The History of the Competitions Entrepreneurship Award and the Competitiveness Ranking of Estonian Enterprises

Competition as an economic race is a force of progress. Competition inspires enterprises to act more effectively, to constantly apply for innovations; it makes the producers and dealers to react quickly to the changing needs. Competition forces companies to raise the quality level of their products, to lower their prices and to improve the serving of customers.

Successful companies make policies which favour the development of competition between enterprises and they remove obstacles so as not to limit competition. It is done because the tougher the competition is, the more clearly its positive traits will be manifested in the economy. Countries with several strong, competitive enterprises will develop faster and will guarantee a higher living standard for their citizens.

Besides other means, compiling rankings of companies’ competitiveness also serves the development of competition in a country. The rankings exist in order to further motivate companies to develop their competitiveness, informing the companies about their position among their competitors and changes to that position. Ranking tables will highlight successful companies and will set them as role models for others. In the form of the tables, successful companies have an additional opportunity to introduce themselves to the public; weaker companies have an opportunity to set new, higher goals.

The history of the Competitiveness Ranking of Estonian Enterprises goes back to the year 2003, when the ranking was first compiled on the initiative of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The co-operation partners in this project are the Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Enterprise Estonia and Eesti Päevaleht. In order to increase the reliability of the project’s analysis and methodology, the Estonian Institute of Economic Research was also included in the project as a partner. Starting from the year 2006, the project has been managed by the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in co-operation with the Estonian Employers’ Confederation. Together with the Estonian Institute of Economic Research, the overall competitiveness ranking is determined, as a result of which the Most Competitive Estonian enterprise will be evident. Separate tables will be compiled according to different fields, and the winners of those fields will also be determined.

The goal behind the compilation of the Competitiveness Ranking is to determine the most competitive companies and to offer companies a possibility to compare themselves with others of the same kind and evaluate the success, profitability and sustainability of a company. The Competitiveness Ranking is compiled as a general table; starting from the year 2007, there are separate tables for small- and medium sized enterprises and 13 categories according to fields of business in percentage comparison with the highest ranking companies.

The Entrepreneurship Award is the oldest entrepreneurship competition in Estonia, its history beginning in the year 1996. It was namely that year when President Lennar Meri initiated the competition to award the prize “Foreign Investor 1995”. In time, the competition has changed and expanded; and ever since the year 2000, the selection and recognition of the best companies is organized by Enterprise Estonia, and it is now called “Entrepreneurship Award”. The primary goal of the competition is to recognize successful Estonian enterprises with a lot of potential and to set them as role models for others. A wider goal is to promote entrepreneurship, to increase the international competitiveness of Estonian companies and with it the faster growth of the economy.

Every year, the number and titles of categories are slightly modernized in order to guarantee the evaluation of enterprises in the fields more important to the country’s economy. Applications sent by the enterprises are the criteria for the selection. In co-operation with the Estonian Institute of Economic Research, a ranking is compiled for each category, and from those rankings, the chambers of Enterprise Estonia choose three nominees and the winner for each category. The overall winner who will be awarded the Entrepreneurship Award will be chosen from the winners of different categories by a high-level jury whose members are representatives of different universities, key ministries and entrepreneurial circles.