In an interview to Ashok Tuteja, she talks about India-Estonia relations and the reasons why a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) is taking time to fructify.
With an aim to enroll over 200 Indian startups in 2018, Estonia has become the first country to launch an e-Residency programme that enables anyone to run a global EU company remotely from anywhere in the world.
To further expand the programme and to discuss bilateral cooperation in the field of Cyber Security, Digitalization, e-Governance, Smart Cities and encourage more Indian startups to become e-Residents, Estonian Entrepreneurship and IT Minister, Urve Palo, visited the Capital recently and shared additional insights into the e-Residency programme.
“I am very glad to be in India to strengthen bilateral cooperation and talk about the digital society of Estonia,” said Palo. “A unique example of this is the e-Residency programme, which enables anyone in the world to start an European company. Thanks to this programme, the people of India can use the Estonian e-services and become virtual residents of Estonia. Our digital development has happened thanks to the government’s efforts in e-governance and cybersecurity, and of course, also our technology companies who have been our partners for developing governmental e-services.”
The e-Residency programme offers start-ups access to a government-issued digital ID, available to anyone in the world. It offers the freedom for every world citizen to open and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere. E-Residents have access to the European Union business environment and can use public e-services through their digital identity. Firms set up through e-Residency are “trusted location-independent EU companies”, which allows them to be run remotely from anywhere on Earth with low cost and minimal hassles. They have access to an advanced and secured digital infrastructure along with all the tools required to grow globally. Indian entrepreneurs now can run their micro-businesses not only in India but grow them with access to the entire EU market.
Already more than 1,200 Indian citizens are e-Residents and the Baltic nation expects this figure to grow exponentially in the coming years, as the economic ties between Estonia, India and the European Union deepen further. Estonia aims to reach out to the booming Indian start-up community through a series of road shows and industry tie-ups in the next 12 months. The programme aims to enroll over 200 start-ups during 2018.
Kaspar Korjus, Managing Director of Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency programme, said, “The size of our countries might be very different, but Estonia and India actually have many things in common. Like Estonia, India has always been a very entrepreneurial country. India has the world’s largest freelance workforce with the highest percentage working in software development and technology, while Estonia is a global leader in ICT technologies, especially in e-Government. E-Residency can help leverage these common points by offering Indian entrepreneurs the opportunity to open and run a global EU company fully online from India, or anywhere in the world, and provide access to the European market of 500 million people. India’s potential is huge and we are more than happy to contribute to unlock it.”
Estonia launched its e-Residency programme in December 2014 and, as on date, has over 30,000 e-residents from 140 countries. India will have the largest young workforce by 2020 with the average age being 29. As a consequence, the e-Residency programme is the perfect solution, especially for young Indians who want an independent and self-owned start-up venture.