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Financing your project

Financing your project | Venture capital | Business Angels | Initial financing of innovative companies | Commission for Technology and Information (CTI) | European Research Fund: Horizon 2020 | Microcredit | Banks | Guarantees for bank loans | Service of the Economy – your business partner | Office space, workshops, laboratories and clean rooms for start-ups | Coaching for new entrepreneurs | Training and entrepreneurship courses | Knowledge transfer 


Financing your project


Finding appropriate or adequate financing for a project is a sensitive issue for businesses. Just some of the issues that may arise are outlined below:


Venture capital


Venture capital (‘VC’) companies offer capital to businesses with activities representing particularly high-growth potential and rapid gains - often technology start-ups or niche sectors with high added value. The amount invested is often sizeable and this can pose an undeniable risk. Generally, VC organizations withdraw quickly from the new company by selling their shares to other investors. Venture capital firms in Switzerland are listed under the umbrella organization, SECA (Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association).



Business Angels


These are private investors, who just like the venture capital organizations, support innovative enterprises or companies with high growth potential. Their expectations in terms of return on investment are identical although the funds invested are generally lower. Often themselves entrepreneurs, business angels are also willing to share their experience with dynamic fledgling businesses. They are usually involved during the very early stages of a business set-up, acting as advisors and mentors.



Initial financing of innovative companies


Finergence is a foundation that provides financial support, usually in the form of a loan, to enable the launch of new companies with innovative projects in the domain of science or technology. This type of financing is seen as upstream from other financial institutions such as banks or venture capitalists.



Commission for Technology and Information (CTI)


The confederation's innovation promotion agency, known as CTI, supports R&D projects that are at the frontier of higher education and industry. Its aim is to enable the industrialization of products arising from research conducted with ‘Grandes Ecoles’ (specialized institutes for higher learning) and non-profit institutions. Priority is given to biotechnology and life sciences, nanotechnology and microsystems engineering, as well as information technology and communication. A CTI project involves direct collaboration between a company and a research team. In general, the CTI finances researchers' salaries, whilst the trading partner supports at least 50% of project costs. In 2009, the annual budget of the CTI was 123 million CHF.



European Research Fund: Horizon 2020


The European Union’s Framework Programme for Research "Horizon 2020" supports research and technological development in Europe that addresses the major societal challenges of tomorrow. Close collaboration between R&D institutes, universities and industries are established at an international level, promoting technology transfer and job creation.


Regarding the participation of Switzerland to the Horizon 2020 programme, you may find information on the following websites





The Swiss Solidarity Microcredit Foundation is a state-approved non-profit organization that helps people who seek economic independence and without access to bank loans to start their own business. Microcredits of up to 30,000 CHF are awarded to selected projects at preferential rates and with special repayment terms.





In Switzerland, banks play a central role in corporate finance. They conduct a thorough review of any application before granting a loan. Risk analysis plays a key role in their decision-making process, as banks normally require higher security guarantees than a venture capital company. Note that Neuchatel Cantonal Bank (BCN) annually awards the BCN Prize for Innovation for the sum of 500,000 CHF to one or more projects to help facilitate implementation of a product or idea.


Guarantees for bank loans


Putting together a successful bank-financing project can sometimes be helped along by a guarantor. The cooperative company, Cautionnement Romand (a deposits company operating in Western Switzerland) helps self-employed people and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) achieve credit by endorsing their bank loan (maximum back-bonded CHF 500,000).



Service of the Economy – your business partner


The Service of the Economy helps companies in providing advice and / or in introducing them to those institutions most able to provide funding. Neuchâtel also supports company creation and development projects by offering some financial aids. Each application is subject to a personalized analysis. Financial aids are mainly aimed for companies creating and / or active in strategic fields such as watchmaking, medical devices, electronics and microelectronics, machinery, renewable energy, jewellery and luxury goods, and food processing and is most frequently granted to:

• Support for investment of industrialization
• => Machines and production equipment
• Support for research and development
• => Internal or external specialists, service delivery, outsourcing
• => Infrastructure, prototyping materials
• => CTI programme, proposals for EU projects
• Protection of intellectual Property
• => Patents, certification
• Marketing and sales
• => Market research, business plans
• => Attending an exhibition, convention or trade fair
• Technical training
• => Conversion or reinstatement of existing staff
• Transition Planning
• => Pre-acquisition audit, due diligence

Even If they do not provide financing, other institutions can play a role in helping businesses getting started:


Office space, workshops, laboratories and clean rooms for start-ups


A true business incubator, the Neode Science and Technology Park provides start-ups and those with innovative projects with the infrastructure needed to develop their projects. Neode also has its own network of venture capitalists, and awards a prize of 50,000 Swiss francs in the field of life sciences.



Coaching for new entrepreneurs


Genilem and Platinn are two organisations that support the creation of innovative companies by providing professional support in most business areas. Conditions apply.



Training and entrepreneurship courses


Funded by the Swiss Confederation, Venturelab offers tailor-made training courses for individuals who plan to set up a business in the domain of high tech. Priority is given to start-ups operating in sectors such as fast-growing information technology, life sciences, bio-and nanotechnology.



Knowledge transfer


Alliance is a knowledge and technology transfer consortium that brings together 6000 researchers in universities and university hospitals with partners in Western Switzerland and Ticino. The organization seeks to support a dynamic collaboration between the domains of research and industry, and to facilitate development through technology transfer.



Other useful links


Swiss Confederation Website