Estonian business culture guide - Learn about Estonia
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Estonian business culture guide - Learn about Estonia

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http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Estonia. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at ...

http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Estonia. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at business communication, business etiquette, business meeting etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance and social media guide.

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    Estonian business culture guide - Learn about Estonia Estonian business culture guide - Learn about Estonia Document Transcript

    •            |  1     businessculture.org Business Culture in Estonia   http://businessculture.org/easterneurope/estonia/ Content Template businessculture.org   This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the view only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Content  Germany  
    •            |  2     TABLE  OF  CONTENTS   Business  Culture  in  Estonia  .......................................................................................................  4   Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Estonia ........................................................................................... 5   International business in Estonia .......................................................................................................... 5   General Education ............................................................................................................................... 6   Educational standards .......................................................................................................................... 7   Other Issues such as transportation infrastructure ............................................................................... 7   Cultural taboos ..................................................................................................................................... 7   Business  Communication  ..........................................................................................................  9   Face-to-face communication ................................................................................................................ 9   Language Matters................................................................................................................................. 9   Business Relationships ........................................................................................................................ 10   Making contact ................................................................................................................................... 10   Personal Titles .................................................................................................................................... 10   Business  Etiquette  ..................................................................................................................  11   Corporate Social Responsibility ......................................................................................................... 11   Punctuality .......................................................................................................................................... 11   Gift giving ........................................................................................................................................... 12   Business Dress Code ........................................................................................................................... 12   Bribery and corruption ....................................................................................................................... 12   Business  Meeting  Etiquette  ....................................................................................................  13   Importance of Business Meeting ........................................................................................................ 13   Business Meeting planning ................................................................................................................. 14   Negotiation process ............................................................................................................................ 14   Meeting protocol ................................................................................................................................ 15   How to Run a Business Meeting ........................................................................................................ 15   Follow up letter after meeting with client ........................................................................................... 16   Business meals .................................................................................................................................... 16   businessculture.org   Content  Estonia  
    •            |  3     Business Meeting tips.......................................................................................................................... 16   Internship  and  placement  .......................................................................................................  18   Work experience................................................................................................................................. 18   Internship and Placement advice ....................................................................................................... 18   Social security and European health insurance ................................................................................. 18   Safety .................................................................................................................................................. 19   Do I need a visa? ................................................................................................................................ 19   Internship and placement salary ........................................................................................................ 20   Internship and placement accommodation ........................................................................................ 20   Cost  of  Living  ...........................................................................................................................  21   Money and Banking ........................................................................................................................... 21   Traveling costs .................................................................................................................................... 21   Work-­‐life  Balance   ....................................................................................................................  23   National holidays ................................................................................................................................ 23   Working hours .................................................................................................................................... 24   Working culture .................................................................................................................................. 24   Health insurance ................................................................................................................................ 24   Social  Media  Guide  .................................................................................................................  26   Private individuals .............................................................................................................................. 26   SMEs .................................................................................................................................................. 26   Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business ........................................................ 27     businessculture.org   Content  Estonia  
    •            |  4     Business  Culture  in  Estonia     Did you know about business culture in Estonia? Watch this video animation to find out some interesting facts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=V7DpHzLquhI Estonia is officially referred to as “Eesti Vabariik”, or the Republic of Estonia. As with the other two Baltic countries (Latvia and Lithuania), it is a relatively small country in the northern part of Europe. Estonia is strategically placed in the business corridor, between the Scandinavian countries (EU) and other eastern European countries, including Russia. Estonia shares a border with fellow Baltic state Latvia to the south, (339km) and Russia to the east, (229km). In the north, it is separated from Finland by the Gulf of Finland and in the west, from Sweden by the Baltic Sea. The Estonian capital city is Tallinn. Estonia has 109 languages as mother tongues, Estonian being the majority language, and official language of the country, spoken by 67.3% of the population, followed by Russian (29.7%). Of the other 107 mother tongues, the most numerous are Ukrainian, Belarusian, Finnish, Latvian and Lithuanian. According to the word bank, the total population of Estonia in 2011 was about 1.3 million., The main religions include Evangelical Lutheran and Orthodox, although religion plays only a small part in society.. Estonia is divided into rural municipalities, counties & towns. The regional level of local government includes 15 counties as well as 6 republican cities: Tartu, Kohtla-Järve, Narva, Pärnu, Sillamäe and Tallinn. Estonians have inhabited the territory since around 2500 B.C., making them some of the longest settled of all the European peoples. Because of Estonia’s strategic , which serves as a businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  5     link between West and East, the country has been conquered several times, and has experienced many centuries of foreign rule. It finally attained independence briefly in 1918 after centuries of Danish, German, , Swedish, and Russian rule, however, in 1940, the Soviet Union forcibly annexed Estonia, and it wasn’t until 1991 that it regained its independence. The political situation in Estonia is similar to that of the other Baltic countries. It is a stable, constitutional parliamentary democracy with the Prime Minister serving as the head of the government. The President nominates the incumbent of this position and Parliament approves the nomination. Usually, the Prime Minister is the leader of the largest party or coalition within the Parliament. The system of government has three branches: the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. Integration is one of the state’s main priorities in Estonian society. The aim is the creation of a balanced multicultural society through a two-way process. On the one hand, non-Estonians are integrated into a democratic open society and on the other, minority cultures are introduced to Estonians. This harmonises the society around a common core as well as providing the scope to maintain ethnic differences, founded on the recognition of ethnic minorities’ cultural rights. Integration is a bilateral process, meaning that both Estonians and non-Estonians, participate equally in the harmonisation of society. Estonians see themselves more as Scandinavians and they are not very happy to be labelled as a Baltic state. Estonia is located in the Eastern European Time (EET) zone – UCT + 2. The climate is similar to that in other European continental countries with cold winters and dry and warm summers. Because of its proximity to the Baltic Sea, the weather is often breezy and humid. Xenophobia:  being  a  foreigner  in  Estonia     Estonia has created a liberal democratic republic with an open market economy, and due to this it has become very attractive to foreign investors. This is also partly due, to Estonia’s workforce, which is well-educated and creative and partly due to the fact that Estonia has proved itself to be culturally open to interaction with the West, as well as to immigration and foreign investment. In January 2011, Estonia made the switch to the Euro, and this further simplified trade with and inside the European Union. Although Estonia welcomes overseas investments and investors, there are still some cultural aspects that have to be considered when conducting business in the country. Here, business is both very official and matter-of-fact and Estonians prefer to separate their private and working lives. Therefore, unlike business culture in America, small talk is rare and if it does take place, it is kept very ‘small’ and brief . Therefore, foreign business people should bear this in mind and not be offended if, for example, their families’ well being is not enquired about or if they are not otherwise “talked up” during meetings and negotiations. International  business  in  Estonia   When doing business in a foreign country it is necessary to be prepared to experience things that are different from your own culture. Without proper preparation and planning you may find yourself experiencing a culture shock, which can have a negative influence on the outcome of your business dealings. It is understandable that, as an active business person, you can only invest a limited amount of time into the exploration of these cultural differences. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  6     The Baltic Sea Region is one of Europe’s fastest-expanding markets with more than 90 million people and Estonia is located at its heart. Since the end of the 1990s, Estonia has enjoyed a modern market-based economy as well as an income level per capita that is one of the highest in Eastern Europe. Proximity to the Scandinavian countries, its geographical position between the East and West, a very competitive cost structure and a highly-skilled labour force have been Estonia’s major competitive advantages since the beginning of the new millennium. Tallinn, the capital has emerged as a financial centre. Estonia’s main exports are metals and chemical products, food products, textiles, wood and paper, machinery and equipment and furniture. Estonia’s strategic goals are to increase of the number of tourists, enhance foreign investments and to create a favourable basis for the Estonian exports. In a nutshell, the new marketing model should introduce Estonia as: • a place of interest for tourists • an excellent place to conduct business (investments, export) • a first class place to study/work/live Estonia has a long established tradition of providing quality education. It has an education environment, which is vibrant and international. Estonia also boasts the latest developments in information technology, making it an attractive country for young people who wish to live and study abroad. The combination of a recognised quality education, with tuition and living costs that are relatively low, guarantees good value for money for international students who decide to study in this small EU member state. In the academic year 2009/2010 Estonian universities offered in excess of 100 English taught degree programmes. In 2007, an Agreement on Good Practice was signed by Estonian higher education institutions which offered international degree programmes as part of the internationalisation of Estonia’s Higher Education system. According to this document, participating higher education institutions are only able to admit international students to fully accredited degree programmes. The aim of this section is to introduce you to the essential issues relevant for business culture and practice in Estonia. Characteristic attitudes and values will be discussed with a particular focus on their implications in the area of business etiquette. The section is divided into three sub-sections: Attitudes and Values, Business Ethics, and Education and Training. General  Education   In Estonia, nearly 90% of the population – have the equivalent of a high-school degree, which is considerably higher than the OECD average of 74%. The quality of Estonian education is ranked very highly by the OECD and this is supported by the higher than average scoring for Estonian students in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). As well as the standard of general educational in Estonia being high, literacy is also high. For most Estonian people, education is a way out of poverty and presents an opportunity to obtain a good job and earn a good living. The education system consists of: 9 years at primary school, 4 at secondary school, and 3 to 5 years in higher education from (depending on the course or subject of study). Primary and secondary education is free guaranteed by law. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  7   Education starts at pre-primary level and is provided mainly at kindergartens as well as other preschool childcare organisations, at home or at various elementary groups at schools. Compulsory basic education begins when children reach the age of seven (grade 1) and lasts for 9 years. Children start school in September, at the beginning of a school year and continue until they have finished secondary school (grade 9), at the age of seventeen; this is followed by the gymnasium (the foundation for continuing studies in higher education or vocational training) that provides vocational education at upper-secondary or post-secondary levels, as well as applied higher education. University study is another option. Students who pass the higher education council’s exams receive grants for their education, while others have to pay fees to study. The Estonian higher education system includes applied higher education institutions as well as universities. Since 1995, higher education has also been provided by some vocational education institutions. Institutions that provide higher education can be public, state or privately owned. The ultimate responsibility for the administration of higher education lies with the Ministry of Education and Research. Estonia has a long history of higher education. The first Estonian university was established in the city of Tartu in 1632. Educational  standards   Estonia had made good progress in the decade before the 2008 financial crisis. Despite these achievements however, the overall indicators in the Better Life survey for Estonia are relatively low. However, the OECD’s findings reveal that Estonia has performed better than most of its European neighbours in the area of education. Other  Issues  such  as  transportation  infrastructure   As with all ex-communist countries, workforce mobility is high among the younger generation. Many have moved from the countryside to the cities to look for better paid jobs. Also, with Estonia’s accession to the EU, people have taken the opportunity to work in Europe. Rights of women are protected by the Constitution, which forbids gender discrimination. However, despite women generally being more highly qualified than men, it is still mostly men who take up executive and top managerial positions, while women tend to be given more visible positions in the service sectors – such as secretarial work in banks and shop work. Some women are active in politics, but few have roles in the Estonian government. The family is the fundamental cornerstone of Estonian social life. The average family is a husband, wife and one child and newlyweds often live with the parents of one of them. Much respect is given to elderly family members and they are usually taken care of at home, not placed in a care home. Grandparents usually help with child care whilst parents are at work. Wives are generally responsible for the household even if they also have full time jobs. Cultural  taboos   Estonians like to discuss their rich historical heritage; but at the same time they are incredibly sensitive about anything that is perceived to be critical of their culture. Therefore, jokes that could be interpreted as being offensive to Estonian culture should be avoided. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  8   It is also recommended not to discuss World War II with Estonians bearing in mind that during the war, they were on both sides. They can therefore, find it difficult to appreciate the concepts of “good” and “bad”, or “winner” and “loser”, in the way that other European countries might. Furthermore, in Estonia, comparing the country with Latvia or Lithuania is unwise. Estonians are generally reluctant to describe their country as one of the Baltic States because they perceive themselves as Scandinavians. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  9   Business  Communication   Communication is probably the most important aspect of business, yet we tend to take it for granted when doing business in our own country, because we are dealing with people from the same background as ourselves. It this section we will talk about communication between business cultures. Whilst it is true that business practices vary between countries, there are generally also things that are common to all. How important is it to have everything in writing? Can you discuss business during lunch? And so on. This section addresses the differences between face-to-face communication, how to deal with people most effectively via the telephone as well as by letter/fax or e-mail. It also examines the importance of addressing people by their correct title, how you should introduce yourself and whether you should give your business card at the beginning or the end of a meeting. Face-­‐to-­‐face  communication   In Estonian business culture, physical contact is frowned upon. Estonians do not gesticulate during discussions, nor do they make facial expressions. Business managers prefer to maintain eye contact with their business partners during discussions, since , this is interpreted as being interested in and committed to the business discussion. Estonians also study facial reactions, so be aware of this. The best way to contact someone in Estonia is to call them on the phone. This is preferable to sending an email, as the reply might take some time to reach you. If you really want something done, then investing in regular and sustained face-to-face interaction is the way to go. As mentioned above, be aware that eye contact is a crucial part of any business meeting in this part of the world. It conveys interest in the discussion and that you are paying attention. Avoiding eye contact can indicate disinterest and may be interpreted as attempting to hide something, or may give the impression that you cannot be trusted. Estonians are known for not showing their emotions while discussing business – they wear their ‘poker face’ but verbal communication is direct and straightforward. Language  Matters   Estonians are multi-lingual However, not everyone can speak the Estonian language, for example, Russians, even though they might have been born in Estonia. The majority of Estonians speak Russian, as a second language. English has always been a compulsory subject at primary school, even during the communist regime. Russian is not an official language and by law any official documents such as contracts and transactions would have to be translated into Estonian. Therefore, if you are dealing with an older manager, you may wish to have an interpreter with you. English is a popular language in Estonia and a good knowledge of English is an important part of a business education. International business meetings are conducted in English, so the expectations of Estonians that you will be able to speak their language are low, but any effort is much appreciated. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  10   Business  Relationships   Estonians are multi-lingual However, not everyone can speak the Estonian language, for example, Russians, even though they might have been born in Estonia. The majority of Estonians speak Russian, as a second language. English has always been a compulsory subject at primary school, even during the communist regime. Russian is not an official language and by law any official documents such as contracts and transactions would have to be translated into Estonian. Therefore, if you are dealing with an older manager, you may wish to have an interpreter with you. English is a popular language in Estonia and a good knowledge of English is an important part of a business education. International business meetings are conducted in English, so the expectations of Estonians that you will be able to speak their language are low, but any effort is much appreciated. Making  contact   The people of Estonia think they have the best location for companies trying to conduct business between Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. The government in Estonia, like every other government in the world, has introduced many business-friendly policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. However, it is recommended to seek advice from a professional body, like the chamber of commerce and industry, trade ministry, governmental advisory services and agencies like Enterprise Estonia for further advice. These agencies have programmes that might be helpful, either in making contact with another company, or setting up a new company. As with all hierarchical cultures, it is very important to know people in authority and to have their recommendation and introductions to facilitate initial contact. Most companies send representatives to conferences, exhibitions and business fairs, both at home and abroad, where they can enjoy the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with potential business partners. Personal  Titles   The best advice regarding titles is to follow what is written on your counterpart’s business card. If there is a title in front of the name then you should address the person by using their title together with their surname. Estonians are formal and polite. They expect the use of a title and surname at a first meeting, but once you are more familiar with each other, they will ask you to stop using their title to address them by their first name. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  11   Business  Etiquette     At the beginning of the 1990 s, after regaining their independence, Estonians were eager to embrace western ideas and values and were willing to learn a different approach to doing business. Previously, their attitude to doing business was dictated by their experiences during the Soviet era, and was directly opposed to the western style and mindset. The attitudes and values of the Estonia business community are now influenced by the Scandinavian countries. Estonians are patriotic and nationalistic. They want to be winners in business, and to show how competent they are. They understand that to build informal business contacts takes a long time and that it is neither a quick nor easy process. Estonians do not really indulge in small talk. On the contrary, they get straight to the point and get things done. Representatives of Estonian’s companies do business with firms, not so much with people and that is why they do not feel the need to have built up a relationship first in order to do business with you. Many international companies now have branches in Estonia, and their own corporate values run alongside those of Estonian companies. Obviously, if the foreign company or manager understands the general business environment, they are entering into the reception they receive will be more favourable. Corporate  Social  Responsibility   In Estonia, a relatively new concern is the topic of corporate social responsibility. Although CSR has grown in importance, Estonian society is still not accustomed to routinely demanding greater responsibility from companies. The main reason for this lies in the fact that after Estonia gained its independence at the beginning of the 1990s, there was a post-socialist identity crisis, which meant that there was no time to consider subjects such as CSR. However, the new generation of Estonians is conscious of this and is keen to contribute to the development of a fair society in which corporate social responsibility plays a vital role. There are several organizations, which develop and promote corporate social responsibility in Estonia. The most active of them are the Open Estonian Foundation, the Responsible Business Forum in Estonia, the Good Deed Foundation, and the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Punctuality   Estonians are always on time for meetings, so visitors are also expected to be punctual. Generally, it is a good idea to arrive about five – ten minutes before your appointment, in order to give yourself time to prepare for the meeting. Your Estonian counterparts will do the same. If you anticipate being late, it is advisable to call ahead and explain/apologise for your lateness. Estonians can be perceived as being obsessive about punctuality. They have a saying “time is money” and in describing it as a economic resource, time is clearly very important to them. Be aware of this since being very late, can adversely affect what might otherwise have been a good business partnership. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  12   Gift  giving   Business partners do not tend to expect presents when meeting for the first time, but small gifts to business associates are generally accepted. If you bring something local from your country, then make it something small and unique that represents your country or company, such as a souvenir. Acceptable gifts are chocolates as well as an odd number of flowers Business  Dress  Code   The basic rules of dressing for business in Estonia are the same as those of other European countries. In business, cleanliness and tidiness is essential. Estonians tend to be formal dressers men wear dark suits with a tie and most importantly quality shoes. Some Estonians may try to gauge your success by the quality of the shoes you wear. However, other Estonians wear casual clothes, so often it’s difficult to differentiate between a businessman and an office clerk. The dress code also differs between Russians and Estonians the latter are more stylish and trendy. Russians are more flashy and old fashioned at the same time. Women will wear a jacket and skirt or a trouser suit which is less formal. For business meetings, a dark suit is always a good choice for males and women will be appropriate in a suit or anything elegant. Being well dressed is a matter of prestige. Estonians keep up with what is going on in the fashion world and dress accordingly. Because of the weather in Estonia, warm clothing is worn for two thirds of the year and it is important to bring a scarf, gloves, hat and warm boots when visiting. It rains a lot during the summer so it is recommended to have an umbrella or a raincoat. In the office, a less formal dress code applies and men will remove their jacket and work in shirt sleeves. In small and medium sized companies, there is usually no dress code at all with everyone wearing ‘business casual’, unless they are attending a business meeting, when they will wear a suit and tie. Bribery  and  corruption   Estonia is similar to the rest of the former communist countries when it comes to corruption. In the past, it was common practice to give presents to get things done, such as seeking reduced waiting times for official papers, cutting through red tape, or even inducing politicians to pass legislation favourable to particular businesses. Estonia’s ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012 is 32 (on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  13   Business  Meeting  Etiquette     Business meetings in Estonia are usually formal. The proper etiquette is for the team’s most senior figure to open proceedings with introductions and a short speech. Next, the most senior member of the other team will speak to thank the hosts and make similar introductions. If small talk occurs, it is short and simple. Business presentations should be accurate and straightforward, and devoid of any high-pressure sales tactics. Ensuring that you are able to deliver everything that you have committed to, will be crucial in gaining the trust of your Estonian partners. It is fairly common for several meetings to take place before business related decisions are made. This is due to the nature of Estonian business which tends to be hierarchical and necessitates consultations with senior colleagues. Since business culture in Estonia tends to be quite formal, it is therefore critical to follow the established protocol. It is necessary to always book appointments in advance, and prior to the meeting taking place, to send an agenda of what will be discussed. Although many Estonians are able to speak English, an effort to translate any correspondence and materials into Estonian will be appreciated. The usual form of greeting is good eye contact followed by a firm handshake. Business cards are usually exchanged upon meeting. Titles and surnames should always be used when addressing Estonian contacts, as first names generally do not tend to be used in business here. As this is a status conscious society, you should be particularly respectful and deferential to those in senior positions. In Estonian business there are many women, although not always in the high positions for which they may be qualified, and mildly flirtatious behaviour between the sexes in business settings is fairly commonplace and considered inoffensive here. Estonians are usually reserved and formal during meetings, and rarely show emotion. Their communication style is direct and straightforward, however, at the same time they will be tactful to avoid embarrassing a meeting partner or damaging a relationship. They may appear stubborn on occasion, but it should be remembered that self-restraint is highly valued here, so try not to become angry or impatient. Importance  of  Business  Meeting   Business meetings tend to be formal, especially in the early stages of a working relationship and small talk is usually kept to a minimum. The introductory speech in the majority of cases is given by the most senior person present. During the first meeting, Estonians are formal and reserved; you should have a business card ready for introductions and this should be in Estonian and English. The Estonian side should be face up and the card should also show your position at work. Estonians do not need “ice breaking” to start the meeting. They run the meeting according to the agenda and get straight to the point. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  14   If you are a very animated speaker with a loud voice, you will need to tone down your gesticulations and the volume of your voice, in order to match the local style. Estonians do not like a casual attitude towards business, especially in foreigners therefore, you should assume a formal demeanour. Because Estonians prefer to do business with friends, it is advisable to take advantage of opportunities to socialise, such as lunches and dinners, to get to know your hosts and build an individual personal relationship with them. Bear in mind that it can take several meetings to reach an agreement. Most Estonian companies are very hierarchical so all major decisions are made by the management. If the managing director is not in attendance, then the meeting automatically becomes merely a forum for the exchange of ideas. The proposal will be presented to the management afterwards and they will make a decision based on this. Estonians prefer to have all agreements on paper, signed and sealed. Verbal agreement is good, but it is not legally binding. All agreements, deadlines, procedures and so on are written up in either Estonian, English or Russian and signed by both sides. Business  Meeting  planning   When proposing a meeting, always offer several dates so that your Estonian partner can choose a date, that is mutually convenient. At this point, mention the subject that will be under discussion, state why you require the meeting and request the presence of any participants you wish to meet. Bear in mind that decisions are usually made by senior management, so if you need decisions to be made quickly, ask them to attend the meeting. Meetings in Estonia are usually attended by those of similar status / seniority, and for this reason, it is imperative that you send a list of the people coming with you, together with a brief biographical account of each person, so that the Estonian company can have people of equivalent position or rank, attend the meeting. It is advisable to obtain a written confirmation of the place and time of the meeting and of the intended attendees (name and position). If you cannot participate in a meeting always call or write to cancel the meeting. The best time to arrange a business meeting is between 9am -1pm, taking into account the possibility of a business lunch after 12:30pm. The host will be in charge of reserving the venue, the meeting room and the refreshments. Please always agree with your partner on the language of the meeting. If an interpreter is needed, let your host know whether you are taking one with you, otherwise ask them to bring one. They will know where to go for a professional/industry specific translator. In the unlikely event that they do not know your business or the products you are selling, take some brochures, sample products or other informative material with you. Negotiation  process   Business negotiations can be very tough in Estonia. Estonians do not change their minds easily, once they have decided what to do. A strong scepticism is inherent in the Estonian mentality, which may explain why Estonian businessmen and women often require several days to analyze a problem. Thus, businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  15   negotiating an agreement can take longer than it would in Western Europe. It is important to bear in mind that an Estonian does not like to feel rushed. The main thing is to be specific and be detailed in your presentation during the negotiation period. The key to success in doing business with Estonians is politeness combined with competence. Because of their reserved and unemotional attitude, it is inadvisable for you to show too much emotion. Conversely, modesty may be viewed as a weakness. Business negotiation is, for Estonians, similar to a duel, and they fight to win. They have no problem saying “NO” and they do not like to change their position, once they have chosen it. They do not look to the future; they want immediate gratification (profit). The time taken over negotiations depends on the attitude of the partners and the nature of the sector. Negotiation in the public sector usually takes much longer than doing business in the private sector. When presenting a project, make sure you have done your research because you have to give good reasons for the involvement of both parties. The main question of interest is how beneficial it will be for the host company. Decisions are made by the management, so do not expect these to be made immediately after or during the meeting. If no-one from the management was involved in the meeting, they will have to be briefed about your proposal and to consider it before a decision is reached.  Meeting  protocol   To greet your partner, look them straight in the eyes, shake hands firmly and state your name clearly. Make sure, when shaking hands, that you do so either inside or outside the room, but never in the doorway as Estonians believe that this brings bad luck. Then offer your business card with the Estonian side facing up. Your Estonian partner will do the same and they will have their business cards either in English or in English and Russian. Listen carefully when your partner pronounces their name, so that you have an idea of how to pronounce it later. Place their business card in front of you so that you can have a quick read if you have to address the person. You will need to shake hands with all the participants, at the beginning and the end of the meeting. When introduced, address your counterparts by their family name. This is very important because, although Estonians are proud of their education, they do not use academic titles. The most senior Estonian at the meeting will begin with a welcoming speech and your team should respond in the same way. At the beginning of a business relationship, it is advisable to be formal. Estonia is a formal society and it is a good idea to let your partner propose any friendly or informal terms. Your host may invite you to call him by his Christian/first name. This shows that the business meeting is continuing satisfactorily, but it does not necessarily signify that your relationship is getting warmer. How  to  Run  a  Business  Meeting   It is important for Estonians to establish a personal rapport with individuals before discussing business. Since businesses in Estonia tend to be fairly hierarchical, the person chairing the meeting is probably the most senior representative of the Estonian company. This individual will lead the meeting, setting businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  16   the pace and deciding who can speak. They will start the meeting with a welcoming speech and introduce those present in rank order. Generally, it can be observed that the more junior staff only speak when they are invited to, or to address questions from the more senior staff. Consequently, it is important that you follow this lead and do not breach this aspect of etiquette. In most cases, an agenda is followed sequentially. It is common practice in Estonia to offer a small gift at the end of a meeting therefore it is recommended that you also bring a gift with you to give in return (e.g. something displaying your company logo would be appropriate). Following the meeting, it is possible that you will be invited out for the evening. It is important that you do not turn down this invitation, as it will provide you with an opportunity to further improve your rapport with the individuals from the host company. During meetings in the office, coffee should be offered, but no other snacks are normally made available. Most business meetings are done over lunch or dinner. Follow  up  letter  after  meeting  with  client   The minutes of the meeting are usually sent out a few days afterwards, summarizing the main points of the discussion, any decisions that were taken (assuming senior management was present) and next steps set out. The minutes are normally sent by those hosting the meeting. Make sure that agreements and decisions are put in writing in both languages, in order to avoid misunderstandings. If you want to make sure that things are done properly and to schedule, you will have to arrange fixed deadlines, dates and guidelines on how to accomplish the tasks. Make sure someone is made responsible for each task that needs to be completed. Successful or not, after a meeting it is always a good idea to write to your host and thank them for their time and effort. Business  meals   The older generation still take business lunches and dinners, as a sort of a bonding process, rather than actually talking about business. Younger business managers, on the other hand, are more inclined to discuss business during lunch and entertain during dinner. Obviously, it depends on the individual, as there are no set rules about this. Breakfast meetings are not common, and generally happen only at the request of the visitor, probably at his/her hotel restaurant. Business lunches are more formal, so formal dressing is recommended, especially at a first meeting (a suit and tie for men and suit or smart dress for women). Business dinners are more for entertaining, spending time together and getting to know each other, rather than for discussing business. On such occasions, casual dress is appropriate. Business  Meeting  tips   Be an expert in the subject on which you wish to negotiate, and come to the meeting well prepared. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  17   Do not be arrogant or talk down to your partners. Estonians, like most people in the former communist countries, are sensitive to being underrated. They are proud people and expect to be treated as equal partners. They do not appreciate the ‘we will show you how to do things’ approach. Do not show either your emotions or modesty, it will be seen as a weakness and do not forget eye contact, when talking to Estonians. Never offer to shake hands in the doorway, Estonians believe that it brings bad luck. Do not forget that the way you dress, is important in Estonia. If you want to create a partnership with the hosts, be prepared to take care over what you wear. Estonians are well educated and very hard working people. Give them time and space, ask for their opinion about any problem and you will be surprised at the number of ideas they come up with. Trust is very important to them. Once they feel they can trust you, they can network with more Estonian companies on your behalf and facilitate introductions. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  18   Internship  and  placement     Work  experience   Student placements and internships are an important part of Estonian education. This work-related learning experience, under the guidance of a tutor, aims to give students actual work experience in their field of study. It gives them the opportunity to develop skills or obtain the qualifications needed for their future career development. Estonian students also have the option of studying abroad as exchange students for one or two semesters; to this end, grants are available in a variety of forms- through international programmes and organizations, partnership agreements, as well as government initiatives and funds. Host organisations providing student placements vary – they may be training centres, enterprises, research centres and various other organisations including higher education institutions in one of the 31 participating European countries. Placements and internerships can be paid or unpaid, some might cover expenses such as. meals, travel, language courses etc. The majority of Estonian Universities participate in the Erasmus Exchange programme for higher education, which provides the opportunity to study at a foreign university or to undertake training abroad. The programme works in partnership with over 400 higher education institutions. When participating in the programme, free tuition is guaranteed and a grant is provided which covers travel and subsistence costs. The amount of support is set each academic year, and students may also be required to cover some expenses themselves, depending on the cost of living in the country of their choice. In addition, some Estonian universities (such as Tartu University or Tallinn Universities) have a combined international student exchange programme ISEP, that offers study opportunities in America, among other countries. The participating universities guarantee free tuition, accommodation and a meals allowance for exchange students. Internship  and  Placement  advice   There are many practical issues related to international internship and work experience that need to be considered by the student or a host company and essential time should be set aside for all the arrangements and formalities. Social  security  and  European  health  insurance   Life expectancy in Estonia is generally lower than the OECD average. Estonia also lags behind the OECD average in terms of water quality. Citizens of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) are entitled to the same social welfare benefits in Estonia as the country’s residents. Therefore, if you are a student from an EU/EEA country, it is advisable to bring your EU health insurance card (EHIC) or equivalent certificate with you. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  19   You need to be aware that as an EU or EEA student studying in Estonia, you will not be covered by the Estonian social security system, unless you are employed, in which case you will need only your EHIC. If you are a non EU/EEA citizen and need to apply for a residence permit in order to study in Estonia, you must have health insurance in order to receive medical care. The following insurance companies are recognized and recommended by the Estonian Migration Board: AON Student Insurance; SwissCare International Student Health Insurance; ERGO Insurance and Crystal Studies Insurance. If you are intending to stay for long periods of time in Estonia, it might be worth registering with a family doctor. This is because the Estonian health system requires you to speak to your general practitioner (GP) first before you are referred to a consultant. As in many other European countries, the emergency number to call is 112. The national family doctor helpline, speed dial number is 1220 (or if you are abroad you can dial +372 630 4107). Safety   Estonia is a relatively safe country to live in, but it falls behind the OECD average on a number of safety indicators such as the assault rate, homicide rate and fear of crime by people generally. The Estonian authorities are watchful in combating terrorism and various threats to security. Overall, the threat of terrorism is low in Estonia; however you should also be mindful of the global risk of terrorist attacks. During the summer tourist season, sporadic crime in Tallinn’s Old Town can be an ongoing concern. Tourist-targeted crime, particularly petty theft is on the rise. You should be aware of the higher risks of pick pocketing and mugging, especially in bars, pubs, nightclubs and hotels in Tallinn’s Old Town. Similar to the Scandinavian countries, Estonia has short day light hours and it gets dark quickly during the winter time (from October to April). The law requires that pedestrians wear reflectors so that drivers can see them in the dark. These can be pinned to your coat or bags. There is not much use for this law in cities which tend to be well lit, but should you find yourself in a rural area, you must make sure that you have these reflectors on. Do  I  need  a  visa?   Citizens from approximately 60 countries, including the EU and EEA states, Japan, Canada and the USA, do not need a visa to enter Estonia. Other nationalities are able to acquire a visa from their nearest Estonian Consulate or Embassy. All students accepted by an Estonian educational institution should have a passport valid for their entire period of study. If you are an international student whose intended period of study in Estonia will exceed three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit. The citizens of EU countries, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and the USA are able to do this in Estonia, however, if you fall outside this category you should contact the nearest Estonian Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The process of getting a residence permit may take up to three months but the average time is around one month. Your residence permit for study will usually be granted for up to one year but never longer than the estimated duration of your studies. If you are an international student and you continue studying at the businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  20     same educational institution, your residence permit would generally be extended annually but would not exceed six years in total. Internship  and  placement  salary   Students’ placements vary as in many other countries and might be paid, partly paid or unpaid. There is a minimum wage in Estonia, which is regularly reviewed and sets out a minimum hourly and monthly rate. It is prohibited to pay anybody a lower wage than the national minimum. As with other countries, the start date of your work placement, the gross salary and the terms and conditions are all agreed with the employer. A basic salary is used as a starting point; usually however, there are organisations which also offer performance-related pay. Any changes to your wage will have to be agreed between you and your employer. The salary is usually paid on a monthly basis, and the transaction tends to be made by direct bank transfer. It is therefore helpful if you have a bank account already open when you start your employment. Monthly salary slips itemize all deductions such as taxes etc., and show hours paid as well as any bonuses and extra pay. Internship  and  placement  accommodation   In Estonia, it is possible to rent a flat or a house. Rentals may be furnished or unfurnished (more frequently furnished, especially in the case of flats). A flat can be rented directly from the owner or through a real estate company. The employer or the host organization may also help to find or recommend a place to stay. In some places – generally rural areas – accommodation often comes with a job; this is common when teachers are hired by schools in rural areas and also in the case of agricultural jobs. Rental prices of flats and houses vary across different regions of Estonia. For example, prices are highest in Harju County (in the capital Tallinn) and lowest in small towns and rural areas away from town centres. The rental prices in Tallinn can be as little as EUR 130 per month or almost four times that where location, condition and the number of rooms will determine the value. Utility costs are not included in the rent and have to be calculated on top. A deposit of at least one month’s rent is usually required as well as payment of the estate agent’s fees, if one is used, which can be equivalent to one month’s rent. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  21     Cost  of  Living     General feedback from visitors who have spent time in Estonia is that whilst living conditions tend to be similar to those across Western Europe, expenses are generally lower. A Graduate survey carried out in 2011 shows that international students think the cost of living in Estonia is much more affordable than elsewhere – scoring it 24% higher than the global average satisfaction with living costs. Rough estimates about what it costs for one person to live in Tartu for a month : • Housing, including heating, electricity, water: 80-120€ for student dormitories, 250-400€ for rental apartments • Estimated pocket money, groceries, etc:, 300-500 Euros • Public transportation: 8€ Money  and  Banking   Estonia adopted the Euro in January 2011, which makes it especially easy for those coming from the Euro area. You can pay with debit or credit cards in most places, even at kiosks and on trains. In order to make everyday shopping easier, you may want to consider opening an Estonian banking account. Anyone can open a bank account in Estonia, but many banks ask for a minimum deposit. Photo identification is also required as well as some proof of address and employment. Estonia’s main banks are Swedpank, SEB, and Sampo Bank (new name is Danske bank), they are the most accessible for foreigners as they make a policy of serving tourists and less paperwork is required to open an account. Most banks are closed on weekends and their office hours are Monday to Friday from 9.00 am till 4 pm. All major foreign currencies can be easily exchanged at currency exchange offices. These can be found at the port of Tallinn, the airport, railway stations and on every street corner in city centres. Estonians don’t have any unwritten rules about tipping, they tend to do it when the service is especially good. Bargaining is not a deep-rooted habit either. Traveling  costs   Travelling costs in Estonia generally tend to be cheaper than those in Western Europe, however these are no longer the bargain basement prices of the 1990s. Particularly in touristy areas, prices may be at Scandinavian levels – for example in Tallinn Old Town. Transportation outside of the main towns is generally cheap, particularly if you use the local buses. However, some more rural areas are less well connected and require a car. Car rental is affordable and usually offers a good choice of options, however, most vehicles tend to have a manual gearbox, so if you have only an automatic driving license you need to check availability of an automatic car in advance. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  22   Since Estonia (and particularly Tallinn) is a very popular tourist destination, there are a lot of low cost flights available from many European countries – such as Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  23     Work-­‐life  Balance     Estonians are ready to work long hours, including overtime, since good jobs are hard to find and they are keen to provide a good standard of living for their families. Estonians are very private people and in all probability, will not discuss their family with you until they know you better. The working day usually starts from 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. Estonian employees have the same problems as some of their western counterparts including working longer hours than are allowed by law, short annual leave, lack of paternity leave (though in some jobs paternity leave is allowed and can be rather long), lack of flexible working hours (depending on the job), an absence of help with day care for working mothers and so on. Companies who do not want to lose valued employees, are beginning to offer extra benefits such as flexible working time for parents , study leave and many other benefits that would have been inconceivable even five short years ago. National  holidays   The list of Public Holidays is as follows: • National holiday: 24 February (1918) is Independence Day; note – 24 February 1918 is the date of initial independence from Soviet Russia, and 20 August, 1991 is the date of regaining independence from the Soviet Union. Each 24 February, the president of Estonia holds a grand ball for prominent members of society and foreign dignitaries. • Jaanipäev : The night of 23-24 June is St John’s Day or Midsummer Day. It is celebrated with bonfires and traditional festive food and revolves around barbeques and drinking. • Võidupüha 23 June is a Victory day and celebrated to commemorate the crucial victory over Baltic-German forces in the War of Independence. • Christmas : or Jõulud is celebrated in Estonia, but this is mainly a family event. • New Year’s Eve: During the Soviet regime, the authorities promoted the New Year holiday instead of Christmas which was practically forbidden due to its supposed “religious” nature. After gaining independence, the significance of the New Year holiday diminished, but it is still a day-off and broadly celebrated. As in many other countries, this day is also used by the leaders of the nation to address the country. In Estonia, most employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 calendar days paid holidaya year ; some employees are entitled to more. This includes both working and non-working days. Most Estonians tend to take their vacations in the summer months of June, July and August and also around Christmas time. During the summer and Christmas holidays, management is not in the office and no one is able to make a decision. The best time for business meetings is therefore in the spring and autumn. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  24   Working  hours   The standard working week is 40 hours with an 8 hour day. Part time work depends on what the agreed working hours are. Business hours are Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an hour for lunch. People working in private business often work late, even at weekends. Office hours may vary, so it is useful to check before you try to contact your partner. Friday is, a short day in many businesses. People might leave around 4pm or even earlier so Friday afternoon is not a suitable time for meetings and visits. Banks usually open as early as 8:00am but close early too, and shops are open until 6:00pm on weekdays. Lunch breaks are normally kept short. Business lunches on the contrary can involve longlasting discussions. Working  culture   After Estonia regained its independence in 1991, its labour and social policies have been strongly focused on flexible markets, fiscal prudence and work incentives. During the mid 1990s and beyond, labour market performance improved steadily until the global economic crisis in 2008. Health  insurance   As a member of the EU, Estonia has signed all European documents connected with health and longterm care. In Estonia, obligatory health insurance has been established for some time now. The resources for health insurance come from 13% of the social tax (social tax is 33%), or 13% of the employee’s gross salary, paid by the employer. Health insurance is based on the principle that the health service is not reliant on the amount of social tax that is paid for a specific person. The health insurance fund pays the cost of health service for the insured person to the relevant medical institution. In Estonia, everyone is entitled to receive emergency care, regardless of having health insurance or not. In the case of illness, the family doctor is usually the first person to contact. He or she advises on activities that prevent diseases, intoxication or injuries and provides general health care to all the patients on his/her list. The family doctor is selected according to the person’s main place of residence, where the need for health care is most likely. The family doctor will refer the patient to a specialist or to the hospitals required. A letter of recommendation from a family doctor may not be required if consulting an oculist, psychiatrist, gynaecologist, or specialist in skin problems, venereal disease or tuberculosis, a dentist or in the case of trauma. The emergency number of 112 should be used to call for emergency medical care. Emergency medical staff will provide primary health care to anyone staying in the territory of Estonia, regardless of citizenship, nationality, whether they have a health insurance card or not. If you, or any of your associates, are taken ill suddenly or have an accident during your visit to Estonia, free or reduced-cost treatment is available if you have a valid EHIC. Only state-funded hospital treatment is covered, and you will receive treatment on the same terms as ‘insured’ local residents. Treatment in private clinics is definitely not covered by the EHIC, and sometimes you might have to pay for part of the treatment received from the state-hospital (haigla). businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  25   An apteek (pharmacy) in Estonia is the place to buy prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Regular business hours for pharmacies are 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, but some designated pharmacies stay open 24hours a day and also on holidays. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •              |  26   Social  Media  Guide     The Estonian telecoms market is amongst the most developed in Eastern Europe. Estonia has a relatively high Internet usage, which includes Internet banking, various government services as well as relatively high broadband penetration. In 2012, there were 993,785 internet users in Estonia, which represents 77.5% of the population. Statistics Estonia states that during the first quarter of 2010 75% of the Estonian population were using computers and the internet. Private  individuals   The Passport to Trade 2.0 project survey, had difficulties collecting primary data using social media therefore the main recommendations in this section are based on secondary sources and internet research. The most popular social media websites in Estonia are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Orkut, Hot.ee and Rate.ee. The Hot.ee and Rate.ee are local sites designed and developed in Estonia. For Russian speaking population (almost 25% of the total population) – odnoklassniki (Одноклассники), moi mir (Мой Мир), moi kurg (Мой Круг) are popular. Overall, Facebook is the most popular social network, followed by Twitter, Orkut and Rate.ee. The Russian minority is active in their social media use. Some research suggests that they are also frequent users of their own language communities, especially odnoklassniki (Одноклассники), which is used very frequently by more than 40% of Russian speaking social media users. However, as observed in other countries, even the most popular applications like Facebook or YouTube do not engage every social media user. Socialbakers statistics show that Facebook penetration in Estonia is about 40% in relation to the country’s population and 51% in relation to the number of registered Internet users. The total number of Facebook users in Estonia is over 500,000. The age group of the largest users (28%) in 2013 was 2534, followed by users in the 18-24 age range – which represent a quarter of all users. SMEs   According to research (undertaken by the Estonian Business School) Estonian businesses are just starting to use Social media for business purposes. 38% of researched companies believe that social media is very important for their company’s future. In Estonia, Facebook is considered to have the biggest potential as an SME channel (78% use Facebook to promote their business, Blog use is 11% and YouTube use is 5%). They consider that the primary benefits of using social media are to present their company to customers, increase website visits and develop new client relationships. businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  27     Search  and  Social  Media  Marketing  for  International  Business   Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics: How to develop a personal brand online (1/12) • • Whether you are a student beginning a job search or a business person planning a new business venture, personal branding can make a difference. Learn about personal branding and why it is important for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=l9LYw0mgtn4&feature=player _embedded How to use Twitter (2/12) • • Learn the basics of using Twitter to develop an individual or business profile. Remember to use hash tag #SSMMUoS to share your learning journey on this course so far! http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=9CVY3pp91Dc&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12) businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  28     • • Learn the principles of SEO to ensure that your website and any social media profiles are found by individuals searching for your name, products and services. These basic principles of SEO include keyword research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=zw27cRcwtM0&feature=player _embedded How to use social media for international business development (4/12) • • Social media networks break down the traditional country barriers, but do you know which networks are relevant for the country you are interested in trading with? Find out in this video how to identify the relevant networks and what social media strategies you might be able to use on these networks. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Bx-B56AHS4c&feature= player_embedded How to use Facebook (5/12) • • Facebook is currently the largest social media network in the world and it can benefit you as a business as well as an individual. Learn how to develop a Facebook business page and see how other businesses use it and what strategies work for them. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UmRGn-vdcO8&feature= player_embedded businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  29     How to use YouTube (6/12) • • YouTube was identified as the second largest social network amongst younger internet users as part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project. Learn how to optimise your video content in order to reach wider audiences for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=G2 0OVpmTBss How to use LinkedIn (7/12) • • LinkedIn is one of the three main professional social networks – the others being Xing and Viadeo which are also popular in several European countries. Learn how to make the most of LinkedIn for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=N6e_EAUQqic&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Google+ (8/12) • • • Google+ is the second largest social network as of January 2013. It is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that has the biggest impact when it comes to search engine results integration for anyone who uses Google as their main search engine. Learn how to make the most of Google+ for you and your digital profiles. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=8ti 3SPHkEWw businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  30     How to use copywriting online (9/12) • • Copywriting is a process of translating technical specifications and product descriptions into engaging and understandable customer focused text. Learn about the basic techniques in structuring your online content here. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=5f1hx_f2ONI&feature=player_ embedded How to stay legal on social media (10/12) • • Everything and anything you do and say online can be potentially viewed by anyone who has internet access. Always respect the law and familiarise yourself with new options offered to you through a creative commons licence which is popular online. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=eQxDpiHsdk&feature=player_embedde d How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12) • • Whether you are an individual or a business spending time on social media – there has to be a return on your engagement online. How do you justify your engagement on social media to your boss? Listen to the industry experts in this area and see what you might be able to measure in respect of your on-line engagements. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=LbEq7jsG0jg&feature=player_ embedded businessculture.org     Content  Estonia  
    •            |  31     How to blog (12/12) • • http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=OqVjR7oI8Rs&feature=player _embedded businessculture.org     • Blogging is a process of writing text and sharing content with others. It can help your customers or friends to keep in-touch regardless of social media platforms. Think about the voice you might want to adopt and who your audience might be. Share your thoughts with us by writing a blog post about this MOOC. Tweet us the link to your post on the #SSMMUoS Twitter hash tag. Content  Estonia  
    •              |  32   Passport  to  Trade  2.0  Project  Partnership   Five Universities: Lead partner: Salford Business School, University of Salford, United Kingdom Elena Vasilieva Aleksej Heinze Alex Fenton URENIO research unit at Aristole University of Thessaloniki, Greece Christina Kakderi Nitsa Papadopouloui TSE Entre Research Centre Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland Satu Aaltonen Elisa Akola Institute for Information System Research University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany Verena Hausmann Susan P. Williams Petra Schubert Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania Adriana Grigorescu Leonardo Badea Three Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Spin, Italy Carmine Antonio Donato Dorella De Tommaso Technology Development & Innovation – TDI LTD Bulgaria Milanka Slavova Ivan Stoychev TIS Praha, Czech Republic Anna Klosova Richard Adekeye businessculture.org     Content  Estonia