Estonian startup LeapIN has said that the UK government's request to extend Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (EU), further delaying the UK's withdrawal from the 28-member political and economic union, would offer microbusinesses "a glimmer of hope".
The company said that, regardless of its final form, Brexit would "undoubtedly impact microbusinesses and freelance professionals in multiple ways". However, the news of a potentially longer extension of the UK's withdrawal from the EU "could offer a lifeline to the millions of UK microbusinesses, freelancers and independent professionals who may lack a tangible contingency plan amid the uncertainty".
LeapIN, which was founded on a belief that starting and running a business should be simple, helps independent businesses setup and operate virtually in Europe. The startup is part of the Estonian e-Residency programme and has enabled thousands of new microbusinesses to enter the market.
LeapIN CEO Allan Martinson commented: "Many microbusiness owners and entrepreneurs will welcome the news of a possible extension to Article 50 as an opportunity to have more time to finalize their plans.
"However, businesses clearly need stability and we still appear to be a long way from that. While independent professionals and microbusinesses will need to look for new legal options in order to continue selling in the EU, a viable solution is to set up a virtual business through the Estonian e-Residency programme, allowing access to the single market post-Brexit."
An agreed extension would give the UK parliament until October 31, 2019, to reach an agreement on the withdrawal deal. LeapIN, however, believe that a "serious option for many UK microbusinesses needing to access the single market post-Brexit is to apply for Estonian e-Residency", which would provide location-independent access to the EU without the need to be based there physically.