Made in Switzerland – Navigating the Swiss Market

Made in Switzerland carries with it a reputation of high quality and an unrivalled level of service. Not only a geographical hub in the centre of Europe, Switzerland is a dense commercial stomping-ground that attracts businesses and industries from around the world. Switzerland has the fifth highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the world with the Swiss GDP per capita standing at CHF 74,010 (approx. EUR 61,300 or USD 81,000).

With the right tools and understanding, Switzerland presents a commercial opportunity for families, start-ups and established companies alike.

It is important to consider Switzerland as a dense and highly service orientated market. Switzerland is geographically a small country. Still, it attracts businesses and investors from all corners of the globe.

Simply put, Switzerland is built on trust and quality of service. This has to be kept in mind when seeking service partners or future clients. Working with EPEK will enable you find a service tailored to your needs or bring you the growth your company is looking for.

At EPEK, we understand the Swiss business landscape, and what it will take to become successful in these arenas. This article will provide an overview of the industries that call Switzerland home and how they can provide an opportunity for you as an EPEK client.

EPEK - Switzerland

EPEK – Switzerland

Life Sciences

Be it pharmaceuticals, biotechnology or medical devices – 1729 life sciences companies have made Switzerland their home. From multinationals such as Roche and Novartis, to local CMOs such as Lonza and CordenPharma – Switzerland is the home of sciences in Europe. Swiss researchers produce roughly 1.2% of all scientific papers published worldwide, putting it in 17th place in international rankings. Relatively speaking, Switzerland comes top in class, with an average of 3.6 publications per 1,000 inhabitants. These papers are also internationally acclaimed: with regards to impact, only the United States outperforms Switzerland (above the global average of 17%). Every year Switzerland spends close to 3% of its GDP, more than CHF 16 billion (around CHF 13 billion or USD 18 billion), on R&D. Over 75% of this funding comes from the private sector.

Biotechnology is widely spread across the Basel, Zurich and Zug areas – with companies ranging in size and focus. Shire, Takeda, Biogen, J&J, Actelion and Arena Pharmaceuticals just to name a few. Life Sciences Professionals make their way to Switzerland, chiefly from Central and Eastern Europe, to give Switzerland a highly experienced, competitive and educated workforce. EU members find the process of securing a work permit relatively straightforward, with companies having experience in bringing professionals on-board quickly.

Furthermore, EPEK can provide access to academic and industry forums, allowing you to launch your product and company as quickly and effectively as possible. The Swiss Life Sciences Database for instance, serves as an ideal starting place. Partnering with EPEK will allow you to gain a foothold in this client-rich and accessible industry.


SMEs & Industrial Manufacturing

Building on the essence of Swiss quality and “Made in Switzerland”, precision manufacturing makes a substantial part of the Swiss economy. Despite external cost pressures, a long standing history and legacy of providing a skilled work force to build quality products has enabled Switzerland to remain competitive and stable. From Swiss Aircraft manufacturer such as Pilatus, to large multinationals such as Siemens, ABB, RUAG, OC Oerlikon and Bombardier – manufacturing in Switzerland is as reliable as the Swiss railway.

Centrally located, logistics and network connections to and from Switzerland are excellent. The recent completion and opening of the Gotthard Tunnel, makes it the world’s longest railway tunnel.

The SME (small and medium sized enterprises) is the main driver behind the Swiss economy, in particular the manufacturing sector. Organisations with fewer than 250 employees make up more than 99% of all registered companies in Switzerland, and account for two-thirds all jobs. In addition to a thriving SME sector, Switzerland is home to 15 of the 500 corporations with the highest stock market value globally.


Professional Services

As you would expect from any global business hub, all of the mayor service providers are located in Switzerland. About 72% of Swiss GDP is generated from the service sector.

Whatever your need, professional services range from the known Accounting and Consulting firms (Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, Accenture etc) to smaller tailored boutique firms. As you expect, EPEK has a strong local network, that will support your every need.


Banking and Financial Services

Switzerland is well known for being a leader in the banking industry, and it is particularly known for its sophisticated and discreet banking services.  No wonder, Switzerland is positioned in first place in terms of the global cross-border assets under management. Currently an estimated one-third of all worldwide assets held outside their country of origin (offshore wealth) are kept in Switzerland.

Some of the leading banks and financial service providers around the globe have their roots in Switzerland. From the heavyweights of Credit Suisse and UBS, to the traditional and well-reputed private banks like Pictet & Cie and Lombard Odier. Combined, the 262 banks in Switzerland, currently hold an estimated CHF 6.9 trillion of Assets under Management. The financial sector in Switzerland is an essential driver for the efficient and effective operation of the Swiss economy, which in turn has been, globally, the most resistant economy to any adverse global shock or crisis.

Banking Services are generally divided between Zurich and Geneva. Zurich has a more commercial and investment banking focus, whilst Geneva is home to private banking and wealth management. Through our close ties to some of the leading banks in Switzerland, EPEK will gladly provide you with an introduction to these institutions and their services.



Switzerland is benefiting from the evolution of the technology and IT sector. Switzerland, and specifically Zurich is home to the mayor players of the technology sector, including Google, IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle. However, the established names are being forced to share the market with a wave of start-ups and new breed of technology and SaaS providers.

Despite the relatively high cost of living, the Zurich Start-Up scene is vibrant. Companies like DeinDeal, Gamaya, Trekksoft and InSphero have all gained a foothold in Switzerland, starting with public funding programs. Zurich also hosts a number of networking platforms and hubs for start-ups and technology companies.

Financial Technlogy, Fintech for short, is a key area of Swiss innovation, coupling nicely with the finance industry. Zug, a short 20-minute drive from Zurich, boasts its own ‘CryptoValley’, rich in blockchain and bitcoin startup activity, and home to brands such as ShapeShift, Xapo, and Monetas.

Monetas provides a platform for financial transactions in both national and digital currencies, enabled by cryptographically secured digital notary. Crucially, Monetas offers bitcoin integration. Also in the Fintech business, NetGuardians provides anti-fraud banking solutions. It uses intelligent behavioural analysis to monitor and analyse user activities in real time, giving organisations continuous control of risk. NetGuardians raised $5 million from investors, which helped to drive international growth. NetGuardians now has a strong presence in the European, Middle-Eastern, Asian and African markets.

Swiss start-ups are disrupting a number of traditional finance sectors, including insurance. Knip is a digital insurance manager that makes it easier for people to understand the tariffs and services of insurance companies, all accessible from a simple mobile App. The software also spots areas of potential savings for clients, ensuring the best coverage and cost saving.

The high level of federal investment, skilled workforce and maturity of the market means that Switzerland can provide an opportunity for technology companies.


Watch Making

Watchmaking has been native to Switzerland since the 16th Century, seeing varied levels of growth up until the present day. By the middle of the 19th century, the Swiss had overtaken the English to become the world’s most important watch manufacturer. The introduction of the quartz watch meant a challenge for the Swiss watch industry, calling for a new sense of innovation and creativity. The industry rebounded and delivered the traditional yet fresh watches that fans and collectors are familiar with today.

The industry is compiled of a selected of larger international watch-houses (Swatch, LVMH, Richemont etc) and smaller independent manufacturers (Audemars Piguet, Oris, Chopard, Patek Philippe). In 2015 the industry exported an estimated 21.5 billion CHF. Mechanical watches have seen increased popularity since 2010, with the interest for electronic watches remaining stagnant. Asia still remains the largest and most crucial for Swiss watch sales.

Whatever your taste or size of your collection, EPEK can help you secure your next timepiece. We are well established across Switzerland, often working directly with the manufacturer – making sure that you get the best deal possible on that watch that was supposed to be impossible to find.


Next Steps

When you have decided to make the move to Switzerland, be it for family of business reasons, EPEK will be by your side from day one. We will introduce you and your business to our network, setting up meetings and providing introductions that will be fruitful as quickly as possible. EPEK also hosts a strong network of recruitment and staffing companies, allowing you to find the right resources quickly.

As your partner for moving to Switzerland, EPEK will centrally manage services and the delivery of important milestones during the move to Switzerland. We understand that every family and business is different, so please do not hesitate to contact us and discuss your needs.

By |2018-09-27T10:09:45+00:00January 2nd, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on Made in Switzerland – Navigating the Swiss Market