How Indian Startups Can Benefit from Estonian E-Residency Program?

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Are you a startup wondering which will be the next market to venture out to? Ever thought when you would be entering the fabled high income markets of the European Union? Do the import trade tariffs boggle you ? It’s time you come to know about Estonia.

Estonia is a small European Union country located on the border of Russia with a population of just 1.3 Million (Delhi is 20X bigger). The country has been treading at the cutting edge of technology in terms of making governance work for them. They have turned Citizenship as a Service (CaaS). The country offers an e-Residency program that allows for any individual, anywhere in the world to become an e-resident. This gives them an opportunity to setup business in Estonia without the requirement of having to be in the country. You can have a European Union entity to run business with at a mere fraction of the cost of travelling to the place.

The Estonian Government launched their E-Residency Program for India this Year and this can have far reaching consequences for the India startup ecosystem. But let’s start from the beginning.

The European Union is a single trading bloc with no trade tariff within the member states. With a population of over 700 million and a higher than average gross national income of a technologically advanced market-the EU is waiting for startups to venture out and become the next big tech giants of the industry.

When we say that entire EU is a potential market space for your startup we have to understand the strong regional diversification of the 28 member states in the Union. As a startup, you would first enter one particular country, adapt to its local flavors, get customer validation or market proof and then expand to the next region.

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Because of this process, as a startup you gain invaluable experience in entering new markets and understanding how to glocalize your product. You might wonder whether such a process might not be tedious, however it is crucial for you to learn so at this stage of growth. Reflect on the problems faced by Amazon when they tried expanding without keeping the local tastes in mind and you will realize that learning this sooner rather than later will always help.

Once you are established as a startup in Estonia-a European startup with market proof in whichever region you decided to start out in-you can focus on getting investments from the Angel investors in the region as well. Berlin, Tel-Aviv and London are the hubs of angel investors who look to fund growth stage startups in the region and you would be ideally situated to reach out to them

For expanding as a startup, you need to network and build relationships. People are likelier to trust companies and organisations who have origins from their region. Consider this example: You are an IT startup and want to sell your cyber security related software or you are a financial firm hoping to get accounting projects from your market in Belgium. To a CEO- a European startup rooted in Estonia-a country known for its cyber security excellence definitely has an appeal.

We entrepreneurs thrive in our networks and benefit from supportive ecosytems. As a company established in Estonia here’s what you get- zero corporate tax, technology resources, market access to the entire EU at a fraction of the cost [tariff free trade with nations within the Union] and proximity to the best R&D experts of the world. If you are a mobile tech startup, Finland is a boat ride away. If you are a biotechnology related startup, Germany is a day trip away.

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The most digitally advanced markets are at your disposal and you have nothing to stop you from making full use of the free trade regions in the EU. So don’t wait too long. Get your E-residency. Establish your company. Get the Estonian edge. All it takes is 18 minutes.

You can find additional details about the program at http://e-resident.gov.ee

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