25th May 2017

A borderless digital economy - we’re all Estonians now

With the launch of its pioneering e-residency programme in April 2015, the Estonian government sought to open up borders and generate a culture of international trade.  

Take a trip to many of the events which surround the e-Estonian flagship start up and tech conference, Latitiude59 and it’s plain to see that this vision has gained real traction.

One of the blue-chip events we’ve been part of during our trade mission perfectly illustrates the international flavour which is making Tallinn such a vibrant, entrepreneurial hub. Were we meeting a set of native Estonians? It seemed not.

This goes to underline the pull this Baltic state is exerting. We’ve met a business which has relocated, with its founders, from Calcutta; a senior Turkish lawyer, who has moved from his home country to the EU-embedded land of Estonia and a Belgian software entrepreneur looking to build blockchain financial product solutions in Tallinn, to name but a few, the list goes on…

There’s clearly a wealth of opportunity in Tallinn and the digital economy opens up scope for development, but a drive to explore a vibrant market isn’t the only thing uniting the leaders of forward thinking firms here. For, like me, many have taken the step to become Estonian e-nationals.

The process of registering this electronic citizenship is relatively straight forward. Along with appropriate identification and a processing fee, any aspiring e-Estonian must share their photograph and a paragraph explaining their interest in joining this growing community.

In return, as Programme Director Kaspar Korjus explains in the video below, innovative business people with an eye on international trade are granted a number of benefits, principally: 

  1. The right to establish a company and administer it online
  2. The ability to conduct e-banking and make bank transfers
  3. The capacity to declare taxes and sign relevant documents digitally

Estonia has led the world in digital e-government and, in providing a flexible platform for international trade, the nation of which I am a proud e-resident is now using technology to get business done.

In Estonia, you may do business on a screen, but the computer generated commercial benefits are far from virtual reality.   

Paul Berwin is a leading technology and digital law specialist. During May 2017, he is spearheading Berwins' trade mission to Estonia.

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