Digital technology has already significantly transformed business operations and processes. Its effects are being felt in virtually every industry, in both public and private sectors and society as a whole. According to Pierre Aurel, Special Projects manager at e4, the power of digital is now being harnessed to dissolve traditional bureaucratic barriers and usher in a new era of truly global and borderless business independent of location.
Aurel says an example of the power of new technology platforms in action is Estonia’s e-residency, which offers a government-issued ID to anyone in the world: “But most importantly e-Residency offers entrepreneurs the freedom to start and run a global business within the European Union. Estonia’s e-Residency takes the concept of remote business management to a new level by allowing anyone to register an EU based company entirely online, digitally sign vital documents and contracts as well as solutions for ongoing business administration,” he explains.
“Digital platforms are being used as the building blocks for a truly empowered digital business. Embracing the digital mindset will provide businesses and entrepreneurs with the means to conduct business globally and entirely online,” Aurel adds.
The successful e-Residency programme has also set its sights on transforming business banking by partnering with the Finnish financial services company Holvi. It allows for borderless business banking as the business account is fully digital. e-Residents are issued with a Holvi Business Mastercard and a selection of useful online tools to grow and expand their businesses. Holvi is regulated by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland and is also compliant with Estonian business regulations.
“The Estonian model serves as a valuable case study for the new opportunities digital platforms can offer businesses, particularly in emerging markets like South Africa,” notes Aurel. “Often, the barriers to expanding a business across borders are not a lack of skills or expertise, but financial and bureaucratic ones. This is especially true of SMEs, which may not have the extra capacity to take on the enormous administrative hurdles associated with establishing a business in another country.”
In addition to making business administration and banking easier irrespective of location, e-Residency allows users access to a network of accountants, marketing specialists, and other business services recommended by other e-residents.
“This kind of digitalisation may mark the beginning of many more location-independent processes that remove barriers and unlock business potential. Digital tools will catalyse and inspire entrepreneurial potential, create rapid growth for start-ups or expansion for existing firms,” says Aurel.