The Estonian government's e-Residency programme, pioneer of the world's first digital residency initiative, today announced the launch of four new international 'pick-up points', including Singapore, Bangkok, São Paulo and Johannesburg. With two new locations in Southeast Asia, this expansion comes at a time where there is increased demand from entrepreneurs and tech talent in the region to scale their business internationally. Singapore in particular, as a hotbed for innovation and talent, has gained a huge appeal to digital nomads who are capitalising on today's remote work models to start a business from anywhere.
"We're exceptionally excited about our expansion across Southeast Asia, as there remains so much untapped talent and opportunity in the region. The strengthening of our digital and physical network will go a long way to empower these talented entrepreneurs and business owners, and we're excited to be a part of their journey and connect them with a global audience," says Lauri Haav, Managing Director at e-Residency.
The e-Residency programme was first launched in 2014, and has become internationally renowned for revolutionising how governments think about and interact with foreign entrepreneurs. There are an estimated 5-10 million digital nomads, and with this number only set to increase, the need for innovation in this space has never been more pressing. Through the e-Residency programme, community members benefit from a secure means of digital identification that grants access to Estonia's e-services, lets them sign documents digitally, and empowers them to launch and run their business 100% online from the European Union.
Jacob Puthenparambil, CEO of Redhill, global communications agency with their head office in Singapore, became an e-Resident five years ago. "The e-Residency programme made it possible for our company to expand to the EU market through a quick and affordable setup. As a European entity, new possibilities opened up to grow our business internationally and by now, we have a steady increase of clients coming from the EU. The expansion of the e-Residency programme in South East Asia makes it more accessible to both locals and temporary residents such as digital nomads to realise their global aspirations," says Jacob.
Singapore is one of the top 50 application countries in the world, and alongside cities like Bangkok, São Paulo and Johannesburg, is considered a remote working hotspot: a haven for start-up founders and borderless professionals that have emerged with increasing speed since the pandemic.
Kersti Kaljulaid, the Estonian President, says: "Although the global pandemic has limited our ability to travel, work and do business across borders, it has also accelerated digital transformation among governments, businesses and freelancers alike. As more people choose to live and work without remaining tied to one place, there is increasing need for a location-free digital toolbox to support them. As the world's first digitally transformed state, Estonia is pleased to be welcoming even more freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners and location-independent workers from around the world to join our e-Residency programme."
There are currently close to 80,000 e-Residents worldwide, with e-Residency cards available for collection at nearly 50 locations. As part of this expansion, the Estonian Government partnered with BLS International, a trusted global tech-enabled services partner for governments and citizens worldwide. They are a listed company in India, and have an impeccable reputation for setting benchmarks in the domain of visa, passport, consular, citizen, e-governance and more with over 46 governments.
The e-Residency programme was founded in 2014 and has, since then, reached over 80,000 digital entrepreneurs. The programme is built on Estonia's 20+ years of experience to provide digital public services for Estonian citizens.
Everyone can apply for this transnational government-issued digital identity and benefit from the e-Residency platform, which is built on inclusion, legitimacy and transparency. E-Residency allows access to Estonia's public e-services and a variety of e-services provided by international service providers, all part of Estonia's blockchain-based X-Road, which links all public services together and enables each service to work in harmony. All outgoing data is digitally signed and encrypted, and all incoming data is authenticated and logged, meaning that e-Residents' and other users of the X-Road's data is completely secure. This provides the freedom to easily start and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere in the world.
E-residents can: open a company within a day and run the company remotely, apply for a business banking account and credit card, conduct e-banking, use international payment service providers, declare taxes, and sign documents digitally. E-Residency does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Estonia or EU.
Apply for e-Residency online at https://eresident.politsei.ee/.