Switzerland, world leader in Innovation

#An Idea Born in Switzerland

Switzerland has been proving that small countries can create a strong economic and innovative hub. For the past 5 years, Switzerland has topped the charts of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) study as the world leader in innovation, and it still remains as one of the top places in terms of Human Development, according to the United Nations. The country is home to the world’s largest particle physics laboratory (CERN), to the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and to a dynamic startup ecosystem supporting the latest in FinTech, MedTech and CleanTech innovation.

This environment provided all the right raw materials for the creation of Seedstars, a Swiss-based initiative to find, connect, and invest in the top startups in emerging markets.

Seedstars, a Swiss-based initiative

For Seedstars founders, everything started with the idea of launching startups from Switzerland to the world. When travelling and meeting with entrepreneurs all over the world, they realized the opportunity to create a bridge between the innovation energy of Switzerland and the opportunity and talent in the emerging markets. And right now, after a couple of years promoting and investing in entrepreneurship, Switzerland is still home, not only to Seedstars but also to the Seedstars Summit — The Entrepreneurship Forum For Emerging Markets.

Pierre-Alain, co-founder of Seedstars, explains why Switzerland is so important to the success of the initiative. First of all it is a matter of values and way of thinking, which are all fundamental elements of each key sectors of the Swiss economical and political systems. Trust is at the root of the private banking activity for example; attention to details is essential to the high-precision industries like watch making; and consensus is at the heart of the Swiss political system. These values are key for entrepreneurship, which is mainly based on a small group of people associating themselves to solve problems in a very uncertain environment. Secondly it’s the international mindset and neutrality. Switzerland has positioned itself as a place where all nationalities can meet and discuss (UN and WEF among others are good examples). This create a fertile atmosphere for international cooperations.

Switzerland, a country filled with possibilities

This sentiment is echoed by Rico Baldegger of the Haute Ecole de Gestion, Fribourg, “Over the past ten years, Switzerland heavily invested into entrepreneurship. Parliament also developed a ‘Startup Agenda’, the aim of which is to provide a clear stack of services aimed to incentivise startups and facilitate their work. This can range from tax breaks, start- up capital or incentives for foreign investors to come into the country. In general, we see great sophistication in Switzerland’s links between government, the private sector and universities — the fundamental ties in the domain of innovation.”

Switzerland encloses remarkable features that makes it one of the world’s most competitive economies. It has not only be able to live according to the state maxim of neutrality throughout history, but also to practice direct democracy within a decentralized, federalist government. The unique combination of economic and political stability, as well as an excellent infrastructure and a transparent legal system, generate a prosperous environment for startups and organizations. It is no coincidence that Switzerland is the world leader in innovation, and one of the reasons why Seedstars couldn’t be born anywhere else. Can you imagine a better country to launch Seedstars to the world?