Estonia, through the Accelerate Estonia program, has expanded its regulatory sandbox initiative to support UK startups.

The sandbox is intended to remove specific regulatory barriers for UK startups that could be hindering their growth. 

Accelerate Estonia works with a small group of startups, creating collaboration between companies and the Estonian Government.  

According to Accelerate Estonia, nearly one-in-five startups that fail name regulatory changes as the principal reason for their failure. 

For 2024, Accelerate Estonia has aimed their focus at UK startups, inviting them to apply for the programme. 

Accelerate Estonia has already selected two such companies to present their business to the programme: medical startup Your Cue and clean energy start-up O-Innovations. 

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Your Cue is developing a finger-based health wearable that monitors the wearer’s health vitals and stores the data in a cloud platform. 

O-Innovations has patented a wind turbine specifically for cities and urban areas. 

Accelerate Estonia stated that all the startups that applied to its first UK cohort faced regulatory hurdles, ranging from data protection to genetic modification. 

Both Your Cue and O-Innovations have now been invited to present to Accelerate Estonia’s Advisory Board to determine their suitability for state funding.  

If successful, Your Cue and O-Innovations will work with the Estonian Government to create a regulatory sandbox and be granted access to Estonia’s market to test and refine their products. 

Head of government relations and communications at Accelerate Estonia, Anett Numa, stated that a regulatory sandbox can give startups the much-needed freedom to experiment with their technologies, which could have a meaningful impact on their potential customers. 

“Yet, like a significant proportion of tech start-ups, each team is blocked by outdated laws and an overly complicated regulatory landscape,” Numa said. 

“For those accepted into the Accelerate programme, they will have the opportunity to work with the Estonian Government to address those challenges, providing regulators in the UK and around the world with a framework that enables innovation, rather than throttling it,” she stated. 

Accelerate Estonia has partnered with Oxford-based consultancy Oxentia to help identify potential UK candidates for the programme.