In a recent virtual event ‘PHDCCI International Week’ organised by The International Affairs and Trade Fairs Committee, Ambassador of Estonia to India Ms. Katrin Kivi, and Chairman of the Board Enterprise Estonia Mr. Peeter Raudsepp received the opportunity to address the audience and introduced everyone to one of the most digitalised countries in the world ‘Estonia’.
With the focus on Indias Economic and Trade relations with one region and deliberate upon the Business Opportunities. Ms. Katrin Kivi highlighted different programmes, including e-residency, digital nomad visa, start-up Estonia & work in Estonia.
While beginning with the speech, Ms. Kivi reminded the audience about August 2019, when she joined the office in New Delhi and India paid its first high-level visit to Estonia, as Indian Vice President Mr. M. Venkaiah. Naidu visited Tallinn together with a large business delegation. Naidu’s visit put Estonia in the focus, and people there have witnessed a great interest and business opportunities since then. Meanwhile, India and Estonia signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on cybersecurity, e-governance and other digital technologies.
The Ambassador of Estonia to India said, “India and Estonia together can do a lot even though Estonia is a small country as compared to India. Estonia is well-known for its efficient e-governance and the use of blockchain technology. A big example is our online voting system. We have been voting online since 2005 and we are world leaders in cybersecurity. Almost all public services are available online, be it filing taxes, registering childbirth, extending your driver’s license, etc.”
Estonia has several companies that work on digital technologies in the field of cybersecurity, e-governance, artificial intelligence, financial technology, health technology and education technology. It is pertinent to mention that the country’s private sector is digitally advanced too. Some of the Estonian companies working in the technology sector have already found their path to India and are productively working here with their Indian partners.
In his speech, Mr. Peeter Raudsepp said, “Despite the challenges the pandemic has presented, it has also created opportunities and encouraged us to explore new horizons. We are living in what is known as the Asian century. Global outlooks have been shifted towards the rapidly growing economies in Asia. Estonian export to India has grown 45.5% in the last year and given the ambitions strengths of both India and Estonia. We believe that there is potential for increased partnership and bilateral success. Enterprise Estonia or EAS, is a national foundation that aims to develop the Estonian economy through three principal areas of activity, developing Estonian enterprises and boosting export capacity. Increasing tourism revenue and bringing high-value foreign investments to Estonia.”
Population wise Estonia is ranked 155th in the world but it produces more start-ups per capita than any other country in Europe. Estonia has a busy, supportive and open startup ecosystem eager to support ambitious individuals and startups. The sector is witnessing a robust growth of 30% over the recent years creating high skilled jobs with a turnover growth of 43% in 2020. India tops the chart with both the founders and employees who have used the platform to relocate.
As per the figures, there are more than 3,000 Estonian e-residents from India, and they have established more than 500 companies in Estonia. “We have several examples, but one great example is Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani who is an Estonian e-resident, and he has set up a Jio research centre in our country. Another example from the India IT industry is ‘Tata Consultancy Service’ which is also enlarging its presence there,” Ms. Katrin shared in her speech.
The country has a special visa program for established founders, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. Unfortunately, the pandemic has not let people to take full advantage of the visa programs, but e-residency is something that allows access to the European common single market by establishing a company in Estonia and operate fully remotely. During these times, when it is difficult and unsafe to travel, it is a wonderful opportunity to run a business in Europe and that too remotely. Interestingly, establishing a firm, filing taxes, everything is done online.
Work in Estonia program works for companies in Estonia by helping them find and keep people with exceptional skills from all over the world. In 2019, India was at third place in new residence permits for employment.
From the perspective of outbound investment from India that has undergone a considerable change, not only in terms of magnitude but also in terms of geographical spread and sectoral composition, the investment outlook of Estonia is very positive.
The Estonian speakers further stated, “We should create more awareness about our respective ecosystems so that here in India, our smart and very professionally executed solutions are known. For Estonian companies, it is also important to know more about the immense opportunities in India.”
Estonian embassy and its trade division are happy to witness that the interest of Estonian companies towards India has grown significantly too. This is something that the country can do together with the Embassy of India in Helsinki that covers also Estonia, but this year India has also undertaken to open its Embassy in Tallinn.