e-Residency summer update

Alex Wellman
Aug 30 · 6 min read

What’s happened so far in 2019, and what’s on the agenda for the remainder of the year.

It can be hard to leave the forest during summer in Estonia.

It’s August and here in Estonia we’ve been slowly emerging from our summer cottages and saunas and heading back into the office.

Here’s a quick update on what’s happened during the first half of the year, and what’s on the agenda for the remainder of 2019.

E-Residency action plan approved by the cabinet

We are pleased to announce that the Government of Estonia has accepted the latest e-Residency action plan during a recent cabinet meeting, signaling a strong commitment to making e-Residency more beneficial and convenient for our community of e-residents around the world, and also building stronger ties between e-residents and Estonia.

“Although we are grateful for the support of the e-residency community, there is still a lot to do to make this programme even more convenient and beneficial for them.” Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas

This plan includes efforts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to open up more pick up locations for e-Residency digital IDs around the world, commitments from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and other institutions to research new and more convenient ways for e-residents to obtain a digital identity, and other items presented in the e-Residency 2.0 whitepaper published last year.

E-Residency was started by a small team in December 2014 in order to test the idea that a country could serve people beyond its borders. Since then the programme has grown rapidly, with the main benefit being the ability for e-residents to take advantage of Estonia’s trusted and transparent business environment.

With the e-Residency 2.0 initiative, the programme has begun exiting its beta mode and started to become a larger project for Estonia, meaning stakeholders in and outside of the government will be working to improve the programme for e-residents and Estonians alike.

Growth

The number of e-residents of Estonia continues to grow at a steady pace. During the first half of 2019, roughly 11,000 e-residents joined Estonia’s digital nation. E-residents come from 160+ countries around the world, but there are a few that stand out.

Growth in the number of e-residents since 2014

Applications from Turkey and Ukraine continue to grow at a rapid pace, as entrepreneurs from these countries continue to build close ties with customers and partners across the EU. Applications from EU countries like Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, also continue to grow, as people consider how to run a company remotely while traveling as a digital nomad. We’ve also seen a slight increase in applications from the UK as local entrepreneurs who work primarily with clients based in the EU consider the implications of Brexit.

The top countries for e-Residency applications and companies started in Estonia by e-residents

You can always find the latest statistics about e-residents, including the top countries, motivations for applying, and more in our public dashboard.

What’s next?

We are gearing up to host our Digital Nation Hackathon next month on the small Estonian island of Vormsi. The event is organized in partnership with Estonia’s own Garage 48, and offers a chance for e-residents and locals to come together and work on the next big idea for Estonia’s digital nation.

Hackaton on a tiny Estonian island? Yes, please!

The e-Residency programme is turning five-years-old this year and to celebrate, we are organizing the second annual E-Residency Week, with this year’s festivities being bigger, better, and available to more e-residents around the world. We will host official events in partnership with Estonia’s network of embassies, but there will also be opportunities to organize community events. We will also be celebrating a new e-Residency pick-up location in the heart of Silicon Valley when Estonia opens a new consulate in San Francisco.

We’ve been forging new partnerships and adding more services to the e-Residency Marketplace with the goal of providing e-residents with all of the tools they need to run a successful company. E-resident entrepreneurs are always free to choose the services that work best for them, but the marketplace is a good location to find everything from virtual office services, accounting, insurance, and tax consultation.

We are also working on a number of new services for e-residents, including a new tool to help entrepreneurs understand if e-Residency is right for them, an events calendar, and more community features to help connect e-residents around the world.

These projects are aimed at improving the experience for e-residents, and providing them with better information and services to help them establish and manage a company 100% online. This is why we are also working on a comprehensive new business guide for e-residents in partnership with a global provider of business services.

Staff update

E-Residency is a national initiative led by the e-Residency team in partnership with many other organizations in Estonia like the Police and Border Guard Board, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and our parent organization, Enterprise Estonia.

We rarely pause to speak about ourselves, but we’ve had some recent new additions to the team that we wanted to highlight.

Dagmar Vlassov joined as the new Deputy Director after a number of years in a leadership position at an Estonian-based investment and funding platform. Dagmar replaces our former Deputy Director, Ott Vatter, after he took the role of Managing Director earlier this year when our founding MD Kaspar Korjus left to build his own company.

Mariann Kirsipuu is serving as e-Residency’s Head of Risk and Legal, moving to the e-Residency team after working previously at Estonia’s Ministry of the Interior. Mariann will be working closely to ensure that the government of Estonia implements the action items laid out in the e-Residency 2.0 whitepaper. We would like to welcome Mariann “home” as she was also part of the initial group of people responsible for launching the e-Residency programme.

Liina Kadari joined a few months ago as our new Business Development Team Lead. Liina is in charge of leading our efforts to develop our ecosystem of partners in Estonia and around the world. Liina brings years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and other roles.

Raimo Matvere is our new Head of Partnerships in charge of building our network of global partners, with a strong focus on improving access to business banking and other financial tools for our community of e-resident entrepreneurs. Raimo brings experience from the world of marketing and has helped organize some of the largest events in Estonia.

Anna-Liisa Reinson serves as our new Head of Customer Experience and has gotten off to a fast start analyzing the entire journey taken by e-residents. She is laser-focused on improving the current pain points faced by e-residents who want to establish a company in Estonia, and is here to make their lives easier. Anna Liisa brings years of experience building products and services at one of Estonia’s top telecom companies.

Kristiina Vaab is our new Product Manager in charge of all things related to the website. Over the next few months, Kristiina will be working on completely revamping the information available for e-residents online and creating a better experience for our community of e-residents. Kristiina joined the team after years serving as a product manager at Microsoft.

Thanks to our community around the world!

E-Residency isn’t only about doing business. The programme is also committed to building a network of friends of Estonia around the world, welcoming people to Estonia for tourism and business, and sharing our culture.

Even though you don’t need to come to Estonia to become an e-resident, we welcome you to come and visit us. A great place to start is the Visit Estonia website which features all the information you need to plan a business trip or holiday.

Thanks again for being a part of our community! We look forward to a productive second half of the year making Estonia’s digital nation bigger and better for all.

E-Residency Blog, E-residentsuse blogi

Alex Wellman

Written by

Upper Peninsula of Michigan native now living in Tallinn, Estonia, and working for the e-Residency program. Follow him on Twitter: @wellmanalex.

E-Residency Blog, E-residentsuse blogi

This is the official blog of the Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency programme — See on e-residentsuse programmi ametlik blogi.

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