The DigitalZurich2025 initiative was launched on July 2, 2015 at a meeting of its founding members held at Zurich’s City Hall. The initiative aims to strengthen the Greater Zurich Area’s position as a digital hub and to project those benefits across the whole of Switzerland. Five specific measures have been defined. The initiative’s steering committee is chaired by Marc Walder, Ringier AG’s CEO. The project leader is Sunnie J. Groeneveld.
The declared objective of the DigitalZurich2025 initiative is to position the Greater Zurich Area as an attractive location for digital startups, corporations and talents and to assist companies throughout Switzerland in meeting digital challenges. Five specific measures have been defined to achieve these goals:
- Every year, a digital conference with global reach will be held in the Greater Zurich Area. This will be based on the Zurich worldwebforum which has already successfully made a name for itself.
- A Swiss Investor Summit will be initiated. This will be scheduled to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos. The summit will be held at Zurich airport and will enable selected Swiss startups with the potential to achieve global growth to link up with international investors and business leaders.
- A Swiss Creative and Digital Academy will be established to leverage the combined know how and capabilities of universities, industry experts and ICT companies. The objective here is to provide access to practically oriented continuing education on digital topics to a significantly greater demographic. The Europeaallee next to Zurich’s main railway station, where a number of digital companies and training institutions are already established, will provide the ideal venue for a digital education hub.
- DigitalZurich2025 will also support Switzerland’s participation as a partner country at CeBIT 2016 trade fair in Hanover, where Switzerland will present itself alongside established companies, innovative startups, universities and universities of applied sciences.
- DigitalZurich2025’s fifth measure will be to establish and develop a new startup accelerator program. Talks on this are under way with a number of existing Swiss and international programs of this kind.
DigitalZurich2025’s founding committee comprises the following companies and institutions: ETHZurich, Ernst & Young Schweiz, Google Switzerland, Leonteq, Migros, Die Mobiliar, Oliver Wyman, Swiss Post, Ringier, Swiss Federal Railways, SIX, SWISS, Swisscom, Swiss Life, UBS and the ICT entrepreneur and FDP Liberal Swiss National Council member Ruedi Noser. DigitalZurich2025 will have an umbrella governing body comprising the City of Zurich, represented by its mayor Corine Mauch, the Canton of Zurich, represented by councillor Carmen Walker Späh, and the Swiss Business Foundation (economiesuisse), represented by Heinz Karrer. ETH Zurich will be represented by its President Lino Guzzella and by Markus Püschel, Head of its Computer Science department.
The steering committee comprises Heinz Karrer, Chairman of the Swiss Business Foundation (economiesuisse), Patrick Warnking, Country Director of Google Switzerland, Susanne Ruoff, CEO of Swiss Post, Ruedi Noser, ICT entrepreneur and FDP Liberal Swiss National Council member, Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier, Urs Schäppi, CEO of Swisscom and Lukas Gähwiler, CEO of UBS Switzerland.
Sunnie J. Groeneveld is in charge of the project leadership for DigitalZurich2025. This Zurich-born entrepreneur studied Economics at Yale University and graduated from Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator accelerator program with a web startup company. As the co-founder and CEO of Inspire 925, based at the Impact Hub Zurich, and through her work at the ETH Innovation and Entrepreneurship Laboratory (ieLab) she has an excellent network of contacts within the Swiss startup community.
In the words of Marc Walder, Ringier AG CEO and Chairman of the DigitalZurich2025 Steering Committee: “The Greater Zurich Area has what it takes to establish itself as a leading European digital-innovation hub. That is what DigitalZurich2025 intends to achieve. Well-known representatives of Switzerland’s business community are systematically driving this idea forward and committing themselves to making it reality. Both the City and Canton of Zurich are playing their part in this. It is thanks to them that this important initiative is now getting under way.”