With a thriving tech startup scene, an array of innovative e-services and a government on a mission to banish bureaucratic red tape, it is no surprise that Estonia is among the most digitally advanced countries in the world.
If you are considering starting a location-independent business, here are five reasons why it makes good business sense to start your business in Estonia.
1. Innovative e-Residency programme
Estonia is the first country in the world to offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to become digital residents through its innovative e-Residency programme.
When you become an e-Resident, you receive a government-issued digital identity and can establish, register and run an Estonian business online.
You do not need to be a resident or a citizen of Estonia to become an e-Resident and set up a business; e-Residency is available to anyone interested in establishing and running an online business in Estonia.
The e-Residency application process is simple: you submit an application online, pay a nominal fee, complete a background check and collect your digi-ID from your nearest Estonian embassy. The average processing time is one month.
As an e-Resident of Estonia, you can sign documents and contracts digitally, encrypt and send documents securely, make transactions and declare Estonian taxes – all online! Read more about the benefits of becoming an e-Resident from here: How e-Residency benefits entrepreneurs.
2. Easy to set up a business
The process of setting up a business in Estonia is easy, fast and convenient. Once you have Estonian e-Residency, you can establish a business online in a day.
Simply register your business on the Company Registration Portal using your digi-ID. Note that a legal Estonian address is required to register a business in Estonia. If you do not have one, you can use a legal address service.
Establishing and running an online business in Estonia is legal and, as all processes are digital, completely transparent.
3. Modern banking solutions
As an e-Resident of Estonia, you can take care of all your banking needs online. The only time you will ever need to set foot in an Estonian bank is to set up your account.
Banks are expected to introduce an online identification solution in 2017. The goal is to give Estonian e-Residents the option to open a bank account without having to travel to Estonia.
Online banking is convenient as it allows you to make secure transactions from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is much safer than the password card system as it requires you to verify your identity with your digi-ID.
Additionally, Estonia has a very simple tax system that allows you to report tax directly from your bank account. You can do your banking and report tax online in English, Russian or Estonian.
4. Run your business remotely
Estonia’s e-Residency programme is especially designed for those interested in administering a location-independent business online. You are therefore not required to travel to Estonia to establish and manage your business, saving you precious time and money.
Besides setting up a bank account, every step of the process can be completed online. You do not even need to have an office in Estonia unless it is actually necessary for the running of your business.
5. Low administrative burden
In Estonia (also known as e-Estonia), administrative paperwork and red tape are kept to a minimum. The entire digital system, from obtaining e-Residency to establishing a business to banking and declaring tax, is designed to be simple and hassle-free.
If you do require assistance at any point during the process, it is worthwhile noting that accounting, administrative and legal services in Estonia are competitively priced. You can rest assured that Estonians have a high level of English proficiency, so it is unlikely that there will be any barriers to effective and efficient communication.
By keeping bureaucracy to a minimum and moving business to the digital realm, Estonia offers entrepreneurs the chance to run a business seamlessly, transparently and cost effectively from anywhere in the world.