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Setting up shop in the EU takes only 15 minutes

Viljar Lubi, Estonia’s ambassador to the UK, writes in The Times how Estonian e-Recidency programme has already provided a gateway to European market for nearly 100,000 e-residents from 179 countries, including 100 companies founded by Ukrainians this year.

Imagine you’ve been forced to leave your home and your business in a matter of hours. Overnight, you’ve lost your source of income and livelihood. Starting all over again, you foresee months if not years of struggling to get back on your feet. That’s exactly what has happened to thousands of Ukrainians since the Russian invasion.

My country, Estonia, is small, with a population of just 1.3 million. But we have stood at the forefront of the West’s response to Russia’s aggression. We also stand ready to help Ukrainian entrepreneurs, through our pioneering e-Residency programme.

This is a digital identity that provides a base to set up a location-free company, manage it remotely and access a wide range of Estonian public and private e-services. It enables users to bypass bureaucracy and run a company hassle-free, especially when it comes to filing taxes and communicating with the government. It is simpler and quicker to set up and run a business through e-Residency than anywhere else in the world.

260 Ukrainian e-residents

This year Estonia has welcomed 260 Ukrainian e-residents, who have created 100 companies. Having made e-Residency free to all Ukrainians, Estonia has seen applications for the programme from the country increase by over a third since the invasion.

Estonia is also a sanctuary for entrepreneurs across the world seeking security, resilience and a digital gateway to all the benefits Europe can offer. Today there are nearly 100,000 e-residents from 179 countries. The cumulative turnover generated by new Estonian companies founded by e-residents stands at over €10 billion.

It’s easy to talk up the benefits of the system but entrepreneurs want proof before they invest time and capital. What more proof of the speed and ease of e-Residency than a record broken at London Tech Week last week? On the headline stage, in front of an audience of 600, the Austrian entrepreneur Dominik Panosch set up a business using e-Residency in just 15 minutes.

Instant access to EU single market

The e-Residency programme also gives business owners instant access to the EU single market, no matter where they are in the world. This has proved an enticing prospect for many British entrepreneurs
since Brexit.

Thanks to Estonia, expanding a business to the EU online is quicker, safer and easier than ever before, proving that when it comes to business resilience, nothing beats digital infrastructure. Without doubt this is a tough time for Europe. But Estonia is open for business, and I call for more entrepreneurs to join our community.

Estonia stands firmly with Ukraine and offers safety to Ukrainians fleeing the war. Invest Estonia has gathered basic information on arriving and staying in Estonia and finding ways to relocate a business to Estonia in order to ensure the continuity of business here (and in Ukrainian here).

Wish to do business in Estonia? Use our unique location attractiveness comparison tool to compare Estonia to other business environments across Europe.

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Need more information?

Need more information?

What is it like to run a business in Estonia? How to benefit from the e-solutions and the efficiency of our business culture? What are the opportunities in specific sectors? Who to partner up with?

The Estonian Investment Agency’s team is happy to help you via its complimentary e-Consulting service, organize online or offline follow-up events such as virtual investment visits and guide you through the fairly simple process of investing in Estonia.

Request e-consulting