Despite Estonia’s relatively small population of approximately 1.35 million people, the country is big on advanced digital capability and creating an entrepreneurial-friendly environment. In fact, Estonia is the country of digital signatures and paperless communication with 99% of government services available from the comfort of your home. Where else could you establish a startup online in 15 minutes and file tax returns in a jiffy with just a few mouse clicks? Speaking of which, Estonia is a flagship tax-competitive country in the whole OECD. Although the country may not be a tax heaven on earth, it can boast of the simplest and most transparent taxation regime. We are also talking 0% income tax on retained and reinvested profits, clear stock options regulation, plus double taxation treaties on file with at least 60 countries. Add the affordable high quality of life, top-notch human capital, as well as a trustworthy legal system to the equation, and you have the most favourable and thriving business climate in existence.
Estonian Startup Visa
The Estonian startup ecosystem has made significant strides forward, with approximately 30% year-on-year growth over the past 5 years. The community saw the need for hiring new talent from abroad that gave birth to the idea of implementing a Startup Visa programme in 2017. The programme has been aimed at enabling startup founders to relocate their businesses to Estonia and benefit from the full range of perks of the first country in the world to offer e-Residency and e-voting. Additionally, the visa scheme facilitates the process of hiring talent from outside the European Union in Estonian startups. Since the inception of the programme, over 2700 applications were received from startups wishing to move to Estonia. It has had a significant impact on our business ecosystem since 25% of Estonian startup founders are now of foreign citizenship. As a matter of fact, in 2020 alone, Startup Visa applications arrived from 88 countries, meaning that the ecosystem is only going to get increasingly diverse.
Empowering entrepreneurial environment
With 5 times more startups per capita than the European average, it is safe to say that Estonia is the startup capital of Europe. Noteworthy, what sets Estonia apart is not the ever-growing number of unicorns bred, but the can-do attitude of locally based entrepreneurs. The Estonian startup ecosystem is led by inclusive individuals who are keen on lifting each other and organising incredible events. This can be seen in the commitment of the founders to give back to the startup community, whether through mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs or investing in them. A strong concentration of startups, which currently number 1175 in total, is also fostered by a robust network of community organisations. Around 150 support organisations, from startup incubators to investment funds, are available to help accelerate your business. Startup Estonia is honoured to work with these organisations over the years and excited about the many ways they bolster the local startup scene.
Estonia is a perfect place for brave hearts, independent minds, and entrepreneurial souls. Tap into the game-changing opportunities and supportive environment to supercharge your business with us! See you soon in Estonia!
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