Osec: Taking care of business

Anyone who visits Switzerland immediately realises that the country has much more to offer than cheese, chocolate, watches and beautiful mountains, writes Daniel Küng, CEO, Osec

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Switzerland is a highly innovative and competitive place for business whose numerous advantages attract many foreign companies and is a country with attractive locational advantages of many kinds. This is particularly clear in the areas of research and innovation, labour conditions, infrastructure, its central location in Europe, economic policy environment and quality of life. That Switzerland is one of the most attractive places of business in the world is attested by numerous rankings that measure competitiveness, innovation, or national stability.

Switzerland has a tradition of industry and trade diversification. All our industries have a combination of innovative power and impressive competitive ability. Compared to the leading European business locations, Switzerland shows the greatest growth in innovation. Switzerland owes this growth to its strength in international patent registration and the creation of new knowledge, as shown by the number of protected patents, trademarks and designs.

A meeting of minds
High employment rates in skill-intensive industries like life sciences, biotech, and medical technology contribute to our innovative power, as do exports of high-tech products, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Swiss companies have a high level of productivity and employ well-qualified, skilled personnel. Both businesses and universities in Switzerland attract the best minds from within the country and from abroad. The vocational training system also offers skilled workers the latest knowledge and practical experience.

Switzerland’s attractiveness as a business location is also the result of a targeted economic policy. In close cooperation with industry, science, research, and the cantons, Switzerland creates the framework conditions for a strong economic environment on a federal level. Industry thrives on how quickly inventions and patents become market-ready innovations. Switzerland has caught up enormously in this area and has been strategically supporting clusters for years.

Support for overseas investment

This includes supporting networks of producers, suppliers, research institutions (e.g. universities), service providers (e.g. engineering firms), and affiliated institutions (e.g. chambers of commerce). A “cluster” in this sense means a critical mass of companies in spatial proximity to each other whose activities complement each other along one or more value-added chains or are related to each other. All in all, Switzerland is one of the most competitive business locations in Europe, where entrepreneurial initiative and establishment from abroad are honoured.

In close cooperation with industry and the cantons, Switzerland fosters optimal conditions for a strong economic environment. For example, foreign trade promotion organisation Osec coordinates together with the cantons activity on behalf of the government to drive overseas investment and supports companies under the Swiss trade and investment promotion programme. Osec is the contact between foreign and the cantonal authorities. Together with its partners, it provides companies with non-bureaucratic and efficient help in choosing a location and setting up.

The competence centre for Swiss foreign trade promotion
Osec informs, advises and supports firms in their international business ventures. To this end, it networks companies, specialists and private and public organisations all over the world. As well as advancing exports, Osec also promotes Switzerland as a location and undertakes import promotion activities for the benefit of selected developing and transitional countries. Furthermore, Osec maintains a global network of 18 Swiss business hubs abroad and specialists with various competencies in the fields of exports and internationalisation.

For more information about Osec please visit www.osec.ch or call +41 44 365 51 51.