One million e-residents and €1.8 billion instead of ten million (1)

Aivar Pau
, ajakirjanik
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Photo: Arvo Meeks / LEPM

Leaders of the Estonian e-residency program have considerably changed the project’s goals, and there is no more talk of ten million e-Estonians by 2025 a la Taavi Kotka and Siim Sikut. The critically revised goal mentions 989,000 e-residents and indirect income of €1.8 billion.

Estonia’s new midterm goal is to have 150,200 e-residents by the end of 2021. The e-residency platform has so far been adopted by 27,000 foreigners – most often from Finland, Russia, and Ukraine.

This year, an average of 1,000 new e-residents have been registered monthly. Estonia has stripped a citizen of the Philippines of e-residency whose status was used to liquidate dozens of Estonian companies.

Executive manager of the program Kaspar Korjus said the new goal was phrased following the realization that Estonia needs e-residents to start a business here. That is why it was sensible to adopt number of companies created as the new benchmark.

Every tenth Estonian e-resident currently starts a company.

The new plan would see e-residents create 2,500 companies in 2018, 5,000 companies in 2019, and 10,000 new companies in 2020. Their current number stands at 2,500 of which 1,550 have been

created this year. If we add up those figures, we should have 20,000 companies of e-residents by late 2020.

“Our journey started anew in a sense. We worked with students from the Estonian Academy of Arts to map the journey of creating companies in Estonia – what people like and what they dislike about it,” Korjus said.

The plan is to create a new global solution that would allow foreign citizens who are e-residents to pay taxes to other countries through Estonia.

The government has decided to give the program an extra €3 million for the next three years to help move toward the new goal. Korjus says that money spent on the program has already turned a profit, and that the program is lucrative. “It is my sincere belief that Estonia will become very wealthy thanks to this program,” Korjus said.

Estonia’s e-residency will be marketed for companies in Ukraine, Turkey, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, India, and South Korea next. It will be possible to get a hold of Estonian ID-cards without travelling to Estonia in San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Singapore, and Bangkok next year. Head of consultants Deloitte Advisory, Monika Kallas, said based on survey results that companies of e-residents will have brought Estonia €340 million in net financial revenue by 2025 of which 2 million this year and €3 million next year.

E-residency is estimated to bring Estonia €1.5 billion in indirect socioeconomic gain in ten years. Therefore, the program would add a total of €1.8 billion to the Estonian economy by 2025.

This in turn means that every company created by an e-resident could on average create €70,000 for the Estonian economy, considering that Estonia will have 175,200 e-resident companies by 2025.

A survey by Callisto suggests the main social media keyword associated with Estonia is “e-residency”: the keyword was used 183 times in October, while other Estonian e-services were mentioned a total of 280 times.