Switzerland consistently places among the top of the list for highest quality of life in the world, and the Global Innovation Index has ranked Switzerland as number one for innovation for the past eight years, drawing data from leading disruptive developments in the digital markets to finance.
Culture of Innovation
A decentralized political system, top talent workforce, and high economic density of global banks and companies all contribute to Switzerland’s economic resiliency, competitiveness, and robustness. Swiss schools and universities are among the best in the world and form the foundation of the nation’s innovative strength by sharing ideas between researchers, talented individuals, and innovative entrepreneurs to create the breeding grounds for innovation.
The Swiss are an engaged citizenry committed to public dialogue and a politico-economic environment that supports a thriving innovation ecosystem. Though not part of the European Union, Switzerland borders Germany, France, Italy, and Austria, providing European market access and an international environment that attracts top tier talent from across the world creating a genuine diversity of workforce.
Switzerland is a digital hub offering endless opportunities for cross-sector partnerships propelled by a tradition of innovation, which has sparked an intense culture of start-ups in Switzerland. International positioning and marketing, financing support, coordination and networking with federal authorities to provide a consistent and coherent umbrella of standards with the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Economic Affairs ensures quality and continuous improvement processes.
Tradition of Freedom and Democracy
Since the founding of the Old Swiss Confederacy in 1291, the foundation of Switzerland’s political system has been decentralized direct democracy, which gives citizens an extraordinary amount of participation in the legislation process and granting them a maximum of political self-determination.
In 2012, the Swiss Parliament approved the total revision of the Research and Innovation Promotion Act (RIPA), thereby creating the legal framework for providing federal funding for a Swiss Innovation Park yet leaving plenty of leeway as to how the park should be set up. Determined by the cantons, higher-education institutions, and private sector partners, five parks were established across the country.
To move Switzerland forward, the Federal Council established a two-year Digital Action Plan in 2017. It encompasses six action fields filled with concrete implementation projects, out of which specific recommendations were created, including society and digital transformation, business ecosystem and innovation, education and research, regulation, infrastructure and data policy, and data security.
More than $930 million Swiss Francs were invested in more than 175 Swiss start-ups in 2017. There is intensive exchange between business, academia, and governmental stakeholders which is reducing barriers to market entry, even for emerging fintech companies.
Two technical universities ETH Zurich and EPFL are ranked among the top in the world and CERN is where the world wide web was discovered. Companies have established their research and development centers for technology in Switzerland since 1956, Google’s main office outside the U.S. is in Switzerland, and Switzerland has become known as the Silicon Valley of robotics.
From incubators to financing through cantonal banks for seeds and start-ups, entrepreneurs are provided with high-speed access to innovation to found, grow, and scale their companies. Companies foster cross-sector collaboration to enable innovation by improving digital skills for current employees and for the next generation.
The Luxury Industry
A dichotomy of tradition and innovation, Switzerland is poised to lead luxury with its creative talent, prime geographical location, and focus on business partnerships to become the center of innovation for the luxury sector.
Switzerland is famously home to watch brands Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breitling, and Omega and now many high-end fashion designers are establishing a presence in the country: Armani, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Prada, and Tom Ford all have physical properties in the southern, Italian-speaking region. Switzerland claims 9 of the top 100 leading luxury good companies in the world, dominated by Richemont, Swatch and Rolex, according to Deloitte. While Italy gained the top spot for leading luxury goods in terms of number of companies, France has the highest share of sales. This puts three of the most powerful countries in luxury goods in close proximity, not to mention that while Switzerland is not part of the European Union, it inevitably has close relationships with it.
Loomish is Switzerland’s global driver of digital innovation in the fashion sector, developing an ecosystem of investors, digital start-ups, fashion brands, retailers, and enterprises united to drive digital transformation in the industry. By launching their Fashion Innovation Award, they aim to give successful applicants face time with leading investors, unparalleled visibility at several international events, one-to-one meetings with top brands who are looking for new solutions and an advisory and services package worth thousands of euros.