Switzerland is rightly seen as an oasis of peace. Its army has not seen combat for 170 years. Politically, the Swiss model is based on consensus that respects diverging opinions. Seven federal councilors from the main political parties of the country share executive power. They each take a turn at the presidency of the country, guaranteeing a productive continuity.
Switzerland’s small size and its highly decentralized political system mean that it is easy to know the Council of State (the Government and ministers on a cantonal level), which is readily available and attentive to entrepreneurs’ needs.
Security and Trust
Days lost to strikes by European comparison
(per year, per 1,000 employees, 2010–2019)
The Swiss government implements various measures to create a predictable environment for businesses, most notably an extensive protection system for intellectual property on a national and an international level. The authorities also collaborate with the private sector, for instance in creating digital safes designed to host companies’ sensitive data by converting former army bunkers into "data farms".
Although not a member of the European Union, Switzerland has signed many agreements ensuring easy access to the European Common Market. The currency – the Swiss franc (CHF) – is a synonym for stability and has acquired safe-haven status. The labor market is known for its lack of volatility. Conflicts between unions and owners are generally settled around the negotiating table, while strikes are rare.
Setting up a business in the region is quick and easy for companies and individuals alike. Registration with the companies register and legalities concerning signatories are handled by notaries. It is the mission of the offices for economic affairs of the various cantons to help new companies become part of their ecosystem.
Foreign entrepreneurs are encouraged to and can benefit from various forms of assistance, subject to certain conditions. In 2019, foreign entrepreneurs were credited for half of all startups in Switzerland.
In the canton of Vaud, this role is carried out by Innovaud, a state-funded organization which provides support free of charge to companies throughout the various steps as they look to establish themselves.