Swiss Entrepreneurship Program

The heart of any entrepreneurial ecosystem is the community of entrepreneurs themselves. The Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP) has incorporated this belief and supports building local startup communities bottom up by working with ecosystem leaders and builders since 2015. We do this by working with selected startup support organisations (incubators, accelerator programs, mentor- and business angel networks). Through our network of international entrepreneurs and accelerator managers, Swiss EP supports these organisations to strengthen their performance, improve programs and deliver services of high value to their entrepreneurs, through strategic and practical advice as well as valuable international connections.
Growth-oriented, early stage startups benefit from improved programs, targeted support structures, flow of information, international connections, and access to finance. As a result, the startups are better equipped to grow and sustain their businesses. Through these efforts, startups create jobs and value to local economies.
swisscontact albania
swisscontact peru
north macedonia
bosnia herzegovina
pristina kosovo
hanoi, vietnam
Project duration
2015 - 2023
Financed by
  • State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

The project

The second phase of Swiss EP is based on experiences and results of the first phase to ensure continuation of efforts made and results achieved. We organise our work in these 3 key working areas, however they are highly interrelated:

1.    Strengthening relevant local ecosystem organisations
We continue providing tailor-made support to our partnering ecosystem support organizations to improve their business model, management capacities, communication and mentoring networks as well as programs and services to entrepreneurs, and thus their overall performance.

2.    Strengthening collaboration in the entrepreneurial ecosystem
We support the collaboration and cooperation among different players because community building is a crucial ingredient for viable and healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems – bringing like-minded people together and foster their collaboration. In strong ecosystems, startups find support at every stage of business creation. We facilitate more collaboration through our local teams and through contributing to joint events as well as with our global events in Switzerland (peer exchange meetup and women entrepreneurs week). 

3.    Mobilise Capital for entrepreneurs
We put weight on one of the key assets of a maturing ecosystem: the availability and accessibility of diverse sources for capital for startups to grow their business. We put the focus on professionalising local business angel networks, accelerators, local or regional venture capital funds and strengthening early stage grant schemes. At the same time, we support our partnering ecosystem support organisations to make their portfolio startups investment-ready.

Crosscutting topics
Swiss EP also continues to enhance the participation of women entrepreneurs in the ecosystem, to engage the media and the diaspora and on demand help partner organisations to engage in public-private dialogue.

Guiding principles

  • Our partner organisations are in charge of their own development. They drive. We support.
  • We apply an indirect approach, so we support local organisations designing and implementing their activities rather than having own ones to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem overall and foster ownership.
  • We do not provide financial support but give customised expertise and know-how.
  • We do not have a sector focus to include innovation and opportunities wherever they occur.
  • We focus on strengthening peer exchange among local organisations and with successful entrepreneurs, investors and startup professionals from abroad – for strong and viable entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Project partner

J.E. Austin Associates, Inc.


By strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem overall, the programme aims at contributing to the creation of 4,800 jobs and 38.5M CHF capital mobilised by entrepreneurs and startups.



Peru, Vietnam, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Women powered entrepreneurship for equal opportunities in the future
According to the 2020/21 GEM Women entrepreneurs report, women account for half of the entrepreneurial activity globally. However, those activities tend to remain at a very small scale, impacting the women entrepreneurs and their immediate family, often not becoming growing companies that create jobs and employment opportunities for others due to lack of support and financing.
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Rethinking external financing for women-led SMEs 
The Beacon Fund was launched in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Despite the difficult macro-economic environment, it was able to enter the market successfully thanks to support from investors. The Beacon Fund’s financing and advisory services are focused in particular on women-led businesses. It is supported by the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP), a scheme financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by Swisscontact.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
How to Start an Entrepreneurial Journey in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Burch Startup Incubator and Swiss EP have been working together for over seven years, helping emerging entrepreneurs start their businesses. We have summed up our collaboration in conversation with Admir Salihagić, the Incubator Manager.