According to a recent analysis commissioned by Startup Estonia and the Estonian e-residency programme, almost one third of Estonian startups – 348 out of 1,200 companies from Estonian Startup Database – have been founded by e-residents; most of these startups focus on business software development and fintech solutions.
The head of Startup Estonia, Eve Peeterson, believes Estonia attracts international talent primarily thanks to its innovative digital society and its worldwide reputation as a thriving breeding ground for startups.
“Our small but remarkably diverse startup sector has become an essential driver for innovation and economic growth in Estonia. Thanks to the e-residency programme, the Estonian startup community has been able to truly flourish and thrive,” Peeterson said in a statement.
Natalia Storozhuk, an Estonian e-resident and a startup founder, said that local startups had helped spotlight Estonia’s business environment on the global scale.
Another e-resident and startup founder Vicky Brock pointed out that Estonian startups possessed invaluable experience of harnessing digital solutions to effectively scale up their business.
“The Estonian startup scene is basically an enormous repository of knowledge, and even the most experienced startup founders have a lot to learn from our Estonian colleagues,” complimented Brock.
Startups pay around €100 million in labour taxes per year
Peeterson said the “success stories of Estonian startups”, including unicorns, have boosted Estonia’s image as an “innovative digital nation”, which, in turn, “engenders trust among entrepreneurs and top talent who are excited to challenge themselves in this environment.”
She added that Estonia’s startup cluster employed more than 6,000 people, paying around €100 million in labour taxes per year.
“Startups founded by e-residents and actually, the e-residency network as a whole, contribute significantly to the local startup ecosystem. As such, e-residents can be considered the global ambassadors of Estonia’s entrepreneurial environment.”
The Estonian e-residency programme was launched in December 2014 with the aim of providing foreign nationals with safe access to e-services offered within the Estonian e-governance ecosystem. Since the launch of the e-residency programme, Estonia has welcomed over 83,000 e-residents who have gone on to establish more than 17,800 companies in Estonia.
Startup Estonia is a national programme for the development of the Estonian startup ecosystem.
Cover: Vicky Brock, an Estonian e-resident and Tallinn-based startup founder. Private collection.