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Swiss Entrepreneurship Programme

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 organizations (incubators, accelerator programs, mentor- and business angel networks). Through our network of international entrepreneurs and accelerator managers, Swiss EP supports these 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, 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.

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 organizations
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.    Mobilize 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 organizations 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 organizations to engage in public-private dialogue.

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 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 organizations and with successful entrepreneurs, investors and startup professionals from abroad – for strong and viable entrepreneurial ecosystems.

 

Results

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

Project partner

J.E. Austin Associates, Inc.

Project website

https://swissep.org/ and https://swissep.org/entrepreneurs-in-residence

Project countries

  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • North Macedonia
  • Peru
  • Vietnam
  • Serbia
  • Kosovo

Project duration

2015 - 2023

Funding

  • SECO

Working area

Enterprise

Swisscontact
Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.org