Scientific Approach


Switzerland is one of the world’s innovation leaders: recently Switzerland was ranked #1 in the WEF World Competitiveness Index 2010-2011, the Global Innovation Index 2011, and the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2010. Innovation was and will be one of the key growth factors and sustainable competitive advantages of the Swiss economy.

Recent success stories and qualitative reports indicate that the start-up scene plays an important role in this development and is growing rapidly The Swiss Start-up Monitor is the only scientific research project and authoritative source that provides a long-term start-up performance database to better understand the development of the growing domestic start-up scene.

The goal is to raise the awareness of the general public about the activity in start-up creation and growth, to identify key success factors of Swiss start-ups, and to provide information about the impact of public and private start-up promotion initiatives in Switzerland.

Research Directions

The Swiss Start-up Monitor targets analyses on both individual and organizational level. Additionally, a deeper look at existing or developing start-up ecosystems will be taken. The following indicators are of interest and will be explored – each in relation to the new venture’s performance and survival.


Individual Level:

  • Founders’ background and motivation
  • Founders’ characteristics and leadership capabilities
  • Founding team structures and roles


Organizational Level:

  • Legal forms, shares, and investments
  • Financial development and employment (longitudinal)
  • Effects of start-up labels (CTI, ETH, etc.)
  • Degrees of formalization, centralization, hierarchies, and openness
  • Network knowledge acquisition and exploitation



  • Start-up hot spots in Switzerland (Cities, Cantons, Sectors)
  • Success factors of promotion activities and single agencies
  • Derivation of investment strategies, award distribution strategies, promotion optimization (identification of promotion gaps and traps)
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Research scope

The Swiss Start-up Monitor bases its research on the data of a national representative sample. Data is derived from the Swiss Start-up Monitor and our network partners’ databases that will cover over 90% of the start-up companies. Companies contained in the sample are cross-industry, founded after 2004, founded in Switzerland, and meet the following definition at time of database entry:

A start-up is a young company that was founded to pursue an innovative and/or technology-driven business idea.


The Swiss Start-up Monitor captures the data from the sample through a panel-based self-reporting approach. Each start-up is maintaining its own base profile (e.g., founding year, team size, or education) and contributes a yearly set of company related data (e.g., financial structure, sales, or employees).

At all time, the confidentiality of the data is maintained. Data is only published anonymously and on aggregated level without reference to an individual company’s name. Each data point comprises over 50 variables that were derived from literature and previous studies.

Consistent variable definitions are ensured to be able to compare the results with other monitoring projects such as Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Kauffmann Firm Survey, or ZEW/KfW Gründungspanel.

Expected outcomes

The Swiss Start-up Monitor will be the first solid database providing new insights into the financing, performance and development of entrepreneurs and their start-ups in Switzerland.

Yearly reports and scientific publications in leading international journals will spread out the information from the database among a broad public and thereby enhances the education of the public about the Swiss entrepreneurship scene. Moreover further surveys become unnecessary.

Usage of outcomes

The outcomes of the Swiss Start-up Monitor can be used to measure the effectiveness of the existing start-up support programs in Switzerland and to discover stumbling blocks for Swiss start-ups.

Besides informing the general public, the monitor project’s research results will help to strengthen existing and to develop new start-up support tools.