I would like to welcome you at the beginning of this guide to Estonian companies. Hopefully you will find here many interesting opportunities to enhance your business scope. Estonia has always been an extremely open economy with trade ties reaching several different countries. Many companies based in Estonia have already proved its world class quality in several export markets.
Doing business with Estonia is made easy and transparent by its favourable business environment. The aim of Estonian economic policy has been to foster entrepreneurship, making the business environment supportive and highly effective. According to the index of Ease of Doing Business 2014, Estonia ranks 17th. In terms of ease of trading across borders, Estonia is ranked 6th in the world. The work to improve our business environment further is continuously in progress.
The ease of doing business is also reflected in the fact that it is here where there is the largest number of start-up companies per capita in Europe. It is not a coincidence as the process of starting a company in Estonia is among the easiest and quickest in the world. You can set up a company online here; Estonia holds a world record for full official registration of a new company, with just 18 minutes. Adding to the equation also business-favourable tax system and a sizeable pool of IT talents, the outcome has been shown.
Estonia is a digital country also in a broader sense, providing a platform for easy and efficient trade between local and also foreign companies. For companies operating in Estonia, interaction with the state is made as easy, convenient and less time-consuming as possible. All management matters such as taxes, reporting and banking can be taken care of fast and efficiently online, from where ever you are in the world.
We have thought of how to make trade between foreign companies and Estonia easier and simpler, just as it is enjoyed today by the local companies. For that reason, the government has developed a platform which can be used for digital signing, for a smooth and simple business from wherever you physically are in the world. This platform is called e- Residency. Everybody over 18 years of age from any country in the world can apply for an e-Resident digital ID card, which offers means for secure authentication in digital services and digital signing. With this, Estonia is the first country in the world to offer state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents. That means that contracts can be signed without travelling cost. Having said that, we still welcome you to travel here, as there are plenty of other possibilities for more productive or pleasant stay.
With its diverse structure of economy, you can find in Estonia high-tech companies with highly skilled IT specialists as well as world class communications technology and infrastructure to connect with the world, developing new technology leaders in the areas of biotechnology and cyber security, but also more traditional industries on a wide spectre. With its vast natural resources of forest, land and pure nature, which covers more than half of its land area, Estonia holds still huge a potential in these related industries. And, of course, located in the middle of east and west, the north and south, with its good quality harbours and transport infrastructure, it is a good place to navigate your logistics.
Enjoy doing business with Estonia, or hiking in the deep forests here, and we hope to see you soon in Estonia.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia