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Wise and technology’s next generation

We’re committed to helping the next generation of tech talent thrive.

At Wise

That starts in Estonia, where we have our biggest office with over 1,300 people and where we have brought some of the world’s best tech talent to work together.

Estonia has a unique opportunity to set a global standard as the e-society of the future. We want to help make sure Estonia continues to achieve that vision.

We’re committed to helping the next generation of tech talent thrive.

Solving challenges in the education system

"Estonia ranks high in PISA ranking scores, but if you dig deeper you see quite a few cracks. The teachers in Estonia are currently the oldest in OECD countries and younger generations aren’t applying to be teachers. For some reason society doesn’t seem to attribute the credit to teachers that they deserve."

Wise Co-founder Taavet Hinrikus explains why he’s so passionate about improving schooling in Estonia.

Solving challenges in the education system

What we're up to?

Next level tech education

We're supporting the creation of a new innovative coding school kood / Jõhvi. The school will open its doors in autumn 2021 in Jõhvi and is aiming to reduce software developers shortage in Estonia. The school welcomes students from all backgrounds and is looking for ways to attract more women to study coding.

We are excited to be part of the school's everyday life through internships, hackathons and mentoring, and we’re collaborating with the school to add a fintech track to its study programme. Read more from Taavet's blog here.

Inspiring tech classes

To support schools and teachers in the remote learning setup, Wise employees decided to share their tech knowledge with youngsters via online video classes. Kids can watch the classes, held in Estonian, either with classmates or individually to learn more about inspiring tech subjects.

All class recordings are available in Estonian here and read the blog here.

Providing the tools

Wise donated 130 laptops through Igale koolilapsele arvuti (“Computer to every school child”), to families in need, and gave a number of headsets and other equipment to local schools, to support teachers and students in the remote learning setup.

We also donate tech equipment to local coding schools.

Headmaster Internship: Innovating school management

For the past 2 years, we've been part of an exciting development programme kicked off by Good Deed Education Fund in partnership with Fontes and Tallinn Education Department, where local school headmasters do an internship in innovative companies to learn from their experience.

What were the key learnings from this year? Read the interview with the Headmaster of Tallinn German School Kaarel Rundu and his mentor, Wise's UK Product Lead Lars Trunin here.

JA: Motivating future entrepreneurs

We've partnered up with Junior Achievement Estonia, adding a tech module to their entrepreneurship course. The module engages students' creativity and analytical thinking in solving real-life problems and encourages the use of tech solutions. As part of the module, mentors from Wise support students with practical feedback and advice.

At their annual Student Company Fair, we presented the Wise Innovation Award for the most innovative student company. The winner UltraLink produces self-cleaning door handles using UV light.

ASÕP: Supporting teachers

In the distance learning situation our teachers need all the support they can get. In collaboration with ASÕP substitute teachers programme, Wisers can sign up to go and teach a (virtual) class in a local school.

Taavet kicked off the substitute classes by giving English to 5th and 6th graders in Randvere school near Tallinn.

Closing the IT skills gap

We partnered with Tartu University to research the tech skills gap, and how to fix it. Today 29.8% of students who take up IT subjects at uni drop out after their first year.

The research was carried out between Sept 2018 and April 2019 and the full report can be found in Estonian here and in English here.

Mentoring at Hüppelaud

For the past 4 years, Wise has been supporting the young inventors Hüppelaud summer school through exciting workshops and practical mentoring from Wise Co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and others.

In 2020, the first ever all-virtual Hüppelaud brought teens across Estonia (virtually) together for a week to invent, build and create new products and solutions, with a focus on digital learning tools. Find out more here and have a listen on Äripäev radio in Estonian here.

Providing a forum for discussion

Together with Eesti 2.0, Wise is organizing discussion mornings to raise awareness around STEAM education issues in Estonia.

In August 2019, we discussed the future of tech education at the annual Opinion Festival.

Startup Week Tallinn

Wise hosted Startup Week's Future Founders track kick-off event. With the help of experienced mentors, teens participated in a product workshop and found ways how tech can solve today's burning social issues.

Read more about why future founders want to learn outside the traditional classroom here and check out the event gallery here.

sTARTUp Day

Wise partnered up with sTARTUp Day 2020 in Tartu, making sure the festival's Youth Area had an exciting programme, packed with hands-on workshops and motivating talks.

Read more about how to teach tech to youngsters in Estonian here and in English here.

Company visits

Wise is opening its doors to local schools, inviting kids to get a glimpse of the startup vibe, learn about the varied career paths tech education can lead to, and dive into product building by participating in a group workshop.

Improving STEAM-Ed

Ede Schank Tamkivi, CEO of Eesti 2.0, and Taavet Hinrikus, Co-founder and Chairman of Wise moderated a panel discussion around STEAM-Ed at Latitude59 conference in May 2019. Find out more here.

Wise 20 Under 20

Wise is searching for the 20 most talented young entrepreneurs in Europe and Australia. We want to make sure that the next generation of entrepreneurs can thrive and we’re committed to supporting them in making their business global.

In 2021, in addition to the £25,000 prize money and expert mentoring, we are introducing special awards to an outstanding EdTech, GreenTech and social enterprise. Find out more here.

In-house Hackathons

Wise organises in-house Hackathons - events where students and hackathon enthusiasts gather up for two crazy days to share their ideas and build something awesome in FinTech. Find out more here and read about last year's winners here.

Good Deed Education Fund

Taavet and Bolt co-founder Martin Villig launched a fund to provide seed capital for innovative initiatives in Estonian education.

  • Education Fun 1.0 - In 2019-2021, the fund contributed 1 million euros to impactful educational projects. Read more about the impact of the first three years here.

  • Education Fund 2.0 - Launched in early 2022, the fund plans to further contribute 2 million euros to initiatives and projects in 2022-2024, helping to bring the education in Estonia to the next level. Up to 5% of the fund will support initiatives helping children who have fled the Ukrainian war to continue their education in Estonia.

The founders find the high average age of teachers, lack of appreciation for the teaching profession and high dropout rates in schools to be big problems in Estonian education. In addition, developing STEAM skills at schools, and improving teaching quality in these subjects, is important as these are key competencies needed to succeed in today’s world.

The fund is backed by around 40 Estonian entrepreneurs and companies, including Wise, Bolt, Veriff and Pipedrive.

Good Deed Education Fund

Only 7% of young people in Estonia wish to study tech-related subjects.

According to a study by Kantar Emor on behalf of Wise,

Find out more about the research with Tartu University here.

Ärileht published an in depth analysis of the reasons behind the STEAM skills education gap in Estonia after the journalist visited our discussion morning. Read the article in English here and the original in Estonian here.

Only 7% of young people in Estonia wish to study tech-related subjects.

Video: How to help teens make their career choice?