A support cluster for helping companies to take off
Indispensable partners of the impressive infrastructures of Western Switzerland’s technology parks, «facilitators» provide various kinds of support and advice to innovative companies.
Initiated by the cantons of Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchatel, Valais and Vaud, the platform for business innovation, PLATINN, has, since 1991, been helping start-ups and SMCs face up to the complex challenges of innovation, organization planning, running businesses, cooperation, law, access to co-financing programmes…
In addition, the Groupement suisse de l’industrie mécanique, GIM-CH, the leading employer’s association in Western Switzerland for the precision technology industry, primarily offers help to its affiliated members in the fields of continuous education and marketing.
Several facilitators have established themselves around the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne or its science park, the PSE. For example, Alliance, a consortium specialized in the transfer of know-how and technology based in Western Switzerland and the Ticino, helps innovative companies in all sectors to establish contacts with academic institutions, find partners in Switzerland or Europe and organise financing.
Collaboration with one of Western Switzerland’s academic institutions is an essential condition for the financial and logistical support of the Fondation pour l’Innovation Technologique (FIT). The FIT gets involved at an early stage in projects with a promising technological content in order to develop innovative companies involved in IT, media and telecommunications, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, the environment, micro- and nanotechnologies and medical instrumentation. Similarly, Polytech Ventures, initiated by several partners, accompanies the first stage of projects instigated by young companies in Western Switzerland.
The Office for the Promotion of Industries and Technologies (OPI) provides advice to companies in the region around the Lake of Geneva, supports their commercial activities, particularly in emerging country markets, and aids the promotion of their products and know-how in Switzerland and abroad.
In Neuchatel, FINERGENCE, a foundation for the initial financing of pioneering companies (founded in 2003 at the same time as the Neode Science and Technology park), supports innovative projects by providing pre-finance prior to the intervention of other financial partners.
Neuchatel also houses the Swiss Foundation for Research in Microtechnology (FSRM), highly active in continuous education and also proposing a secretariat for professional associations or technical projects, the organization of partnerships or management of cooperative projects and the management of expertise in micro- and nanotechnologies.
Finally, JADE, the European network, originated by students, has 500 Swiss affiliates in institutes of technology and major universities. Active in promoting the circulation of knowledge and the growth of pioneering companies, JADE notably mobilizes its affiliates to undertake surveys or to help in the management of small- and medium-sized companies.