Kitt: Estonians can sell and do it well

22.10.2012, 11:00

Robert Kitt, Head of Corporate Banking Division at Swedbank Estonia, says that export numbers show that Estonians can sell and do it well, writes news2biz.

Speaking at the ceremony of Swedish Business Awards held in Tallinn last week, Kitt said: “It is often said that Estonians cannot sell anything – but let's look at some numbers.

Estonia's export per capita is EUR 9,000, Finland's is 10,500, so it is just a small difference.

At the same time, Estonia's GDP per capita is four times lower than that of Finland. So, Estonia is four times poorer, but in essence it can sell as well as the Finns.

What comes next? How long can Estonia utilise this model? Long enough if it is smart.

Some people say Estonia only does subcontracting. But subcontracting can have a very high margin – what's wrong with that? Herein lies the opportunity of small economies if we are flexible and reliable enough to make products that China cannot do. And, if the demand changes, we can produce something else.

The common denominator of successful young entrepreneurs is that they are very flexible, they produce in extremely small quantities, and they deliver ASAP.

As the biggest lender we see the financials of individuals and companies and I can assure you that Estonia is doing really well, our balance sheet is healthy. The deposit side is covering the loan side, we are the world champions of public loan, and industrial production is also balanced.

Estonia's success is based on the decision made 20 years ago to have the economy rely solely on entrepreneurs. Private sector is in the driver's seat, and all three crises have made our entrepreneurs stronger.