Estonia's e-residents have set up more than 1,000 companies

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Photo: Aivar Aotäht

In the first two year's of the e-residency project, which provides foreigners with the opportunity to set up companies in Estonia and use other e-state services, Estonia has already 15,000 e-residents who have created more than 1,000 enterprises in Estonia.

On the occasion of the second birthday of the e-residency program, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid stressed the importance of the program in introducing Estonia. According to Kaljulaid e-residency has helped to make Estonia bigger and has attracted a lot of interest globally. "Now we have to figure out how the public and private sectors could be involved even more and would create new services which would significantly increase the number of e-residents. There are no technological or geographical limits here," she said.

According to manager of the e-residency project Kaspar Korjus, companies set up by e-residents leave more than 4.3 million euros annually in Estonia as taxes and fees. "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.

According to Korjus the Estonian state would be able to multiply the number of e-residents and the companies they set up with purposeful action in the coming years.

According to Taavi Kotka, one of the authors of the e-residency idea and deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for communication and state information systems, in 2017 the number of e-residents should soar as it will soon be possible to open a bank account in Estonia without coming here.

To find better e-solutions for supporting entrepreneurship around the world, the e-residency team has been cooperating with the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, Google and PayPal since this summer.

According to Korjus, after the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union the country's citizens who wish to continue doing business in the EU but live in the UK have shown more interest in e-residency.

E-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows digital authentication and the digital signing of documents. The purpose of e-residency  is to make life easier by offering people living abroad an opportunity to use the secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians already for years.

E-residency is provided by the government of the Republic of Estonia, but does not bring physical residency or rights of entry to Estonia or the EU. E-residency does not entail any residential or citizen rights and cannot be used as a physical identification card or travel document.