The main purpose of the Swiss Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Report 2015 is to provide a first in-depth analysis of entrepreneurial activities in Switzerland. In this report, the concept of entrepreneurship ecosystems will be discussed and the Swiss entrepreneurial ecosystem assessed, following an established ecosystem framework. This is the second report provided by the SSM. It follows the report “The Start-up Monitor Landscape of Switzerland - First Insights from the Swiss Startup Monitor”, which was published in 2013.
The report examined the sectoral and regional distribution of over 1900 Swiss start-ups and found that ICT is the most prominent sector in the Start-up Monitor and has a particularly strong basis in the Greater Zurich Area (GZA) and Greater Geneva Bern Area (GGBA). Moreover, the report assesses several proxy measures for Swiss entrepreneurial activity. In terms of self-employment (self-employment rate 8-11%) Switzerland ranks in the lower middle range compared to other European and OECD countries.
Another way to measure entrepreneurial activity is new venture creation. An important subset of new firms is young high-growth firms which are often referred to as “gazelles”. Gazelles are companies that are not older than five years, have ten or more employees at the beginning of the measuring period and that have an average annual turnover and employment growth rate of more than 20% for a prolonged period of time. These companies often account for less than one percent of all firms in countries all over the world, but contribute a much larger share to job creation and economic growth. According to the study Entrepreneurship at a Glance (OECD, 2012) the share of gazelles in Switzerland holds a good position.
With 0.5% of the population of Swiss firms, the country lies in the midfield with other OECD countries such as Denmark (0.5%) or Italy 0.4% and Sweden 0.4%. However, there is certainly still room for improvement and the hope is that with improved growth-stage funding opportunities, more of these gazelle companies remain in Switzerland for the growth stage instead of moving to a more favorable ecosystem.
A similar picture emerges when considering the intentions to start a business (EI 7.1%) and the Total Entrepreneurship Activity (TEA 7.1%), which both ranks in the mid-range of all European countries. But it is noteworthy that compared to other countries, the conversion rate of people with the intention of starting a business to those who actually start a business is among the highest in the world. When compared internationally, Swiss startups have above-average survival rates. It is thus evident that the result of the assessment of entrepreneurship activity depends strongly on which proxy measure is used.
This report was published by the Start-up Monitor Foundation in collaboration with the Global Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of St.Gallen and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI).
The Swiss Start-up Monitor is a non-profit, scientifically backed initiative, which mission is to generate quantitative data and insights on the development of the Swiss start-up scene to make start-ups an everyday topic and to lower the barrier for knowledge exchange between start-ups.