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23.04.2018 Formation, Funding

7 Reasons Why Switzerland Is a Good Place for Start-Ups

Over 40,000 new companies are founded every year in Switzerland. Why is the alpine nation such a popular place to start a business? Below are seven reasons that make Switzerland attractive for both entrepreneurs and investors.

1. Innovation is key

Despite being a small country, Switzerland has been labelled one of the most innovative countries worldwide numerous times. According to an index by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the alpine nation is top in the world when it comes to innovation. In 2017, Switzerland has been ranked number one in innovation for the seventh year in a row. Switzerland scored particularly high in the category ‘knowledge and technology outputs’ as the Swiss have the highest ratio of European patent applications to population.

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2. Densely concentrated network of corporations and banks

Young entrepreneurs need to build up a network in their industry. Switzerland is an ideal place to meet potential investors, corporates or mentors: Apart from numerous banks, Switzerland is home to no less than fifteen Fortune 500 companies in numerous sectors such as financial services, insurance, commodities, food & beverages or pharmaceuticals. Hundreds of other international companies established their European and EMEA headquarters in Swiss cities. Prominent examples are Google with its largest office outside of Mountain View in Zurich and Adobe with their global research and development centre for the marketing cloud in Basel.

3. Political stability

While the political situation in Switzerland’s neighbouring countries has changed radically in the last year and months, according to the news platform Swissinfo, the balance of power between the main Swiss parties remains broadly stable.

Corruption does not impede business in Switzerland. The business anti-corruption portal GAN states that interactions with public officials are transparent and corruption is not common. The Swiss law criminalizes active and passive bribery, while bribery in the private sector is criminalized under the Unfair Competition Act. The Swiss tax administration is not known to be affected by corruption.

Political stability and the low degree of corruption make Switzerland a safe, predictable and transparent place to do business.

4. Education level

Education in Switzerland is free at compulsory levels which include primary and secondary school, with remarkably affordable tuition fees for academic study. Therefore, a major part of the Swiss population has attained at least upper secondary education: 86% of the 25-64 year-olds and 89% of 25-34 year-olds while the OECD average is 75% and 82% respectively.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (German: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) is amongst the world’s top universities for sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics and the University of St. Gallen is one of the most prestigious business schools in Europe is in St. Gallen.

Switzerland has a dual education system in which many professional qualifications are obtained during so-called apprenticeships. They consist of practical training on three to four days a week at a training company and of theoretical classes at a vocational school.

The dual education system and the accessibility to high-quality schools and universities ensures a permanent supply of well-trained and experienced professionals.

5. Quality of life

In most surveys, Swiss cities rank among the best places to live in the world. The Mercer Quality of Living survey 2017 saw Zurich retain second place below Vienna, which took the top spot for the eighth year in a row. Geneva was ranked number eight – the same as last year – while Basel placed joint tenth with Sydney.

Switzerland performs very well in many measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the OECD Better Life Index, ranking above the average in subjective well-being, jobs and earnings, income and wealth, health status, social connections, environmental quality, education and skills, work-life balance, housing and personal security.

The high quality of life attracts professionals from all over the world.

6. Travelling made easy

Switzerland has a well-developed road and public transport network that makes travelling within the country easy and efficient. It’s location in the centre of Europe as well as the excellent infrastructure allow for quick access to other European cities and have helped to make Switzerland one of the continent’s logistics hubs.

7. Stable currency

Switzerland is one of the world’s most stable economies with the Swiss franc being one of the strongest and stable currencies. The franc’s independence has proved critical during turbulent times, including throughout the eurozone debt crisis which saw tremendous fund flow from the affected European nations to Switzerland.

The franc’s stability attracts Swiss and international investors.

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