Manifesto for Swiss start-ups

Le Réseau, Digitalswitzerland, the Swiss Entrepreneurs Foundation (SwissEF), the Swiss Economic Forum and Netcomm Suisse recommend ten actions for Swiss start-ups. Ten actions to encourage investment, simplify participation plans, work permits or fundraising, and strengthen the Swiss start-up ecosystem. Ten actions we will submit to the Federal Council this spring. Sign the manifesto here and pass it around!

1. Establish a start-up status in our economic policy

The Swiss government should submit a draft definition of a « start-up », in order to ensure that these science-based companies, which are central to our innovative strength, benefit from a competitive framework in comparison to international conditions.

2. Tax exemption for private investments in start-ups

A limited amount invested in a start-up should be deductible from the taxable income and/or wealth. This amount would be taxed only when the investment is recovered.

3. Allow unlimited tax carry-forward of losses

Start-ups can deduct from their net income any losses incurred during the seven financial years preceding a tax period. This period is too short for science-based companies, which sometimes require more than 10 years of loss-making development before achieving a profitable year.

4. Promote and simplify employee participation plans

Parliament has charged the Federal Council to develop an attractive and internationally competitive formula for the tax treatment of start-ups and shareholdings held by their employees. This must be implemented quickly.

5. Implement a « Start-up visa » for talents, entrepreneurs and investors

Ease the immigration of talent, investors and entrepreneurs, with an attractive work permit that can be easily communicated abroad as part of our migration policy.

6. Stimulate the creation of a fund of venture capital funds

The Federal Council must stimulate (through incentives, tax arrangements or other measures) the creation of a fund of venture capital funds. It can also consider how to encourage pension funds to invest in this fund.

7. Implement an international promotion strategy for start-ups

Reform existing structures (Presence Suisse, SGE, and cantons) in order to provide Switzerland with a simple, effective and free international promotion strategy for start-ups, in terms of visibility abroad, in the media or at major international exhibitions.

8. Improve access to public procurement (Small business Act)

Integrate start-ups into calls for tenders from public authorities and large companies, similar to the American Small Business Act.

9. Consult start-ups in the drafting of laws that will impact them

The administration (federal or cantonal) should consult start-ups when introducing reforms that will affect them, such as the Swiss digital strategy, or economic and tax reforms.

10. Set up a Swiss Darpa

The Swiss army should set up a research funding agency, investing in long-term strategic projects capable of generating breakthrough innovations, such as Darpa in the United States.

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