July 2020 has brought great news on the Swiss startup landscape – the SSA is prepared to take action and put into practice all the exciting projects and ideas that until now only existed on a conceptual basis! A new team has been put together, supported by prestigious figures of the startup scene and guided by experienced leaders.
What is the SSA’s history?
At first, in 2016, the tax administration of the canton of Zurich almost overnight decided that founding shares should be taxed with the value of the last financing round. For some founders, this led to a tax bill that was even higher than their annual salary. This was one of the main drivers for the founding of the SSA back then. The aim was to represent the interests of swiss start-ups in a more efficient and uniform manner. In this particular case, the initiative was successful! The government abandoned its rigid stance and returned to the previous tax practice.
After that great achievement, the activities of the association were reduced. But today, its presence is needed more than ever before! During the past few years, Switzerland has set enormous records for investments in startups. By the end of 2019, there have been a record number of 44.612 newly founded companies, and despite the worldwide pandemic, the amount is still high with 4.445 registered companies in June 2020.
What does it promise?
The Swiss Startup Association (SSA) aims to be the voice of all members present in the startup ecosystem and empower further initiatives, start-ups from all industries, regions and organizations in a uniform manner. The categories that the SSA aims to oversee are:incubators, investors, educational institutions, startups and other organizations and associations willing to support innovative ideas.
Furthermore, 90% of startups fail in the early stages. One of the main reasons why this happens is due to badly managed resources, lack of knowledge or experience of the founders or not enough network to build up on. The SSA wants to be an advisor for startups, supporting them with the experience gathered by competent entrepreneurs and leaders. Putting together best practices on the Swiss market but also abroad, the association wants to provide the startups with filtered best-in-class information to help them avoid struggles on the way.
Who will make all this possible?
Founder of the association in 2015, Urs Haeusler is now part of the Advisory Board of the SSA. After an extended successful career in strategic and operational management, he is now the Managing Director of valantic, heavily involved in the startup scene on a side. Some of his major projects are being part of the board of DigitalSwitzerland and member of Enrepreneurs’ Organization.
The idea was re-developed by Raphael Tobler, President of the Entrepreneur Club Winterthur. He owns a large experience in building new organisations and companies, has a high motivation for working with startups and has a clear vision in his mind. «We promote innovative entrepreneurship, bring the startup mentality into society and represent the interests of startups in relation to the legal, administrative and public environments. As a nationwide network, we connect all startups, founders and their friends with one another.»
Initiative taker, very experienced in the startup scene, former Managing Director of START Global, Simon Furer is dedicating also voluntarily his time and interest into developing further the association and empower other founders. Owning a ‘hands-on’ approach, he is ready to support and build further the concept.
Their cause was joined also by Gregory Inauen. Academically prepared as an electrical engineer, he has taken an entrepreneurial approach to his career with his presidency for the ETH Entrepreneur Club Zürich. Right now, alongside working on a few startups, he is the Vice President of the Board of EuroTube Foundation.
The Execution Team has been chosen and strategized by the Board and led by Noah Schiller. Right now, in the beginning it has 12 members with the aim of growing further. These people have the mission of bringing the ideas to life, implementing projects and supporting the operational side. It comprises specialists in different topics as project management, marketing, investments and even tech.
The Execution Support department is providing the execution team with their rich knowledge, gained through a wide expertise in their specialised fields. Also on a voluntary basis, they are there to help the organization on specific topics related to their interests.
The Advisory Board
The SSA is honoured to be backed up by names like Cornelia Gut Villa, Adrian Locher or Gerhard Andrey that are representing some of the most known figures on the Swiss startup scene. Their experience, network and initiatives will enhance the power of the association and its members would benefit from their great expertise.
Together with the supporters and advisors of the team, the association is also aiming to tackle softer topics besides funding strategies, investor fact sheets or help throughout the series process. The SSA aims to empower people, since they stay at the core of any ecosystem.
One of the major subjects would be to generate and promote synergies within the startup community in Switzerland. Therefore, the plan is to increase the number of Business Angels in the country by sharing insights, promoting and informing future investors. With enough knowledge, they can make educated decisions and create further opportunities for early stage companies but also investors at the same time.
Another subject that has drawn attention lately on the Swiss landscape, but also abroad is female empowerment. The SSA wants to be a common stage for ambitious female leaders that have strong ideas, willing to catch contour. There is the aim to spark interest for MINT-subjects in girls and women, as well as facilitating the compatibility of career and family.
Further, anyone can be an entrepreneur and it is never too early to start bringing your ideas to the market and find the right concept! Considering this, the association wants to bring the knowledge and network to high schools and universities, by promoting entrepreneurial education. By integrating concepts such as founding weeks or semesters into the education of students, we want to raise awareness of and interest in entrepreneurship in young people. Related to that, we also seek to support Spin-Offs in order to ensure a startup-friendly ecosystem.
The journey has just started for the SSA! The amount of enthusiastic projects and initiatives is high, the team, supporters and advisors are aligned to create a loud voice for the Swiss startups.
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