Ülo Pärnits, creator and developer of the Ülemiste City business campus (1936–2016)
The year was 2005. The former closed Dvigatel war factory, dilapidated industrial buildings on the edge of Tallinn. Only by trying very hard is it possible to imagine that in just ten years, there will be a blooming and growing business campus with hundreds of companies and thousands of employees, which will affectionately be called the Estonian Silicon Valley. Ülo Pärnits was able to imagine this. And throughout the years, he involved others, motivated, directed, established relations, and the vision started to actually take shape. Unfortunately, Ülo himself only had enough time left to establish this, but the decade was enough to provide an impetus and a direction. His spark and ideas are now carried forward by others.
Ülo’s actions and activities were not limited to this, of course. Even before creating Ülemiste City, he had left an impression in the economic and social life of Estonia. Mostly by leading and managing Mainor through five decades. This, by the way, during a breakthrough time when the IME project was concocted, the Popular Front was led, and the financial legislation of the Republic of Estonia was created at Mainor. From Mainor’s hotbed, and under Ülo’s leadership, arose a whole pleiad of young Estonian leaders for whom he was a major mentor; and together with the Swedish media giant Bonnier, they created the newspaper Äripäev. Ülo was also one of the key persons and founders in the former Prime Minister party, the Estonian Coalition Party.
‘Education is capital!’ Ülo loved to say. In his view of the world, education always carried special value. This was a thing that both the individual and the society should constantly invest in, throughout their lives. After finishing university, a person should obtain additional higher education in their lifetime. Ülo achieved this himself, and he considered it an obvious truth of life, encouraging people around him to improve themselves constantly. Several educational institutions, from a university to a kindergarten, have been established on Ülo’s initiative or with his help. In the final years of his life, he was also the Rector of the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences.