Lauri Haav, Managing Director, e-Residency, looks at the rich diversity of entrepreneurs, and how they have thrived during the pandemic.
From side hustlers, to mumpreneurs, freelancers and digital nomads, the world has seen a new wave of entrepreneurs over recent years that has been boosted by the pandemic. We know that Millennials are the most entrepreneurial-minded working generation we’ve ever seen and that Gen-Z is set to follow, but the pandemic has created unique circumstances that have encouraged a vast array of individuals to try their hand at running a business.
For many in the UK, the furlough scheme enabled them to commit time to their personal projects, whilst others who lost their jobs were forced to find new ways to pay the bills. However you started your business, the entrepreneur community offers a lifeline to anyone with a great idea. What’s more, is that the international SME community is extremely diverse, and removing obstacles that make it easier for them to communicate, trade, and work alongside one another not only encourages the values of tolerance, inclusion and reciprocity but drives more revenue too.
Now is a better time than any for businesses to grow, with advances in technology and the availability of social media making it quick and simple to find the right space to market your business. At e-Residency, we’re working with a community of over 80,000 business owners from every corner of the world, and they benefit from access to an extremely diverse community every single day.
Many of our e-Residents work both remotely and borderless on account of running their business out of Estonia. By throwing off the constraints of typical single-location office models, our entrepreneurs have access to a wider talent pool. They also contribute to closing the diversity gap in sectors that are dominated by one race, culture, gender, and a number of other sub-groups, giving everyone the chance to work to their strengths (with the added flexibility of not being tied to 9-5 working hours).
Vicky Brock founded her company Vistalworks in 2018 with the aim of keeping online shoppers safe from criminal sellers and illicit trade. This illegal activity affects everyone, regardless of their class, location, or appearance, and her journey to develop the Vistalworks platform was to make safety easier for everyone. Vicky, as a British national, now runs her company out of the EU (despite Brexit) since she has access to it through e-Residency.
When asked about her experience, Vicky said: “The e-Residency community brings an incredibly diverse and globally-minded set of people together, with common purpose but very different lived experiences, and I love that both personally and professionally. “
She believes that the widened talent pool she’s been able to access by being part of the e-Residency programme has been hugely beneficial: “The company doesn’t have to settle for what is available, we seek out and retain the best people who believe in what we do and want to grow with us. That is very good for morale and productivity.”
Likewise, Alagan Mahalingam (an e-Resident from Colombo and CEO of Rootcode Labs) loves working and interacting with incredible minds who share his vision: “We are a technology firm, and 44% of our employees globally are women. We love having diversity in Rootcode, it makes us better as an organization and creatively solve problems.
He believes neglecting diversity is harmful to any company:”If there is no diversity, we might end up living in a bubble of a similar mindset and approach. Diversity helps organizations think and execute from different angles.”
In 2020, Alagan competed in and claimed first prize with his team in Estonia’s Global Hack. The Global Hack invited teams to develop technological solutions to problems faced by the pandemic. Alagan’s team developed Expert Republic, a platform that provides secure, trusted one-to-one video consultations and payments between “Expert Republic experts” and their clients.
Alagan believes the pandemic has made him stronger as an entrepreneur, and thinks the circumstances have created an opportunity specifically for startups focusing on technology-based solutions, while it has become “more and more painful to build a non-tech business during a global pandemic for multiple reasons, such as lockdown-induced loss of financial activity, supply chain bottlenecks, difficulties in travel and sourcing.”
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