The Estonian e-residency programme in 2020 made what it says was a record-breaking return, earning a revenue of €19.7 million with costs amounting to €4.85 million – therefore making the programme’s profit €14.85 million.
“The profit made last year is thus far the largest in the programme’s history, bringing in more than four times the invested amount,” the programme announced. “Over the period of six and a half years, the direct impact of the e-residency programme on the Estonian national budget has been more than 63 million euros.”
According to Andres Sutt, the Estonian entrepreneurship minister, the e-residency programme serves as a unique calling card for Estonia’s innovative digital society that attracts ambitious entrepreneurs from around the world to join a transparent business environment that operates with minimal bureaucracy.
“For Estonia, the e-residency programme is a long-range business venture that has yielded a significant return on investment over the years – every euro that has been channelled into the programme by national authorities has yielded manifold returns. The government continues to maintain strong confidence in this programme, as evidenced by in the national budget strategy for the period 2022-2025,” Sutt said in a statement.
So far, e-residents have established over 17,000 companies in Estonia. In March 2021, more than 400 new companies were added to the business register. During the past three years, e-residents have created 20% of all private limited liability companies registered in Estonia, according to the programme.
The e-residency programme was created in 2014 with the aim of providing foreign citizens with secure access to the digital services of the Estonian state. With their digital identity card, e-residents can digitally sign documents and log into portals and information systems that recognise the Estonian ID card. E-residency does not grant citizenship, tax residence or a residence or entry permit to Estonia or the European Union.
Cover: An Estonian e-residency card. Photo by the e-residency programme.