I have to say that every time I visit Estonia during good weather, there are tempting thoughts of moving back here. So far we have had a not-so-quiet weekend with friends and family. Funny how the longer you know someone, the less they seem to change.
On my flight I met an entrepreneur who has lived here the past three years and is doing an executive MBA program in London on the weekends. After being a CTO at a corporate IM startup and looking to start his own company (highly specialized psych research ASP), he picked Estonia for both the business friendly climate, easy visa, cost and lifestyle.
The economy here is booming, with double-diget growth over the past quarter alone. Prices are about 30% less than the US, driven by wage growth following the EU accession. There is a big gap between rich and poor and it's hard to discern the middle-class. Since accession, many Estonians work abroad in the EU and tourism has exploded in both directions.
An Estonian friend who did quite well as a real estate entrepreneur over the past ten years told me he would love to invest in the US, but the Bush administration has made it too difficult to get a visa. Instead he is starting developments in France.
It should be noted that Estonian immigration policy isn't any better. I have an Indian friend who wants to live here and could have a significant impact on the high tech industry, but he can't get a visa. The biggest problem facing Estonian entreprepeurs is sourcing good human capital. The fact is, this economy is near a peak (reminds me of 1996) and has structural weaknesses that are not being fully addressed.
Me, I'm just glad my passport is being accepted after going through the laundry.