Flemish Vice Minister-President Bart Somers has joined the growing ranks of Estonian e-Residents, as part of his visit to Estonia with a Belgian business delegation. Completed in just a single day from start to finish, this move will give him the chance to experience first-hand the successes of e-Estonia and to take those learnings back to Belgium to help accelerate the digital transformation of the local government. By becoming an e-Resident, Somers will be able to access a range of digital services and sign documents remotely. For example, a business in Estonia can be opened by an e-resident in just a matter of minutes.
Exploring opportunities in Estonia
As Vice Minister-President and Minister for Home Affairs, Administration, Integration, and Equal Opportunities in the Flemish Government, Bart Somers, along with the head of government, Minister-President Jan Jambon, who also recently visited Estonia, is at the forefront of digitalisation in Flanders. The region has historical links with Estonia through the famous Flemish painter Michel Sittow, who worked there in Tallinn in the 16th century, and a recent test project in the small Flemish town of Londerzeel where Clevon’s parcel delivery robots started operating.
“Belgium is one of the top innovators in Europe with world-class universities and together with the Netherlands have been the logistics powerhouse of Western Europe,” argues Pieter Poppelsdorf, Director of Business Development in Benelux at Invest Estonia. “We see a lot of opportunities for start-up collaboration, as well as cooperation in logistics, smart manufacturing, biotech and energy-related industries. The highly competitive tax system, ease of doing business and well-educated workforce make Estonia a great investment destination for Belgian companies and funds”.
The business delegation’s visit, organized by the Antwerp Chamber of Commerce, aims to explore Estonia’s investment opportunities and its journey to becoming one of the world’s leading digital societies. During the three-day trip, 30 Flemish entrepreneurs will have the chance to meet Estonian technology companies such as Bolt, Xolo, and Guardtime, network with the local startup ecosystem, and learn more about e-Estonia and e-residency.
The Estonian e-Residency programme has become a key driver for digitalisation in the country, attracting over 100,000 e-Residents from around the world. It provides foreign citizens with access to Estonia’s digital infrastructure, allowing them to establish and run a location-independent business with ease. It also spurred a healthy economy of service companies which are helping e-Residents with incorporation.