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A new study on Estonia’s creative industries provides an overview of the developments and future prospects of the sector

10. May 2018 - 13:06
Kultuuriministeeriumi hoone
Kultuuriministeeriumi hoone

On 8 May, the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with Enterprise Estonia and the Estonian Institute of Economic Research, introduced the results of the recently completed study and charting of Estonia’s creative industries. The presentation was opened by Minister of Culture Indrek Saar. Anu-Maaja Pallok, Advisor for Creative Industries at the Ministry of Culture, provided a survey of the background and objectives of the study; and results of the study were presented by Marje Josing, Director of the Estonian Institute of Economic Research. 

To date, the creative industries sector in Estonia has been charted four times at 4-year intervals, and this most recent study primarily reflects the economic-statistical indicators for 2015, and the visions and future expectations that have been mapped out by sector at the beginning of this year. In 2015, the creative industries sector comprised approximately 3% of the Estonian economy, and it employed 30,700 people, i.e. 4.8% of the employed people in Estonia. The total revenue of the sector totalled almost € 1.5 billion, which is 2.9% of GDP. Compared to 2011, the number of people employed in the sector has increased by 3,400 and the revenues have increased by 45%. The greatest increase in revenues occurred in the field of entertainment software, and revenues did not decrease in any of thirteen charted fields of activity.

Minister of Culture Indrek Saar affirmed that the creative economy is one of our fastest growing, most dynamic and interdisciplinary branches of the economy. As this new study shows that, in addition to preserving, furthering, and introducing Estonian culture to the world, it has a considerable socioeconomic dimension. In 2015, the creative industries sector contributed 2.9% to Estonian GDP, which is equivalent in size to the combined indicator of agriculture, forestry and fishery (3.4%). In addition, the creative industries sector plays a role in creating an attractive living environment, increasing tourism revenues and developing the digital economy,” said Saar. “It is not our goal to make every creative person into an entrepreneur, but rather, by jointly implementing a cultural and business policy, to enable creative people to reach consumers at home and abroad with their work or products. To achieve this, the state provides a diverse and flexible environment in the form of support structures, services and grants,” Saar added.

“The creative economy can make a significant contribution to resolving the bottlenecks in Estonia’s international competitiveness,” said Marje Josing, Director of the Estonian Institute of Economic Research. “Providing added value to products and services through design, art and IT, by introducing Estonia abroad through culture, and by making the Estonian living environment more attractive – these are but some of the ways that the creative industries can contribute,” said Josing.

The study shows that the number of companies and institutions in the creative industries sector grew somewhat faster than Estonian business as a whole in the period under review – 31% and 27% respectively. At the same time, the growth rate has slowed down, and the project-based activity and financing, as well as lack of cooperation, are inhibiting the ability to expand to international markets. In 2015, export by creative industries comprised 5.6% of the total export of services. Entertainment software producers and publishing-related printing companies were the largest exporters. The main target markets for exports were our neighbouring countries (the Nordic countries, Russia and Latvia) and of the more distant markets, the U.S. was in first place. In the coming years, creative sector revenues can increase primarily by increasing income from the free market and cooperating with other economic sectors. 

In 2015, through various institutions and measures, the public sector provided subsidies totalling €193 million to the creative economy, and its companies and institutions. Thirteen percent of the total earnings in the creative sector came from subsidies. The most important financers in the creative sector were the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Ministry of Culture and Enterprise Estonia.

A webcast of the presentation of the study on Estonia’s creative economy is available on the Estonian Public Broadcasting website.

A short summary of the study is available in English on the Ministry of Culture website HERE (PDF). Previous studies on the creative economy are available here.


The study was conducted by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research and commissioned by Enterprise Estonia. The study was financed from the Creative Industries Support Measure of the European Regional Development Fund.   





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