solo show in Tartu Art Museum

A small shop in the suburbs of Pärnu. Estonia advertises itself to the world as a place where founding a company only takes a moment. Great. What about ending business activities? In the 1990s, many were glad to exploit the newly liberalised opportunities for entrepreneurship and haven’t stopped doing business ever since, although continuing their entrepreneurial activities hasn’t been their heart’s desire for a long time.

Small businesses, or more accurately micro businesses, form about 95% of Estonian companies. Most of them have only a couple of employees, often only one: the owner. 28% of all entrepreneurs are women. Great. Of these women, 72% are solo entrepreneurs. How many of them think about quitting each and every day?

Once a male prime minister said that those who have been entrepreneurs for twenty years are heroes since they are brave enough not to give up. He said this some years ago. Last year, a male owner well above fifty decided to sell his large car sales company to Finns, and the daily business newspaper named him the entrepreneur of the year precisely because he dared to quit. What does this say about Estonia? How many people dream of a soft landing?