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Two-thirds of new entries in the Swiss commercial register are startups

PostFinance carried out a study on new entries in the Swiss commercial register between December 2020 and January 2021. Research was conducted for the first time – in collaboration with the IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen and the LINK Institut – into the actual number of startups being founded in Switzerland.

67 % of the new entries in the Swiss commercial register are genuine startups. This is revealed in a study carried out by PostFinance, IFJ and the LINK Institut. Measured in terms of newly registered companies in 2020, around 31,000 new companies were founded in Switzerland last year. The top four sectors for startups are consulting, consumer goods & retail, architecture & construction and Internet & information technology.

The profile of company founders: solo and still employed

Most company founders set up their firms on their own (69 %) and continue to work for another company during the incorporation process. The greatest challenges they face are drawing up a business plan, selecting insurance policies and the administrative incorporation process. The vast majority (91 %) use their own resources for financing. Most sole proprietorships have starting capital of up to 5,000 francs. Limited liability companies (GmbHs) and private limited companies (AGs) have higher starting capital due to legal requirements. Around half of the companies surveyed begin the incorporation process within six months of having the initial business idea, whereas the actual foundation takes less than two months for the majority. A limited liability company is founded in 41 % of cases, whereas a sole proprietorship (35 %) is the second most popular form. The entrepreneurs find information online, share ideas in their own environment, obtain professional support – such as from trust companies – or seek comprehensive expert advice from consultancies, such as the IFJ.

The coronavirus pandemic also had an impact on startups: 7 % of startups indicated that they benefited from the situation, but it is currently having a negative impact on a third. The number of startup packages taken out at PostFinance between 2019 and 2020 increased by 100 % compared to the previous year. Compared to 2019, there was a significant increase in startups in marketing and communications, hairdressing and cosmetics, and retail.