If you are looking to spin-off your research into a company, there are a wealth of resources available in Switzerland. Some of the highlights are included below.
Our KTT Officer Lauren Gamp is available at and +41 44 633 34 21, if you have questions or would like support in navigating any of the below programs.
Training for entrepreneurs
Innosuisse Start-up Training: Innosuisse’s four modules include Business Ideas, and Business Concept, which are aimed at members of universities interested in start-ups. The last two modules, Business Creation and Business Growth are aimed at start-ups. The courses are held in multiple locations across the country.
Innosuisse Start-up Coaching: Innosuisse’s coaching programs are aimed at different parts of a start-up’s development. The first offer, Initial Coaching, aims to challenge and optimize the business model. The second offer, Core Coaching, aims to create and develop business traction. The third offer, Scale-up Coaching, aims to refine and implement the growth strategy.
Talent Kick: Talent Kick’s program is aimed at students who aspire to become entrepreneurs. The first semester of the program focuses on what makes a good entrepreneur, team, and pitch. Participants receive 1-on-1 coaching, and the program aims to help you find a suitable co-founder. Further semesters focus on personal development as well as project growth, where teams may receive a Spark Kick of CHF 5’000 to pursue their project.
Applications for the 2023 batch were open until 15 October 2022.
STARTUP CAMPUS: They support start-ups through a range of programs. This includes Innosuisse Start-up Training, individual coaching, coworking space, incubators, events and conferences. Initiative is put on by a consortium of academic and innovation partners, co-led by ZHAW School of Management and Law, and ImpactHub Zurich.
IFJ Start-up Support: IFJ, the Institut für Jungunternehmen, provides courses for prospective founders, relating to the legal and official processes required to create a start-up. Their focus is on preparing you for incorporation. Further topics covered include business plans, accounting, insurance, management, marketing, and trademark protection. IFJ also offers services for those looking to incorporate their company.
VentureKick: VentureKick offers aspiring start-ups up to CHF 150’000 during the three phases of their 9-month competition over. The program is aimed at early-stage projects from Swiss academic institutions, which are not yet launched as startups. First round is pitching the business idea, second round is presenting the business case, and the third round is kick-starting the start-up. Between rounds, two-day kicker camps are put on for participants.
First Ventures: This support program from the Gebert Rüf Stiftung is aimed at bachelor and master students of Universities of Applied Sciences, who are developing an innovative business idea as their thesis topic. It includes up to CHF 150’000 to develop their idea into a start-up in 1-2 years.
Quarterly application deadlines: 1 February, 1 May, 1 September, 1 December
InnoBooster: This support program from the Gebert Rüf Stiftung is aimed at projects arising from Swiss universities or research institutions, that have reached at least Stage 1 of the Venture Kick program. The program covers up to CHF 150’000 for up to 18 months of project development.
Quarterly application deadlines: 1 February, 1 May, 1 September, 1 December
venture: The >>venture>> competition targets those looking to launch a start-up in topics of health care & nutrition, industrials & engineering, retail & consumer services, ICT, or finance & insurance. Participants receive mentorship, pitch training sessions, and can win up to CHF 150’000.
Applications currently closed. For the 2023 edition, applications opened on 1 November 2022 and closed on 2 March 2023.
SEIF Tech for Impact Awards: The SEIF awards are for impact driven entrepreneurs, whose tech solutions tackle at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Applications are open until 31 March 2023.
W.A. de Vigier Foundation: The oldest Swiss prize for young entrepreneurs in Switzerland, the foundation awards five CHF 100’000 prizes each year.
Applications currently closed. For the 2023 edition, submissions closed on 6 January 2023.
Pioneerpreis: The Zürcher Kantonalbank and Technopark Zurich Foundation offer this CHF 100'000 prize yearly, for start-ups within 6 years of founding.
Applications for the Pioneerpreis 2023 are closed. The 2024 edition will open applications in May 2023.
BRIDGE programs: Jointly put on by SNSF and Innosuisse, two BRIDGE programs are offered.
BRIDGE Proof of Concept is aimed at young researchers who have completed their doctorate less than 4 years ago, and supports them with up to CHF 130’000 for one year, to develop a proof of concept.
Application deadlines: 5 June 2023, 4 September 2023, 4 December 2023.
BRIDGE Discovery is aimed at experienced researchers, to realize innovation potential of their research findings. The project will be supported for up to 4 years, covering staff salaries and project costs.
For the 7th call, a letter of intent was due on 27 February 2023, and full proposals are due 2 May 2023.
ETH Pioneer Fellowship: ETH Zürich puts on this program for teams of 1-2 entrepreneurs who wish to commercialize the Master/PhD/postdoctoral research results that were carried out at ETH. They receive a grant of CHF 150’000 over 12-18 months, as well as mentoring and training.
Application deadlines: 1 March, 1 September each year
EPFL Ignition Grants: EPFL offers Ignition Grants for early-stage projects. It is a first opportunity to validate the project, with a CHF 30’000 grant for salary, consumables, and/or outsourcing needs over 6 months. Grantees must be hosted in an EPFL lab during this time.
EPFL Innogrant: EPFL offers this program for entrepreneurial individuals with a strong connection to an EPFL lab. The Innogrant is a grant of CHF 100’000 for the 1-year salary of the future entrepreneur, who will develop their spin-off while being hosted in an EPFL lab.
Technology parks, incubators, and accelerators
ESA BIC: The European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre Switzerland is an incubator for startups that are less than 5 years old, are incorporated in Switzerland, and have a space connection. Their definition of “space connection” is quite broad, and can include topics such as materials and processes.
Selection rounds each year in March and November. Application deadlines: 31 October 2023, 28 February 2024.
Switzerland Innovation Parks: A network of Innovation Parks that serve as hubs for events, fostering R&D collaborations between industry and academia, and supporting start-ups and innovation in their region. They are located across Switzerland, including Lausanne, Basel, Zurich, Aargau, Ticino, Rotkreuz, and Biel/Bienne.
TECHNOPARKs: The TECHNOPARK Alliance fosters close cooperations with academic institutions, and provides opportunities for start-ups to grow in Aargau, Graubünden, Luzern, Liechtenstein, Schlieren, Winterthur, Zürich and Ticino. Their offers include workspace for start-ups, events, and coaching.
ImpactHub: ImpactHub offers coworking spaces, meeting rooms, events, and start-up support programs. They focus on entrepreneurship, sustainable development, innovation and new forms of work. Their locations include Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, and Ticino. They run their Circular Economy Incubator.
Applications currently closed. Deadline for the Circular Economy Incubator 2023 edition closed on 13 November 2022.
glatec: Supports companies and collaborative research emerging from Empa and Eawag in Dubendorf, Zurich. They run a business incubator for early stage start-ups.
Gründerorganisation Wädenswil: Known as grow, they support companies with establishing their company, provide consulting and networking opportunities, as well as financing and workspaces.
Startup days: A yearly conference focused on startups in Switzerland. They bring together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, and other members of the innovation ecosystem. Includes a Pitching Battle, where 40 startups pitch their project.
Event date: 25 May 2023
Startupticker.ch: This is an online platform, curated by Innosuisse, for entrepreneurs, innovators and supporters. They have a news portal and event calendar, as well as directories of investors, grants, prizes, initiatives, and jobs.