Background

Swiss Alps instead of Silicon Valley

Imagine the Swiss alps instead of Silicon Valley. One year ago, the initiative «DigitalZurich2025» came into being. To achieve its central purpose of building a strong network for innovation and digitalisation, this movement has taken one step further to become «digitalswitzerland».

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Getty Images / Bruce T. Brown

Just south of the the San Francisco Bay Area, the digital future is being forged already. But the Silicon Valley isn’t the only example of a digital cluster that attracts more and more innovative thinkers and companies. New York was also extremely successful with its initiative «Media NYC 2020», bringing many new media companies into their city, like Buzzfeed.

Their success led Marc Walder, managing director of Ringier AG, to come up with the idea of «digitalzurich2025». His plan is to make the region in and around Zurich its own cluster of european significance, a small Silicon Valley in the heart of Europe.

«The internet will vanish»

The former Google chairman Eric Schmidt once postulated that “the internet will vanish,” suggesting that in the near future, we wouldn’t perceive the existence of the internet anymore. It would be ubiquitous – every device, every fridge, every car would be online.

This inevitable digitalisation presents an immense challenge for every industry. «digitalzurich2025» intends to bring together universities, experts and ICT-employees to maximize their potential for knowledge and growth. Furthermore, they hope to support the digital transformation of swiss companies, educate new digital talent, attract more startups to the area and ensure the necessary political parameters for their success. Economisesuisse, Google Schweiz, the publishing house Ringier and Swisscom are – amongst others – involved in this project.

One step further

After only one year in existence, «digitalzurich2025» has made tremendous progress bringing international startups to Zurich by building a strong innovation hub and a fruitful startup-ecosystem. «We are very excited how well it went and how many different companies, cities and initiatives wanted to be part of it.», says Sunnie Groeneveld, the initiative’s managing director. These initial successes have paved the way for next steps, including last month’s rebranding of their coalition to «digitalswitzerland».

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