What keeps us from being a start-up nation?

Switzerland has great potential for young entrepreneurs. The average academic level is considerably high, there is enough venture capital floating around and our cities attract plenty of international, innovative people. All this should mean there are not many obstacles in Switzerland’s way to becoming one of the top start-up nations worldwide.

Then why is it so hard? According to, it is possible to found your company in 8 – 20 days, and there are political ambitions to decrease that to 7 days. Everyone familiar with this topic confirms that there is plenty of innovation present, and enough ideas around. But with that (and our GDP) in mind, it’s inexplicable why Swiss start-ups play such a marginal role in international start-up rankings.

There are a few possible reasons that we will explore in the next months. From a political point of view, Swiss law is not exactly start-up friendly yet:

– Foreign students often lose their Visa after finishing their studies, forcing them to leave the country just after graduation, instead of allowing them to stay and start their own business here. A similar problem is the strict quotas for people from third countries (countries outside Europe), that often prohibit small businesses from getting the people they need into the country.

– Taxes: Swiss tax regulations can be a real pain for young entrepreneurs. And, as is usually the case in Switzerland, the law changes almost every time you step over a canton border. This is a topic so huge and complicated that we decided to dedicate a massive story to it, where we attempt to shed light on this post-big-bang-like chaos. (You can look forward to reading this story later this Fall!) Of course, these two points are not the only ones that hurt Switzerland’s chances of becoming a start-up paradise.

– A third problem, though less political, is that Swiss start-ups tend to not get enough venture capital when they want to enter the markets. Again, this is a huge topic that will be explored in a proper story later this year too.

As far as making start-ups feel welcome here, there is a lot going wrong from the political point of view. Our country has great potential for becoming one of the top start-up nations. And if legislators make the appropriate changes to our laws,  we might even get it done.

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