Estonia Comes to Vermont?

Last November, I was fortunate to visit Estonia as part of the Startup Nations Summit, a global meeting of folks who work on public policies to promote entrepreneurship.  It was a great event, but it was equally great to see what was happening in Estonia.  Estonians are in the midst of radical experiment in how government works and the appropriate role of the state in the modern 21st century economy.   The New Yorker did a great review, “Estonia:  The Digital Republic,” in December and that is definitely worth reading.   Among the transformations underway in Estonia are the digitization of nearly all government services, and the creation of an E-Residency, where anyone can set up a business and become an e-resident of Estonia.  This is all very interesting and exciting, but I’m especially excited to see that many of these ideas are starting to gain traction here in the US.  The latest example comes from Vermont, which is now considering whether to adopt many of these interesting ideas from Estonia.   The Vermont Legislature is currently considering several bills that would assess whether Vermont should set up its own e-residency programs.   These ideas are just gaining traction, but they could offer many benefits to Vermont and other rural regions, which like Estonia, are trying to attract new residents and workers.    Vermont’s current Governor, Phil Scott, has made the attraction of new residents into one of his top priorities, and these new e-government efforts could be one means to attract greater interest for new businesses and new residents.   These new experiments are worth watching!

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