Switzerland’s new centre

Cascaded by mountains, with a great standard of living and moderate taxes, the Grisons canton could be the ideal location for your business to prosper and grow


Amidst its high quality of life and low, liberal rates of taxation, Grisons is becoming increasingly attractive to export-oriented businesses around the world.

From the many cantonal districts of Switzerland, Grisons is also the main tourist destination in the country. With dramatic and oft impassable mountains, and deep, distinctive valleys, the canton attracts more than three million visitors each year, enhancing its economic reputation even further. These include world-famous destinations such as St. Moritz, Klosters-Davos and Flims/Laax. Companies and tourists appreciate the many local advantages that the canton has to offer.

A record of success
Grisons as an economic location is deeply attractive to export-driven industrial companies, with a string of internationally regarded corporations including EMS Chemie, Hamilton, Würth, Hoppe, Trumpf and Baxter already based in the region.

The canton’s economic and organisational credentials are endorsed further by the presence of the internationally renowned annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

The forum, which was founded in 1974, invites leading business executives from across the world to discuss issues surrounding economic growth, sustainability and social development. The WEF in Davos is an essential platform for Swiss foreign policy and one of the most important economic and socio-political events in the world.

Of the country’s 26 cantons, Grisons has the fifth-lowest rate of individual taxation and a rate of corporate tax far lower than in other countries. The law also enables Grisons to grant companies 100 percent cantonal tax relief for up to ten years, as well as a possible grant relief on federal taxes in specific areas.

Grisons provides a thriving environment for a mixture of businesses from all kinds of industries who are export oriented, want to create well-qualified jobs, have high added value and a low environmental impact. The companies can take note from the cluster of successful industries that have set up shop in the canton over the past few years. These include:  life sciences, chemicals and plastics through to ICT, tool construction, electronics and international trade.

Business incentives
In addition to a supply-side tax policy, the canton offers other important incentives to new businesses. An economic development law, for example, provides financial support in the form of loans, repayable over a maximum of ten years at a 2012 interest rate of 1.25 percent, or à fonds perdu (non-repayable) contributions. For start-up and spin-off companies, Grisons can also offer coaching services, guidance for those seeking appropriate financing, supply of the right infrastructure and a firm foundation for innovation, research and development. For instance, there is already the CSEM research centre for nanomedicine, which will provide great opportunities for scientists young and old. And there is also the AO Foundation, which is known worldwide as an increasingly important institute at the forefront of surgical developments.

Moving an entire company across borders is not a simple matter, so having proper help and guidance can make a big difference. The dedicated service team and congenial legal
system make the transition when new businesses move to the region a smooth one.

Educational environment
When it comes to education, a well-developed learning environment is fundamental to provide the highly qualified, technically sophisticated workforce that a company needs. In 2009 the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook report, Switzerland was ranked third overall for its educational infrastructure, with Grisons playing an important part in this achievement. The University of Applied Sciences (HTW Chur), and nearby institutions in Buchs, Rapperswil, Vaduz and St Gallen all provide a steady stream of expert labour for the benefit of the local industry, as well as the wider public benefit. The canton’s aim is to supply, through education, whatever is needed for the local industry and to improve the knowledge transfer from science to industry.

Expanding opportunities
Over the next five years, Grisons will be seeking to expand its public infrastructure and build the best possible environment for new businesses. This means developing new industrial locations, improving the technical competence and diversity of the education system, and promoting better transport links to the various districts. It also means promoting the quality of life that business people and their families can enjoy in this large canton. The region provides good private and international schools for children and teenagers. It also boasts up to 25 percent lower real estate costs compared with other metropolitan areas in the country.

With a high quality of life, a naturally beautiful landscape, great sports and shopping facilities, Grisons has a great pace of life. These are strong advantages that not every place can offer. As global competition for industrial locations rises, the canton’s ability to supply these kinds of conditions is absolutely fundamental. With its existing infrastructure, future plans and business-friendly mentality, the canton is keen to become a key destination for multinationals of all kinds.

Top ten reasons to move to Grisons
• It is ranked in the top three in uniqueness, family friendliness, urbanity, quality of life and Swissness (campaignfit 2012);
• The tax rates are moderate, between 8.4 to 16.8 percent;
• Local employees are highly qualified, well-educated and loyal;
• Both wages and real estate costs are 25 percent lower than in the Swiss metropolitan areas;
• It is a central European location;
• It is in close proximity to the international airports in Zurich, Altenrhein, Lugano, Agno  and Milan;
• Excellent education system with various private and international schools in Tamins,  Buchs and Triesenberg;
• Renowned universities in the vicinity;
• Top research institutes;
• A company-friendly, unbureaucratic government.

For further information visit www.awt.gr.ch