Bridging Continents: Estonia A Gateway for Indian Startups to European Markets, Says Foreign Minister

Bridging Continents: Estonia A Gateway for Indian Startups to European Markets, Says Foreign Minister

Lauding their burgeoning ties with India, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, in an exclusive conversation with CNN-News18 during his recent visit to New Delhi, highlighted how Indian innovators could benefit by doing business in his country.

“Estonia has a brilliant environment for business. We have a residency programme. Anybody can become the European Union (EU) resident of Estonia, which opens a whole environment of businesses for them. It’s like a gateway to the EU as well. You can open businesses within a couple of minutes,” said Tsahkna.

“Estonia has a unique offer for Indian innovators with its ease of doing business, from fast business registration and tax filing to access to the EU market. This, coupled with Estonia’s e-residency programme, could provide Indian companies an unparalleled opportunity to scale globally, while benefiting from Estonia’s digital governance framework and tax system,” he said.


India has emerged as a powerhouse in the fintech sector, with its rapid adoption of digital payments and a burgeoning startup ecosystem. This partnership can throw a major opportunity of innovation, offering Indian startups and fintech companies a gateway to the European market through Estonia’s business-friendly environment.

The strengthening of India-Estonia relations reflects in the fact that India opened its embassy in Tallinn in 2021. This move signified the growing importance of the partnership, not just in terms of trade and innovation, but also in defence, cybersecurity, education and the green transition. The collaboration is indicative of the broader and mutual interest of the Nordic-Baltic region and India, a relationship that is rapidly expanding across various sectors.


Estonia, a small Baltic nation with a population of just over 1.3 million, has positioned itself as a global leader in digital public services. With 99% of its public services online, the Minister underlined that his country exemplifies how the government and private sector can collaborate to create efficient, user-friendly systems.

“We have E elections or mobile elections in Estonia for years. It shows that our people trust us. The companies trust the government, meaning the data. This is a unique experience in the world. We are ready to share this with the Indian companies and the government.”

The digital-first approach has not only streamlined government processes, but has also fostered an environment ripe for innovation, leading to the country boasting of 11 unicorns in a population of about 1.3 million, the highest number of unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion) per capita in the world.


The Foreign Minister underscored the geopolitical challenges facing the world today, notably the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He articulated Estonia’s position on the matter, emphasising the importance of democracy and the rule of law.

“It is not just a military conflict somewhere in Europe. Russia’s Vladimir Putin is attacking democracies, all democracies in the world, and the world will be more divided. China is also looking very carefully at who will win this. If Putin wins, it is a sign for all, not democracies, that it is allowed to change the borders by force,” he said.

He further said that, “We don’t want to have a war. We want to have peace. We have to have good relations, so that people can live in peace. But unfortunately, there is a war and we have to support (Ukraine)”.

The Estonian Foreign Minister also appreciated Indian humanitarian support to Ukraine during the war. “India has done well the big, big job and showed the meaning of humanitarian support to friends.”

On February 22, India handed over the 16th batch of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which includes diagnostic and medical equipment.

Tsahkna also expressed his broader concerns about tensions in other regions such as Africa, the Middle East and the ongoing China-Taiwan situation.

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