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 for the past four years. Our partners are mainly local entrepreneurs developing and managing incubators, accelerator programs, mentor and angel networks. Through our network of international entrepreneurs (short term experts and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence) Swiss EP supports organizations 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, flow of information, support structures, 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.
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:
- Strengthening relevant local ecosystem organizations
We continue providing tailor-made support to our partnering ecosystem organizations to improve their business model, management capacities, communication and mentoring networks as well as other services to entrepreneurs, and thus their overall performance.
- Strengthening collaboration in the entrepreneurial ecosystem
We support the collaboration and cooperation among different ecosystem organizations 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).
- Mobilize Capital for entrepreneurs
Here 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 organizations to make their portfolio startups investment-ready.
Swiss Entrepreneurship Program also continues activities to enhance the participation of women entrepreneurs in the ecosystem, to engage the media and the diaspora.
- Guiding principles
- Our partner organizations are in charge of their own development. They drive. We support.
- We apply an indirect approach, so we support local organizations designing and implementing their activities rather than implement own activities to strengthen the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- We do not have a sector focus to include innovation and opportunities wherever they occur.
- We do not provide financial support but give customised expertise and know-how.
- We focus on strengthening peer exchange among local organizations and with successful entrepreneurs, investors and startup professionals from abroad – for strong and viable entrepreneurial ecosystems.
By strengthening the entrepreneurship ecosystem sustainable, the programme aims at creating 4,800 jobs and 38.5M CHF capital mobilized by entrepreneurs.