A small country with a population of just 1.3 million, Estonia is one of the world’s most digitally-advanced societies. In 2005, Estonia became the first state to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014, the first state to provide e-residency (a status that provides access to Estonia’s digital business environment). The country also benefits from a booming start-up environment and attracts tech workers from all over the world.
- Digital country. Nicknamed the “European Silicon Valley” or “Silicon Valley on the Baltic Sea”, Estonia is #1 in Digital Health Index (Bertelsmann Foundation 2019) and #2 in Internet Freedom Index (Freedom House 2019). There’s minimum bureaucracy: you can get almost all state services online and file tax returns online in 3–5 minutes, register a business in just 3 hours, and sign legally binding documents using your ID card.
- Developed IT industry. Estonia has many tech companies working in such IT sectors as cybersecurity, AI, machine learning, and more.
- Booming start-up environment. In total, there are over 1,000 startups in Estonia, and their total turnover in 2019 amounted to €395,4 million. Estonia produces more startups per capita than any other country in Europe. In fact, every 99th person in Estonia is somehow involved with startups. Four former startups of Estonian origin — Skype, Playtech (a gambling software development company), Bolt (a transportation network company), and TransferWise (an online money transfer service) — have become unicorns, or companies with capitalization exceeding $1 million.
- Affordable cost of living. Living in Estonia is much cheaper compared to other countries with developed IT sectors (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, etc.).
- Safe environment. According to the World Health Organization, Estonia has the best overall air quality in the entire world. In addition, you’re never more than a 30-minute drive away from a forest or a lake in Estonia.