We explain exactly how the Swiss start-up process works through the following six facts.
Founding new companies in Switzerland: six facts about the start-up process in Switzerland
Swiss people found companies quickly, usually set up limited liability companies and are looking for greater freedom. These insights have been revealed by our national study on the start-up market in Switzerland, produced in collaboration with the IFJ and LINK Institut. When looking at newly founded Swiss companies in 2020 and 2021, various aspects concerning the Swiss start-up process emerged.
Around half of new companies founded in less than six months
From initial concept to foundation in just six months? That’s quite commonplace in Switzerland. Around 50% of the new companies were founded within less than half a year in 2020 and 2021. That timeframe covered the entire process: from the initial concept, through the preparation phase to foundation. Of new company founders, 19% indicated they had implemented their idea in practice within three months, while the figure was actually 42% for general partnerships.
But don’t be put off by the speed of the Swiss foundation process if you’ve been working on your idea for some time. 25% of founders need up to two years to set up their company.
A quarter of Swiss company founders use an online foundation service
Setting up a company can initially seem like a daunting task. How extensive and complex the process behind it is depends mainly on the legal form. The administrative cost of founding a sole proprietorship is much less than for setting up a company. Whereas sole proprietorships are often founded directly with the commercial registry without receiving prior advice, around half of all people who set up limited companies receive legal or notarial support.
To prepare for the foundation process and the visit to the commercial registry, a quarter of all Swiss company founders today use an online foundation service, such as the one provided by the Institut für Jungunternehmen (The link will open in a new window ifj.ch). Online foundation services support you step-by-step during the process with legal and notarial advice.
There are no flat-rate costs for founding a company
There’s no single answer to the question of how much it costs to set up a company. Foundation costs vary greatly depending on the legal form, size of the company and business model. The fees also vary from canton to canton.
The least expensive option is independent foundation at the commercial registry is; this is only available to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, and you have to do it by yourself. The online foundation service, which provides support for new company founders on a location-independent basis, follows the foundation with the commercial registry.
Swiss people carry out research online
Our study shows a clear result in relation to information acquisition. Company founders tend to do this independently. Over 80% of new company founders obtain information themselves online about how to implement their innovative business ideas. They search for information about launching the company, the documents required, insurance policies and raising finance.
In terms of offline research, 54% of founders speak to family and friends, while 46% consider professional advice.
Choice of insurance policy most laborious task
There can be a very fine margin between being under and overinsured. So it’s little wonder that our study found choosing an insurance policy to be the most time-consuming and laborious part of founding a company.
Which insurance policy is best for companies? And which contract best meets the needs of company owners? Mandatory insurance policies vary depending on legal form and employment relationship. That’s why company founders should think carefully about the best option for their business model when it comes to voluntary insurance policies, such as daily allowance or building liability cover. A detailed overview of various insurance policies available depending on the legal form can be found on the Swiss Confederation’s SME portal The link will open in a new window kmu.admin.ch.
People launching new companies also found writing a business plan and the administrative foundation process most time-consuming, according to our study. Our advice: leave enough time to submit the required documents on time.
Fear of failure often unfounded
Founding a company always entails (personal) risk.
This means lots of new company founders must overcome the fear of failure. In our study around a quarter of them indicated that they were worried about receiving enough orders during the foundation process.
The study results reveal that such fears are unfounded in most cases. Around 70% of start-ups attain or even exceed their revenue goals during the first year of business.
Launching a company should not be taken lightly and entails a heavy administrative and legal workload. Legal and notarial advice and online foundation services provide invaluable support with start-up issues. Together with the IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen, PostFinance also supports company founders throughout the entire start-up process by providing attractive online services, invaluable expertise and useful tools. This takes people launching companies a few steps closer to their goal of independence and the dream of greater freedom in their everyday lives.