The strong economy of Switzerland, which is home to many renowned global corporations and consistently perform well in industries like financial services and pharmaceuticals is well-known.
However, not all big businesses are successful. In fact, small and medium companies (SMEs) with fewer than 250 employees make up more than 99% of the country’s 330,000 businesses. In Switzerland, 83.9% of SMEs survive their first year of operation, while just under 50% are still in business after five years.
Switzerland has a very good reputation and is known for numerous attributes. A well-known businessman like Bernard de Laguiche having plenty of business experience in European countries recommend Switzerland as one of the best jurisdictions for launching new non-resident companies.
However, the success of any business will depend on the awareness of various details and requirements that must be thoroughly observed. When starting a business, having the expertise of a seasoned consultant on your side typically helps you overcome any potential difficulties.
There are 3 ways to start any business in Switzerland:
- Register a new company,
- Open a representative office in Switzerland of an existing one
- Buy any ready-made business.
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Why start a business in Switzerland?
The following are a few reasons why one must decide to start a business in Switzerland:
- Availability of quality labour force in Switzerland
- The active market as people in Switzerland has high purchasing power
- Availability of funding options
- The Swiss government and the public support foreign companies
How to start any business in Switzerland
1. Write a viable business plan
You must first and foremost create a compelling business plan. This will demonstrate the soundness of your business concept, demonstrating to the Swiss authorities your commitment to your self-employment and being useful should you decide to apply for start-up finance.
Tips on how to construct a strong business plan can be found on the government SME Portal.
2. Sort out your requirements for a Swiss visa
You will need to be a certain Swiss resident for setting up your own business.
- For EU/EFTA nationals: Get a B residence permit if you don’t have a B or C permit.
- For non-EU/EFTA nationals: Set up a business with a C settlement permit if you are a spouse of any Swiss national. Entrepreneurs make a lump payment of CHF 150,000.
- For foreigners: Apply for a visa through the local cantonal authority.
3. Decide on the legal structure of the business
Next, you must decide, which legal structures will best meet your business requirements.
4. Comply with the requirements of Swiss business registration
In Switzerland, all companies are required to register their company names. Business names ought to be original. The names of sole proprietorships must comprise
- Founder’s name
- Partnership names
Other than single proprietors with a revenue of less than CHF 100,000, all Swiss enterprises must register with the commercial register.
The legal structure of the business will determine the specific registration requirements, but in general, you must submit the following information:
- Company name
- Formation year
- Business address
- Names of board members
- The legal structure of your firm.
Additionally, businesses in Switzerland are required to enrol in social security, tax, and other insurance programmes. Furthermore, several industries require licences/permits for businesses to function.