GEW Switzerland 2021: More Courage for Entrepreneurship

MEDIA RELEASE: From November 8 to 14, the eleventh “Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Switzerland” will feature around 70 events, workshops and other activities for (young) entrepreneurs, mainly physicallly. Once again the national event will be hosted and marketed by together with the University of Lausanne (UNIL) as a partner. Over 20 startup organizations are participating in GEW 2021.

Despite the pandemic, around 46,800 companies were founded in Switzerland in 2020 – almost 5 percent more than in the previous year. According to the “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor” 2020/21, the rate of young entrepreneurs in Switzerland also remained stable from 2019 to 2020, whereas the rate of “established business ownership (EBO)” in Switzerland declined significantly.

This is where the Global Entrepreneurship Week comes in. Every November, the global initiative takes place for one week with the aim of motivating more entrepreneurship and networking (see box or link). Initiated and actively supported by in Switzerland since 2012, the campaign aims to “raise public awareness of the importance of entrepreneurs and startups for our economy and society,” explains René Hausammann, President of the Association of Swiss Technology Parks and Business Incubators: “We want to encourage and strengthen company owners and founders, especially in these challenging times.”

2020 with over 80 online events

Last year, the organizers “made a virtue out of necessity” and held over 80 events online in 14 cities and 10 cantons. Being more easily accessible regardless of location, this resulted in a record of about 9000 virtual visitors. The two universities alone, such as the HUB Entrepreneuriat et Innovation (UNIL) in Lausanne and the UNIGE in Geneva, had around 1000 and 4000 participants respectively (see  report).

Although still slightly curbed by the COVID 19 regulations, in 2021 the about 70 Events will again increasingly take place physically. In addition to long-standing organizers such as Fongit and Geneus, EPFL and Innovaud, Business Angels Switzerland, Business Parc Reinach and Technopark Winterthur, the 20 or so GEW organizers this year also include “newcomers”. These include the ” Fondazione Agire ” with the “Sintetica Innovation Award” (Ticino) or the co-working space provider “Gotham” with free coaching sessions in Martigny (Canton Vaud).

Financing models for parks

How can the real estate infrastructure and the operation of a park or incubator be financed? organizes the first joint event with its German sister organization – the Bundesverband Deutscher Innovations-, Technologie- und Gründerzentren e.V. (BVIZ) – and presents examples and show-cases on this.