Estonian Smart City Cluster (ESCC)  is designed to create an innovative environment in cities which will boost the competitive ability of companies by bringing together businesses, citizens, public authorities, R&D institutes and structures that support innovation.

The cluster focuses on the creation, development (including product development) and exporting of innovative solutions in different spheres of urban life and related to the development of smart (er) cities. Setting up the cluster was a joint initiative between the City of Tartu, various R&D institutions (University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology) and companies. The cluster currently has 28 members. The cluster companies (mostly SMEs) include both ICT companies as well as smart city infrastructure providers (energy, transportation, etc).  ESCC has strong ties with the Estonian ICT Cluster, one of the oldest and strongest clusters in Estonia (a number of ICT companies are members of both clusters).

ESCC takes a holistic approach on smart cities, aiming at development, delivery and export of smart ICT and mobile based services and products in the following priority areas – Smart and Green Mobility, Energy and Environment, Tourism, Healthcare and Wellbeing, Governance and public services. In terms of technologies, the focus areas include digital industries and mobility technologies.

Main focus areas of the cluster are:
1. ICT in different actions and processes of the cities
2. ICT and other technologies in developing healthcare and social welfare in an efficient and cost effective way
3. Smart & green mobility
4. Energy efficiency in buildings and building maintenance

Main service areas
The cluster offers the following services to its members:
  • Support in setting up joint innovation projects and facilitating mutually beneficial collaboration between members in different fields
  • Gathering and mediating information regarding important developments and initiatives in various smart city domains
  • Support in identifying funding opportunities for innovative projects - both private funding (VCs, business angels) as well as public funding programmes (Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, COSME, Interreg, etc.)
  • Innovation Management support, incl. support in product/service development via Smart City Lab living lab (end-user testing), setting up pilot projects, etc.
  • Internationalisation support - consultancy services and support in contact building for internationalisation activities both inside the EU as well as in third countries
The cluster service provision and internationalisation activities are supported by Baltic Innovation Agency (BIA), a specialised consultancy offering business development and innovation support services to the cluster members. BIA is a member of Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and also a founding member of the cluster.

Estonian Smart City Cluster also runs the first functional living lab in Estonia that is focusing on collecting end-user feedback to new services and products being developed by companies & R&D institutions. We have a database of more than 300 test users who have signed up for testing on our web page and are committed to be the testers for different service and product prototypes and other relevant solutions that are tested in our living lab. This has helped a number of companies in validating their solutions with end-users before those solutions are brought to the market.

By the year 2023 Estonian Smart City Cluster is internationally known as the leading developer and exporter of smart city solutions that are based on ICT and other technologies.

Our mission is to support the development of smart city solutions in order to improve the life quality in the cities, and also to accelerate the export of enterprises. This  is  achieved via internationally valued innovation environment, where city authorities and citizens, scientists, enterprises etc. are co-creating smart solutions based on contemporary technologies, that make providing both public and private smart city services more effective and easier to use.

The activities of the cluster were co-financed from 2015-2018 by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Enterprise Estonia cluster development programme. The project lasted from 1 December 2015 to 30 November 2018 at a total cost of €1,200,000, 50% of which comprised support from the ERDF.