During the first two years of its e-residency project, which provides foreigners with the opportunity to register companies in Estonia and use other e-state services, Estonia already has 15,000 e-residents who have established more than 1,000 businesses. The President of Estonia stressed the importance of the program in introducing Estonia to the world.
According to President Kersti Kaljulaid, e-residency has helped to make Estonia bigger and has attracted a lot more interest globally.
“Now we have to figure out how the public and private sectors could be even more involved and create new services which would significantly increase the number of e-residents”, Kaljulaid said. “There are no technological or geographical limits here”.
According to Kaspar Korjus, head of the country’s e-residency project, companies set up by e-residents annually leave more than 4.3 million euros in taxes and fees in Estonia.
“If our calculations are correct, every euro that Estonia has invested in developing e-residency brings in at least 43 euros to our state and economy”, he said.
Korjus found that the Estonian state would be capable of multiplying the number of e-residence and the companies they set up with targeted actions over the coming years.
According to Taavi Kotka, one of the brainchildren behind the e-residency idea as well as deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications responsible for communication and state information systems, the total number of Estonian e-residents may soar in 2017 as changes to the law will soon make it possible to open a bank account in Estonia without having to be physically present in the country to do so.
In order to find better e-solutions for supporting entrepreneurship around the world, the e-residency team has been cooperating with the UN, World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), Google as well as Paypal since this summer.
According to Korjus, after the UK’s decision to exit the EU, British citizens who wish to continue conducting business in the EU but live in the UK have shown an increased interest in e-residency.
Estonia is the first country in the world to provide e-residency, launched on December 2, 2014. E-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows people living abroad to operate in Estonia’s e-environment and use e-services on par with Estonian residents.
E-residency is a service provided by the government of the Republic of Estonia, however it does not bring with it physical residency rights or the right of entry to Estonia or the EU. E-residency likewise does not entail any residential or citizen rights and cannot be used as a physical identification card or travel document. (ERR/Business World Magazine)