BPW Estonia (Business and Professional Women Organisation in Estonia)


BPW Estonia, a non-profit organization, was founded on 11th November in 1992 to develop the professional, business, and leadership potential of women through mentoring, networking, skill-building, advocacy as well as to empower projects on regional, national and international level.

BPW Estonia is part of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW), a worldwide organization that was established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1930. In 1947 it was accredited as an advisory organisation in United Nations (UN) and in 1977 as a consultative institution in the Council of Europe. Though BPW International serves professional businesswomen across more than 100 countries, Europe is the most substantial region with ca. 20,000 members in nearly 30 countries.

BPW Estonia is an affiliate member of the International Federation of BPW International, and has eleven clubs with almost 200 members across regions all over Estonia.

Larger purpose of the BPW Estonia is to empower women to get to leadership positions, stand for gender equality, fight against Gender Pay Gap, and organize initiatives to increase the number of female entrepreneurs.


BPW Estonia founders: 

Leena Blum, Anne Hallika, Pille Heideman, Karin Juhat, Hille Karm, Liis Klaar, Hilja Kuusk, Maie Oblikas, Riina Kütt, Sirje Küttis, Reet Laja, Katrin Leis, Malle Lind, Maila Mikk, Marge Mägi, Tiiu Ots, Vaike Protten, Helve Remmelgas, Helle Tiismus, Eve Uljas, Virve Viljus, Anne Väin, Ludmilla Tsirel



It has been a long tradition to elect the Woman of the Year in Estonia and to attribute the title to socially and professionally outstanding women of Estonia; as a result, strengthening the importance of the role active and inspiring women hold in Estonian society. The Women of the Year are highlighted below:


The Women of the Year

1993 Daisy Järva – Managing Director of the Tallinntuur Travel Agency

1994 Heidi-Ingrid Maaroos – Professor of Medicine at the University of Tartu

1995 Aino Valgma – Promoter of regional studies and local development

1996 Annely Ojastu – Winner of Paralympic Games

1997 Ivi Eenmaa – Mayor of Tallinn

1998 Liis Klaar – Director of the Foundation of Tallinn Pediatric Hospital at Tallinn office

1999 Tiia Loitme – Conductor of the Girl’s Choir Ellerhein

2000 Zanna Botvinkina – A member of the board of Kehra Pulp and Paper Factory Horizon, Chairwoman of Kehra Town Council

2001 Leida Kikka – Executive Director of Samelin Ltd.

2002 Merike Martinson – Chairman of the Board of the Foundation of Tallinn Pediatric Hospital, currently serves as the Vice Mayor of Tallinn

2003 Birute Klaas – Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of Tartu University

2004 Marika Mikelsaar – Professor of the microbiology of Tartu University

2005 Signe Ratso – Director of the Directory of Foreign Trade of the European Commission

2006 Maie Orav – Teacher of folk dance of recognized authority, organizer of the first Folk Dance Festival of men

2007 Anna Levandi – Figure skating coach

2008 Kauksi Ülle – Writer and stage director

2009 Aet Maatee – Manager of Estonian Song and Dance Celebration Foundation

2010 Kristina Šmigun-Vähi – Cross-country skier

2011 Tea Varrak – Founder of two private business schools, Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Estonia

2012 Maike Parve – Chief Physician of Childbirth Center at the Central Hospital of Western-Tallinn

2013 Katri Raik – Director of Tartu University Narva College

2014 Reet Aus – Fashion designer

2015 Marina Kaljurand – Estonian diplomat and currently serves as the Minister for Foreign Affairs

2016 Helve Särgava – Saidafarm OÜ, Vice Manager

2017 Mari-Liis Lill – Actress and Producer

2018 Eva Truuverk – “Let’s Do It”, leader

2019 Emoke Sogenbitz- Industrial leader

2020 Irja Lutsar –  Estonian microbiologist and virologist, professor of medical microbiology and virology at the University of Tartu

2021 Katrina Lehis – Estonian left-handed épée fencer, 2018 individual European champion, 2021 team Olympic champion

2022 Johanna-Maria Lehtme – founder of the MTÜ Slava Ukraini


The Women of the Years

1993 Salme Reek – Actress

1997 Marju Lauristin – Professor at the University of Tartu

2007 Ita Ever – Actress

2012 Siiri Oviir – Politician

2015 Ingrid Rüütel – Folklorist and Philologist

2017 Reet Laja – Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Center, Chairman of the Board

2019 Anu Raud- Textile artist, Academician

2022 Kersti Kaljulaid – President of Estonia in 2016-2021


Young Woman Entrepreneur

2011  Eva-Maria Õunapuu – Founder of Estonian nature cosmetics brand Joik

2012  Katriin Jüriska – Manager of NGO Re-use Center

2013  Darja Saar – Executive Director of Foundation ENTRUM

2014  Kriss Soonik-Käärmann – Fashion Designer

2015  Kristi Täht – Owner and CEO at Marat OÜ, Qualitex AS, Katarina OÜ

2016  Kristi Saare – Founder of the Women’s Investment Club

2017  Kristel Kruustük – Founder and CEO of Testlio

2018  Ann Runnel- Reverse Resources, Founder

2019  Mari Liis Lind – Tech educator

2020  Marion Teder – CEO at CareMate

2021  Kadri Tuisk – CEO at Clanbeat, impact entrepreneur

2022  Kerli Ats – head of the family company Luigeveski Agro OÜ and CEO of the Central Union of Estonian Farmers


BPW Estonia organizes an annual hat party every summer. Every year, we support a children’s or women’s organization or institution in Estonia with this event.

In 2023, we supported the activities of the SA Estonian Children’s Fund’s ATH support groups. The hat party took place for the 26th time.


BPW Estonia invites everyone throughout April, and especially on Earth Day, April 22nd, to think more about their daily activities in the context of environmental conservation and to make commitments to both themselves and Mother Earth based on environmental and nature preservation.

Active projects


BPW Estonia has started and/or participated over the years in different projects initiated by the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Office of Gender Equality, European Integration Bureau, and the European Union Information Secretariat as well as by Coca-Cola Foundation. BPW Estonia experts have reached women in Norway, Finland, Moldova, Georgia, Moscow, Malta and many other places across the world.


BPW Estonia initiated the program “Women in Business – GREEN AND CARING WORLD” in 2021 with the aim of creating and expanding a nationwide network of women entrepreneurs in Estonia. Network members are leaders in green business practices in their communities and society at large. The program’s goal is to increase the number of women entrepreneurs leading green business initiatives in Estonia. While the program’s initial year was focusing on raising awareness, in 2023 it is concentrating on developing practical skills in green entrepreneurship. Women participating in the program gain knowledge and expertise in green entrepreneurship, including how to make products and services environmentally friendly and create new green businesses. The program primarily supports small and medium-sized enterprises with the guidance of well-acknowledged mentors in the field of sustainability.

BPW Estonia has developed during a program a Green Entrepreneurship Guide and envisions the emergence of a competitive green startup from their network.

The program started as an initiative of the BPW Estonia Tallinn Club and is part of the international network BPW International for business and professional women. By today, the program has expanded across the Europe and the world.

In 2023 the project is supported by Coca-Cola Foundation, Estonian Business School and Estonian Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.


Founder of the program idea: Siiri Tiivits-Puttonen, member of BPW Estonia Green Club

Partnership lead: Ester Eomois, member of BPW Estonia Enterpreneurship Club

Communications: Jolan Henriette Koduvere, member of BPW Estonia Green Club


In 2023 BPW Estonia initiated the program “Women Support Women – Estonia and Ukraine”. The aim of this project is to connect women entrepreneurs with Ukrainian refugees to support Ukrainian women in starting their lives and careers in Estonia. The project collaborates with organizations, social centers, and women’s groups supporting Ukrainian refugees.

The main partner of the project is the NGO Divergent Women, and it will run throughout 2023.

Our project helps to bring people together, integrate Ukrainians into our society and to support those who have suffered greatly while grappling with language and economic barriers.

During our project, a network will be established between Ukrainian and Estonian women who will regularly meet to encourage and support each other. Over the past year, we have also conducted webinars led by psychologists to support Ukrainian women both in Estonia and Ukraine. In collaboration with Garage 49, we are assisting 50 Ukrainian women in establishing their businesses. The network, in various forms of collaboration, encompasses 500 Ukrainian women.

The project is supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation.


Founder of the program idea: Ester Eomois, member of BPW Estonia Enterpreneurship Club

Communications: Jolan Henriette Koduvere, member of BPW Estonia Green Club


Project reports:



Tallinn Club
President: Maie Mängel

Tartu Club
President: Katrin Erit

Rannamõisa Club
President: Algi Sinisalu

Enterpreneurship Club
President: Külliki Kesa

Pärnu Club
President: Riina Tomast

Võru Club
President: Merle Koop

Business Club
President: Kris Leinatamm

Narva Club
President: Ljubov Fomina

Saaremaa Club
President: Kädi Alt

Green Club
President: Siiri Tiivits-Puttonen

Innovation Club
President: Kaire Luuk

Leader: Angela Korela




Merle Saviauk



Post & Bank


MTÜ BPW Estonia, reg no 80036176

Postal address: Ristiku 10, Tallinn, Estonia
E-mail: info@bpw-estonia.ee

Bank: AS SEB Pank
Tornimäe 2, Tallinn, Estonia
IBAN: EE851010052032732009