to expand into new markets and create new business models.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority also shared its latest thinking on regional industrial strategy and strategic priorities around devolution in the UK, while CPI and Global Underwater Hub discussed how they were supporting innovation, research and development.

Homegrown success stories AMLo Biosciences and Kinewell Energy shared their aspirations for the future and also some of the barriers to growth they were facing including inflation and rising interest rates.

The Ambassador mentioned that these issues were not specific to the UK but rather being felt across Europe, which underlines the need for more close cooperation between the North East and Estonia.

Following the meeting, the attendees committed to working together to stimulate foreign direct investment and cultural exchange, particular around shared strengths such as digital innovation, defence and security.

Rebecca Crow, Health and Life Sciences Sector Lead, Invest Newcastle, said: “It was a privilege to welcome the Ambassador and we are very excited about the prospect of further collaboration between the North East and Estonia.

“There is much to learn from how other countries approach economic transformation and in an ever-changing world, meaningful discussions like these have never been more important.”

Sarah Clemmetsen, Associate Director and Newcastle Office Leader, Arup, said: “We are thrilled to see this exchange of knowledge and ideas between the North East and Estonia, fostering ties that can hopefully lead to mutually beneficial economic growth and opportunity.

“In today’s interconnected world, it is important that we embrace the value of conversation, as only by learning from others and sharing what we know can we pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future.”

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