Estonia, a country in the Scandinavian region, is not very well known to the people of the world. You will not find the country in the list of countries that are regularly heard in the international media for various reasons. It may even be that today, for the first time, you find out that there is a country in the world called ‘Estonia’! Whatever it is, even if you don’t know Estonia, there is no harm in it. But in the future, the name of this small country will be heard loudly in the technology dependent world. There are not many days left when Estonia will become a role model for many countries in the world. The success story of a country that started out empty-handed and established itself as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world today will be much discussed in the days to come. In a small country with more than half of its total area covered by remote jungles, its citizens are shaking up the technology world with the ever-evolving concept of start-ups.
For most of the last century, Estonia has been ruled by foreign rulers. When World War II broke out, Hitler’s Nazi forces occupied Estonia, but in the war Hitler and his military were defeated by the Allies. When the war ended, the Cold War broke out between capitalist America and the socialist Soviet Union. Like other Eastern European countries, Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union. Communism was established as an economic and political system. Development in Estonia was very slow during the Soviet period. In fact, in a socialist system, every country develops very slowly, as there is no opportunity for individual economic initiatives. When Estonia gained independence after nearly fifty years of Soviet rule, it was seen that they lagged far behind other countries in Europe.
For the development of a country, it is very important to make the right decision in both politics and economy. Soviet-era socialism did not take Estonia very far on the path to development. So after independence, all the policies and restrictions of the Soviet era were changed. Capitalism and democracy are chosen for politics and economy. The post-independence period was very important for Estonia, as it was not at all easy to overthrow everything in the Soviet era and set up a new system. Most importantly, Estonian politicians at the time had spontaneous support from the people. The rapid development of the country is not possible in a conservative economic system, so the politicians took the necessary steps to build Estonia as a country with a free economy. Trade-friendly laws were enacted by amending the strict laws of the Soviet era to attract adequate investment from outside countries.
Corruption was a major obstacle to the national development of countries that gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Estonian politicians realized that if the excellence of technology was not utilized in government activities, the pace of development in the traditional system would slow down. Therefore, e-government policy was adopted very quickly. In 2000, the Estonian government declared Internet services a civil right. In 2012, about 90 percent of Estonian government activities began to be performed online. This reduces the length of work in government offices on the one hand, on the other hand, civic life gained new momentum. Currently, everyone in Estonia over the age of 15 has an electronic ID card, which allows them to conduct all kinds of economic activities, from making money transactions to paying taxes at banks.
Every government feels the need to build an educated generation to keep pace with the modern world. In 2000, the Estonian government undertook a project to install computers in every educational institution, and by 2002, Internet facilities were guaranteed in all educational institutions. From the very beginning, the government has provided all possible assistance to Estonian students so that they can acquire the right technology. It is said that Estonian students started learning programming at an early age. As there are many startup companies in the country, big and small, they do not have to worry about the workplace. Estonia’s education system has long been completely online-dependent, with most countries now resorting to ‘online education systems’ for the Corona epidemic. In short, every organization in the Estonian job market wants employees who are proficient in the use of technology and the Estonian education system develops a student from an early age.
E-Residency is an ambitious project in Estonia. The Estonian government started this project in 2014. Through this you can get digital citizenship from the Estonian government by fulfilling the required conditions from any country in the world. This allows you to take advantage of the huge EU market as an Estonian citizen in your own country, open a business using any online startup idea in Estonia, or even run a financial transaction with an Estonian bank. About 50,000 people from 137 countries around the world have already applied for e-residency and about 6,000 companies have been formed by e-residents. The Estonian government’s project to harness globalization is attracting entrepreneurs from around the world.
In 2016, Estonian President Kirsti Kalzulaid tweeted, “There are thirteen million people living in Estonia and we have four unicorns.” The unicorn is the mysterious horse of the myth that we know, not actually mentioned here. In 2013, U.S. investor Aileen Lee called startups with a market value of বিল 1 billion or more “unicorns.” Estonia, a country of only 13 million people, has four startups with a market value of এক 1 billion or more – a matter of astonishment and at the same time a testament to the country’s technological superiority. Currently, the Estonian government has launched the ‘Digital Nomad Visa’ program to attract the most talented young people in Europe, through which state approval can be obtained to work in various institutions in the country.
In the world to come, the world will become more technology dependent and the countries leading in technology will become stronger. It is not surprising that Estonia will become the world’s ‘technology capital’ in the future. Estonia is perhaps the best example of the right political decision and economic foresight that can take a country from root to peak. Two decades ago, the country that did not have the touch of technology, the pace of development was quite slow, the country has now become a pilgrimage of startup companies, the purchasing power of Estonian citizens has increased many times. As Estonian technologists and entrepreneurs continue to harness the power of innovation, the country is regularly presenting new projects to the world. Knowing the story of such an unimaginable, sustainable change in a country in just two decades increases the curiosity about the country.