Another rather interesting and on point #longread article coming up below.

I just stumbled upon this tweet in my timeline (Thanks @UrsGossip):

Big corporations made us innovative

According to the article Switzerland has been top of the innovative rankings due its large corporations such as:

«Google has its largest R&D center outside the US in Zurich, employing over 1,500 people.»

«Switzerland’s pharmaceuticals industry, particularly, has flourished: Novartis, Hoffman-La Roche, Basilea Pharmaceutica and Actelion are among its biggest industry assets.»

«Food technology giant Bühler recently announced the creation of a $51.4m innovation campus in Uzwil, near the Swiss-German border.»

However, comparing to other entrepreneurship hubs, Switzerland is struggling.

«According to a 2016 CB Insights report [Switzerland] placed 20th in terms of tech exits.»

In the article several issues are raised that are actually bringing Switzerland forward in its endeavour of becoming a leading digital innovation hub.

Government that listens

First and foremost, the government is listening more closely to what challenges are entrepreneurs and SMEs fighting against. digitalswitzerland notices exactly the same. In the last year the federal council and the administration provided several reports on how to go about digital transformation and embrace young entrepreneurs:

Event though these reports are to some extent just touching on the issues ahead. They are an important signal to all startups and entrepreneurs that Switzerland is trying to tackle some of the most important challenges. digitalswitzerland is prepared to help shape the regulatory framework in order to not let the reports become paper tigers.

Transport Tech as natural target for startups

«Switzerland’s transport infrastructure isn’t just reliable, it’s outstanding: from Zurich International Airport, for example, it’s possible to be in the city center within 25 minutes of landing, at a cost of just $3.40. Tell that to Londoners.»

Education system is exemplary

«The country’s education system is exemplary. The majority of Swiss major higher education centers fall within the top 200 of the prestigious Shanghai rankings. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH is deemed the eighth best university in the world by QS.»

Event though our higher education system is one of the best, it needs to be developed and (financially) supported further in order not to fall behind. As well as starting with the youngest, we need to have more computational thinking in primary schools. We have been going on about this already here and here.

Private initiatives fill the void

«It has been left to the private sphere to advance the local startup scene. Groups like ImpactHUB Zurich and Digital Switzerland have helped birth a vibrant if modest ecosystem.»

We at digitalswitzerland are always proud to get noticed and push the ecosystem even further in order to soon leave out the “if modest”.

There are still many more challenges to address

  • High wage and rent costs make it harder to be competitive to multinationals
  • Hiring of foreign talents is due to immigration laws too restrict
  • Too small VC community


Do you like these summaries and their takeaways for the digital innovation in Switzerland? There is more to come!  Stay tuned and sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter.


Author Daniel Scherrer

Head of Communications & Public Affairs @digitalswitzerland

More posts by Daniel Scherrer