Why I joined the eResidency nation
My name is Chris Muller and I am from Durban, South Africa. In late 2015 I co-founded Pango — a digital product studio. At Pango we design, develop and run online learning platforms for a number of clients across South Africa, and a handful in Europe. We are a young and passionate company growing in the exciting eLearning industry. Some of our clients include:
In May 2017 I collected my eResidency card in Paris, France, from the local Estonian Embassy (one of over 40 pick-up locations worldwide). Within 2 weeks I had set up an Estonian business, and bank account. The primary reasons I joined the eResidency program include:
- To gain insights into forward thinking administrations
- To set up a European-based company
- Allow for completely remote operation and administration
These are explained in more detail below, if you are unsure what eResidency is:
The main goal of the e-Residency program is to make life and business significantly easier for freelancers, digital nomads, business owners, international partners, and any other non-resident who has a relation to Estonia. Whether you want to start a business, expand your business, make investments, or study in the European Union, Estonian e-Residency makes it possible — and simple. — https://www.leapin.eu/articles/e-residency
To gain insights into forward thinking administrations
Governments, financial sectors and business administration are generally slow-moving and difficult to change. This stifles innovation and can result in numerous inefficiencies. Estonia has been at the forefront of a number of radical innovations within these nation-wide administrations. For example, in 2005 Estonia was the first country to use internet voting in nation-wide elections called i-Voting.
The eResidency program is another prime example of radical innovation, and by joining it I was excited to gain insights into how it worked and into the efficiencies gained through using such a program. There are already a number of other countries considering eResidency programs of their own.
To set up a European-based company
Running a business based in South Africa and trying to access foreign markets is not only a challenge because of geographical location, but also receiving/sending payments and currency exchanges can be tedious and costly.
By setting up an Estonian business and euro-based bank accounts our European clients are now able to pay us directly in Euros with ease and we are able to make payments from our euro account when necessary. These efficiencies have enabled us to chase new business in Europe more actively and grow our client-base world-wide.
Allow for completely remote operation and administration
One of my personal dreams has been to travel while working and engage in the digital nomad lifestyle. While my operational roles have traditionally allowed for this, being a business owner sometimes makes this challenging. For example, I may need to be a signatory for a South African financial or legal document and these can only be signed in-person.
The eResidency digital signatures allow me to sign documents digitally as well as manage the business and accounts completely remotely. This is one of my favourite benefits of the program and very necessary in this digital age.
Although I have not yet needed to visit Estonia to set up the eResidency, business or bank account I am very excited to visit in the near future. I would love the opportunity to engage with fellow eResidents at Latitude59 and spend time in Tallinn.