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May-July 2017

Country as a service becoming reality in Estonia

The Estonian government believes foreigners will create more companies in the country than Estonians themselves by 2022. Since 2015, the small Nordic country has pioneered an e-Residency programme, which gives foreigners, such as entrepreneurs, easy access to government services. Today, you don’t have to be Estonian to set up and run a company in the country. So far, 17,000 people have signed up to the programme. This kind of outlook would be a shocking statement from a government official in any country in the world, other than Estonia. Estonia, which was given observer status in the Nordic council in 1991, might be small, but it punches above its weight when it comes to IT in government, and is giving easy, secure access to services via an ID platform. The country’s CIO, Taavi Kotka, launched work on the programme back in 2014. He formed a small task force – effectively a startup – in the state structure to work on the project, and in 2015, Estonia started to take e-Residency applications and give ID cards to foreigners, ...

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