Three reasons to run your startup in Zürich

Here, Isabelle Ohnemus, CEO at EyeFitU, tells us why you should think about starting your business in Zürich.

In 2016 Switzerland was recognised as the most innovative country in the world by the International Innovation Index, which annually ranks the best global economies in terms of innovation potential and results. The country has always been the home for robust businesses varying from banks to pharmaceuticals to food industries.

Basel claims one of the most productive pharma hubs in the world, which includes global companies like Novartis and Hoffmann-La Roche. Since 1858, Lausanne has hosted École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a research institute that specialises in natural science, engineering and technology.

Whilst Zürich, specifically, has been the home of ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) since 1855; the university, winner of twenty-one Nobel Prizes, is considered to be the fifth best one in the world for engineering and technology.

The push into innovation that has distinguished Switzerland in these recent years has affected the choice of many tech giants who’ve decided to base their businesses in Switzerland. It’s not a coincidence therefore that some of the world’s leading multinationals decided to open an office in Switzerland and in particular in Zürich, which has always been a magnet for technological innovation.

Here, Google built one of its biggest engineering campus’ and the European branch of IBM, also based in Zürich, has a long history of achievements, including two Nobel Prizes. But not just tech: Vetements, a French fashion brand born in 2009 decided to established its headquarters in Zürich, due to the vibrant creative environment.

Switzerland’s largest city seems destined to become increasingly more of an international hub for tech startups: the mix of opportunities, networks and funding is what attracts many entrepreneurs to run their business there, thanks to the great environment of collaboration that the city’s managed to create. One example of the shared support between uprising companies is Impact HUB, a vibrant community that connects almost a thousand entrepreneurs, startups and corporate partners in the thrilling tech scene.

If you are planning to run your business in Europe, here are three main reasons to do it in Zürich.

The high quality of life

According to the 2017 Mercer report on quality of life, Zürich is the second best city in the world in terms of livability. The city is always ranked highly on quality of life because of its strong economy, very good level of health and the elevated safety. When walking the streets of Zürich it is very likely to see elegant and luxurious shops, classy restaurants, beautiful buildings and great art galleries, all surrounded by majestic mountains. Public transport is renowned for being punctual, the streets are sparkling clean and the municipality is driven by smart sustainable strategies. Each of these components contribute towards a healthy and productive backdrop to run a business from, and they positively affect your company’s performance.

Latin used to say “mens sana in corpore sano” meaning: a healthy mind in a healthy body. We can certainly confirm that this motto could be applied to your business in Zürich.

The miscellany of cultures and languages

Switzerland is a multilingual country: according to different areas (cantons) the citizens speak Italian, French, German and Romansh. In Zürich the official language is German, but it’s not uncommon to hear one of the other languages being spoken, and in particular English, which has become more frequent for business reasons. Zürich also has a strategic position: it is situated in north-central Switzerland, right at the heart of Europe.

This convenient location makes the city extremely accessible. From the city it’s possible to reach Italy, France and Germany in just a few hours by train; the airport is considered one of the best in Europe and it’s really easy to fly to more faraway destinations.

Given these factors, Zürich is considered a culturally and ethnically diverse city: as UrbanDivercities reported, 31 per cent of the population come from foreign countries, 61 per cent have a migration history in the background and 39 per cent are born abroad. The mix of cultures and languages is a great enrichment for the city and is an enormous resource for a company too. Different points of view can bring your business unexpected ideas and innovations.

The renowned Swiss precision and efficiency

It’s not just a cliché: the Swiss are extremely precise and well organised. The country is known for its modern and efficient bureaucratic system and public services, which are mostly digitalised and easily accessible. The Swiss reputation for punctuality, efficiency and reliability is internationally acknowledged; these strong values that local politicians, citizens and entrepreneurs uphold daily are highly appreciated and respected by global businesses too.

The efficient organisation of the city services perfectly mirrors the Swiss business culture. In Zürich you can expect people to be particularly punctual, as it is considered a form of respect towards your clients and business partners. You can also expect to have a well organised company that carefully balances work and social life, to achieve better performances and work relationships.

To enhance your experience if you’re planning to start a new business, these key rules are ethical and practical that will help you make the process smoother and bring an undeniable advantage in gaining results.

As tech hubs, Berlin, London and Paris now have a competitor: Zürich. The city burst onto the scene in recent years and its growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Despite the living costs that can discourage startups and small businesses, the network of entrepreneurs is a reliable ally to fight these expenses.

Financial support and learning programmes are set up in the entrepreneurial community to allow and encourage those who are new in business to grow as fast as possible and to face these initial costs. Having your business in Switzerland is always an asset, so be sure not to miss any chances in this exciting, efficient and energetic environment.

Isabelle Ohnemus, CEO at EyeFitU

Further reading on Zürich

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