The best in innovation and entrepreneurial cooperation between Estonians and Americans was celebrated today, with TransferWise taking home the prize for the 2016 Estonian American Innovation Award. Teleport received the Most Innovative Newcomer Award and Garage48 received the Facebook Creativity Recognition Award.
“These awards are a great way to honor the innovative spirit that connects the United States and Estonia. And I hope this inspires more people and companies from our two countries to work together to create the next big idea,” said U.S. Ambassador to Estonia James D. Melville. He was joined at the ceremony by Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Estonia Andrus Alber, Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) board member Andres Trink and Facebook’s head of Public Policy for Central and Eastern Europe Gabriella Cseh.
As recipient of the Innovation Award, TransferWise will receive a prize of €10,000 euros from BAFF. The online money transfer service, which allows users to transfer money up to 89 per cent cheaper than with a bank, established two new offices in the United States this year, providing similar domestic transfer depositing services as they do in Europe.
Other finalists for the Innovation Award prize this year included Cybernetica AS, Skeleton Technologies AS, Teleport, and Testlio.
Teleport, the Most Innovative Newcomer Award winner, builds software to help people find the best place for them to live and work by providing knowledge, such as costs associated with extending their startup’s runway, finding like-minded people to build with, tax and regulatory environment and more. The company will collect a €5,000 euro prize from BAFF.
Garage48 was selected by Facebook for the Creativity Recognition Award for its Trafficking In Persons Garage48 hackathon, conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. The event gathered 60 participants from 10 different countries to use technology to tackle the scourge of human trafficking. For the group’s work, Garage48 will receive a €2,000 prize from Facebook.
Initiated in 2011, this annual award is a cooperative project of the U.S. Embassy, the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia and recognizes innovation by Estonians in partnership with Americans in a broad range of fields.