Here’s why Estonia and Ukraine share an unusual claim to fame
Ukrainian entrepreneurs can learn how to set up an EU company without leaving Ukraine at events in Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipro next week hosted by Estonia’s e-Residency programme. Before that, there’s one dispute that our two countries need to settle…
Estonia and Ukraine have some unusual facts in common.
For a start, both countries literally resemble their flags. The Ukrainian flag was designed to represent the country’s fields of wheat beneath a blue sky, while the Estonian flag resembles the snow-frozen forests of an Estonian winter (and often spring too).
Slightly stranger is the fact that both Estonia and Ukraine claim to be in the exact geographical centre of Europe — despite being around 1,000km apart. The different calculations depend on whether you include islands far to the north of mainland Europe like Svalbard in the Arctic Circle.
In fact, there are eight countries with competing claims to the exact geographic centre of Europe. By a remarkable coincidence, the researchers who have looked into this questions have all managed to discover that the answer is inside their own country.
So who is right?
The truth is that the physical centre of Europe no longer matters in the digital age. Geographic location is far less relevant now that so much our lives are conducted online instead.
Business is increasingly online too. Alibaba founder Jack Ma — who now also works as an adviser to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) — predicts that e-commerce will rise to account for 90% of all business over the next 30 years.
That’s why Estonia established the world’s first e-Residency programme two years ago so that anyone, anywhere could apply for a transnational digital identity and gain access to the country’s EU business environment entirely online. Even the UNCTAD has now partnered with e-Residency for its groundbreaking e-Trade For All initiative, which aims to improve access to e-commerce globally.
It means anyone can now operate in the centre of Europe as an entrepreneur through e-Residency regardless of whether there are Ukrainian wheat fields, snow-frozen forests or even more exotic landscapes outside your window.
Since the e-Residency programme was launched, more than 1,200 Ukrainians have signed up so far and they’ve already established more than 200 EU companies through the programme — without having to leave Ukraine.
The result is that Ukrainian entrepreneurs who were previously unable to access essential tools and services due to their location, like business banking and international payment providers, are now able to grow their companies by more easily conducting business online.
This means Ukrainians are not only the second largest minority group among Estonia’s physical residents, but also the fastest growing nationality among Estonia’s e-resident population. You can read more about the rapid growth of e-Residency in Ukraine here:
If you would like to join us in the digital centre of Europe then you can apply for e-Residency at e-resident.gov.ee.
You are also welcome to attend events in Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipro, in conjunction with the Estonian Embassy, where you can hear more about e-Residency and speak to members of the programme. You can even attend our pop-up e-Residency consultancy next Wednesday in Kyiv by booking an appointment on firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-Residency is Estonia’s gift to the world so anyone is welcome to apply and we would be happy to speak with you in English, Ukrainian or Russian.
We look forward to seeing you there.
RSVP for our free Fryday W networking event in Kyiv and get a ticket through Eventbrite here.