UN picks Estonian e-Residency to support global entrepreneurs

New initiative is backed by Jack Ma, and is designed to support the developing world.

The United Nations is partnering with the Estonian government to its e-Residency platform to entrepreneurs in developing countries, it was announced this week. The UN’s digital trade initiative will increase access to new markets for entrepreneurs in the developing world, according to a blog post on Estonia’s e-Residency website. It was also announced that Alibaba founder Jack Ma would serve as an advisor for the digital trade program, called e-Trade For All. With the e-Residency platform, anyone, anywhere in the world can pay a small fee and receive a secure digital identity issued by the Estonian government. This way, people can quickly and easily establish a business, sign contracts, and open bank accounts within the European Union free trade zone. According to the blog post, e-Trade For All is already helping women entrepreneurs in Delhi, India to start their online businesses through the e-Residency programme. In an interview with GovInsider, Taavi Rõivas, the ex-Prime Minister of Estonia, explained that one of the main reasons why Estonia set up the e-Residency programme is to attract investors to establish a company there. “It’s extremely easy, setting up a company with this e-Residency card, and it can be done remotely from any country in the world,” he said. The e-Residency programme is “crucial” to helping entrepreneurs around their world to achieve their potential, the blog said, as having a secure digital identity removes some of the bureaucratic barriers to establishing and managing an online company in the EU. “Small businesses shouldn’t need to wait to integrate themselves into global trade,” e-Residency programme director Kaspar Korjus was quoted as saying. “Why not support these entrepreneurs, while at the same time helping entire countries overcome infrastructure deficiencies?”