Last year, E-Residents established 4,700 new businesses, a 33% increase over the previous year and a program record. E-residents have created over 20,000 Estonian companies in total.
According to the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Andres Sutt, e-resident companies enrich the Estonian economic space and contribute to the country’s reputation as an attractive investment destination. “e-Residency is a chance to establish a business in Estonia. It empowers entrepreneurs worldwide by enabling them to run their businesses entirely digitally”. As Sutt remarked, “International entrepreneurs and talent bring new skills and knowledge to the Estonian business environment, which will also drive the growth of local firms and enhance global competitiveness.” The Minister emphasized that in the current security environment, e-residency is not a means to evade sanctions or conduct illegal business. “Security is an important aspect of e-residency. All law-abiding businesses have access to the e-services of the Estonian government and the European economy through this program, said Sutt.
According to Lauri Haav, CEO of the e-Residency program, e-residents are establishing businesses at a record rate. While the first 10,000 e-Residency companies were added to the Estonian economy in five years, the subsequent 10,000 were added in two. “E-residency has created an entirely new market niche for local businesses, allowing them to expand internationally, recruit labor, and increase revenue.” According to Haav, the program has also contributed to the revitalization of the quality business services sector in Estonia. He emphasized that Estonia was the first country in the world to offer e-Residency to non-citizens, and that the program has garnered a great deal of global attention and trust over the past seven years. “We are observing a clear shift from quantity to quality as more individuals with a strong desire to launch a business enroll in the program. “Consequently, the economic impact of Estonia’s e-Residency is also growing”, said Haav.
E-resident companies accounted for nearly 20% of all Estonian limited liability companies in 2017. The greatest number of companies were founded in the information and communication sector (40 percent) and the professional, scientific, and technical sector (25 percent) (24 percent ). In the businesses of e-residents, nearly 4,000 people were employed, and one in five were economically active. “It is important to note that the creation of new e-resident companies has increased significantly over the past few years, and that many of them are at the beginning of their life cycle. They are generating business concepts and testing a product or service in various markets and demographics. Currently, economic activity is low, but there are good reasons to anticipate a rapid increase in the number of active companies in the near future,” said Haav.
As an e-resident, Natalia Storozhuk, a Ukrainian, manages the Estonian digital PR agency PRNEWS.IO. “Estonia provides the flexibility necessary for modern business, which is a significant competitive advantage. In addition, the collaborative nature of Estonia’s business community encourages people to dream big”, as stated by Storozhuk. According to her, the most important aspects of e-residency are inclusivity, openness, and the willingness to experiment. The e-Residency brand is gaining strength and is a sign of quality. “I was chatting online with a potential Canadian client. When introducing my own startup, I mentioned that it was founded with the assistance of the Estonian e-Residency program. The following instant, my conversation partner presented me with his e-Residency card, and from this connection a fruitful collaboration was born, which continues to this day. As stated by Storozhuk, this demonstrates the global reach of the network of e-residents who contribute to the Estonian economy.
She thanked the e-Residency team, which has also provided excellent assistance with matters unrelated to business. “The war in Ukraine is a terrible one, but there is no doubt that, once it is over, the country will rebuild and implement new technologies to function at its best. I believe that all nations have much to learn from Estonia regarding digital issues. More than 5,000 e-residents in Ukraine already understand what it means to live in a highly developed digital society. What it means to establish and operate a business digitally and bring the entire world to life. This is the success story of Estonia, said Storozuk.
The e-Residency program was introduced at the end of 2014 with the intention of granting foreign citizens secure access to Estonia’s e-services. Since the introduction of the e-Residency program, more than 90,000 e-residents have established over 20,000 new businesses in Estonia. In addition to indirect revenue from the growth of Estonian companies that serve e-residents and investments, the program has brought in nearly €90 million for the Estonian government, of which €75 million is tax revenue.