IT is the smallest of the Baltic states with a population of less than 1.5 million, but the Republic of Estonia is one of the world’s most digitally-advanced countries – and its e-residency programme is proving a hit here.

The digital relationship between Estonia and Scotland will be marked on Monday when the week-long Estonia Now festival starts in Glasgow, aiming to offer more information about the country, as well as celebrating its centenary.

Regular consular missions and pop-up consuls are planned in Scotland from the Estonian embassy in London, and pick-up points will be set up for Scots to collect their e-residency cards. The first will be in Glasgow next Saturday.

“Scotland and Estonia share quite a few similarities – and not just occasionally dreich weather,” says Adam Rang, the e-residency programme’s chief evangelist, who has lived in Scotland. “Both nations have a highly entrepreneurial population, a history of innovation, a growing technology sector with world famous digital exports  – from Grand Theft Auto to Skype  –  and a government committed to digital development for the benefit of everyone.”

He says the two countries also share an affection for unicorns and unicorn start-ups – companies valued at more than €1 billion (£871 million): “Shining examples include Skyscanner and FanDuel from Scotland and TransferWise and Taxify from Estonia.

“Understandably then, both Scotland and Estonia are committed to developing a deeper relationship in order to learn from each other on a range of issues from developing digital services to helping more entrepreneurs grow their companies globally.”

Rang says he doesn’t have a figure for the number of Scottish entrepreneurs who are Estonian e-residents – their data is well protected – and only has data for the UK as a whole.

That shows a current total of 2335 e-residents from the UK and globally more than 50,000 in 157 countries.

“The main benefit of e-residency is the ability to establish an EU company entirely online from anywhere in the world with minimal hassle and low costs,” he says.

“Estonia’s citizens and residents are already able to run their companies online in this way so opening up our digital infrastructure to e-residents enables us to share these advantages and then make more friends around the world. As the programme helps provide access to the EU market, there was a sharp rise in applications from the UK immediately following the Brexit referendum and this has steadily increased since then.”

Although e-residents can operate entirely online in Estonia, there is a requirement for applicants to meet an Estonian official to have their identity verified which, until now, has involved a trip to London.

“We are keen to reduce hassle for the entrepreneurs in every way possible, which is why the pop-up consulates in Scotland organised by the Estonian Embassy will help more Scottish entrepreneurs benefit from the programme,” says Rang.

“Estonia offers e-residency because it enables us to make more connections around the world.

“As a result, we are keen to not just help Scottish entrepreneurs access the EU market and prepare for Brexit but also find ways to then connect more people in both our countries, particularly if it helps Scottish and Estonian entrepreneurs conduct more business with each other and grow their companies as a result.

“Both our governments and entrepreneurs have so much to offer each other.”