This year’s edition of venture leaders stood once again in the spotlight of 10 innovative Swiss entrepreneurs. They dare to venture and look for groundbreaking solutions in one of the biggest domestic markets in the world; the Chinese market with over 1.3 billion potential consumers. But “it is not only huge in terms of numbers, it is also growing, and it is growing fast. It is innovating, and it is innovating fast,” stated Mr. Alain Gaschen, Deputy Head of Mission, during an exclusive evening reception at the residence of the Swiss Embassy.
Innovation not only happens by adapting and further innovating existing technologies. Sometimes even more importantly, existing business models and cultural approaches – even if they have been successful in other countries – have to be embedded in a new context and adapted to the needs of a new market. Chinese government-led R&D institutes, science and technology parks, improved registration procedures or tax preferential policies offer strong incentives for both domestic and foreign startup companies. In 2014, 1’600 incubators established more than 10’000 new startup companies in China alone! There is no doubt that some of these startups have just begun to shape China’s impact on global economy, innovation and creativity.
We believe that the selected venture leaders have the means to find reliable partners, investors and the right keys to the doors that will grant them access to promising industries. For them, China is a key market to explore. Growing business prospects, as well as the necessity to increase the visibility of Swiss high-tech innovation in China, have prompted venturelab to launch the first and already very successful edition of venture leaders China in 2014. With the support of the venture leaders program in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen this year, Swiss entrepreneurs may continue Switzerland’s history of doing successful business in the People’s Republic of China. It is a 65-years long history that has laid a stable foundation for numerous achievements, be it in knowledge and technology transfers or the exclusive free trade agreement that came into force last year. The signing of this milestone agreement also paves the way for Swiss startups that consider taking the great venture eastwards.
After having attended several workshops with various business experts, entrepreneurs and investors during an intensive three-days program in Beijing, we look forward to seeing the venture leaders implementing their newly gained experience with their Chinese partners. Together with venturelab, represented by Mr. Jordi Montserrat (Managing Director) and his business partner, Mr. Beat Schillig (also founder of IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen), swissnex China and all the great sponsors of this fascinating initiative, we wish our fresh startup teams a prosperous continuation of their endeavors here in China!