Putting Estonia on the map is no easy task. It is one of those small countries in north-eastern Europe that gained its independence from Russia after World War I. In the mid-1990s, Estonia began its transformation. After Soviet control, the relatively young government relied on a technology that was promising at the time: the Internet. Since then, the economy has been growing steadily and is currently at the top of the eurozone countries.
The Baltic country has an advanced economy with high incomes. It was recently ranked as the fourth freest economy in Europe and first for internet freedom. While in Spain the economic system is mainly based on tourism, Estonia highlights its banking sector and digital services.
This country is destined to become the new tech Mecca, dethroning Silicon Valley as a digital paradise. In Estonian schools, children are taught programming, they even develop applications using Bitcoin technology.
It is no coincidence that Estonia has one of the highest rates of new business per capita in Europe. Estonians are entrepreneurs and innovators, and their government supports technology and small businesses. But why does Estonia attract so many foreign companies?
Firstly, Estonia is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world and running a business can be done online and in a really easy way. Need to sign some documents or register a new company? It is sufficient to fill out an online form. According to official sources, it takes 15 minutes to set up a business in Estonia. The benefits don’t end there, entrepreneurs can open a bank account without having to physically go to the bank or be in Estonia.
But perhaps the most striking thing about foreign companies is the high International Tax Competitiveness Index. Estonia remains on the first place of this ranking made by CEOEwhile Spain is 23rd. Depending on a few factors, such as the distribution of company shares, companies have little or no taxes.
Estonia is also making efforts to attract foreign talent to its country, either to join the startups already established there or to start their own in the country. It started in 2017 startup visa, a project aiming to help non-EU entrepreneurs to grow their startup in Estonia.
With all this, Estonia has managed to have the highest number of unicorn companies per capita than any other country in the world. Taxify, Skype, Transferwise and Playtech They are private companies valued at more than $1,000 million known as unicorn companies. And that in a country with only 1.3 million inhabitants, 300,000 fewer than Barcelona. However, Spain actually only has one unicorn company, Cabify.