The young Swiss entrepreneurs in China: they are successful!

Is doing business in China a big challenge – and even more if we are young and not in the technology field?

For my master thesis, I interviewed 7 entrepreneurs who successfully launched a non-tech business and tried to figure out which steps they had to go through. Do you also want to launch a startup in China? See how swissnex key words, that accompany me during the redaction of my master thesis, can help you too!

Shanghai Banbgobike

Shanghai Bamboo Bike



Jonas Design


The LeanCase

The LeanCase



Integrate Chinese Life

Integrate Chinese Life




The networking is crucial. To know people who can help you and connect you with the Community helps to come closer to your future customers’ needs. You can see on the picture Simon (left) talking about his startup Saucepan. Hans (right) from the startup Neemic just discovered possible synergies with people from the Swiss project Race for Water!



I organized events during my mission at swissnex to help to promote the young Swiss entrepreneurs and give them some visibility. These entrepreneurs are now regularly invited to talk to delegations that spend time at swissnex. You will soon discover small videos on swissnex social media which will introduce them and their amazing products/services.



Have a lot of contact with potential stakeholders and with other young Swiss entrepreneurs is useful to share experience, be known and get feedbacks. As the much appreciated organized event on the Swiss National day facilitated the first contact between the young Swiss entrepreneurs, we are already preparing the next. The second edition will have the purpose for them to meet other entrepreneurs with more experience on the Chinese market.


I wish them all the best for the successful development of their young startup!

Written by: Laurence Niquille

Francesca @ the Women MassChallenge Showcase

On September 9, I had the great opportunity to take part in the 2015 Women in MassChallenge Showcase. 38 startups founded by women showed their amazing innovations and were joined by hundreds of startup community supporters to discuss the most important issues surrounding women in entrepreneurship.

Women in MassChallenge empowers and supports female founders in order to provide better access, education and support for the unique challenges that face female entrepreneurs. Founded by MassChallenge alumni in 2012, this women’s network hosts regular meetings in addition to this annual event.

Overall, the number of female entrepreneurs is on the rice. Recently, Boston and London were named the best cities in the world for female entrepreneurs. Of the startups participating in the MassChallenge Boston Finalist class, 44% has at least one woman founder.


Francesca @ swissnex Boston: Full immersion in the Boston’s Life-Sciences startup Ecosystem


After his visit to swissnex Boston, Professor Dr. Daniel Gygax, the President of the NTN Swiss Biotech (research funding) and Program Head Bachelor from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland had the great opportunity to discover more about the life sciences scene in Boston. On July 9, he started his tour with CEO Felix Moesner and Francesca Cerza from swissnex Boston, visiting LabCentral, a launchpad for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups. LabCentral in Cambridge helps to create the next generation of biotech companies by providing entrepreneurs and innovative life sciences startups with the space and resources they need to test out, challenge, and nurture early ideas. Johannes Fruehauf, co-Founder and President, welcomed us and shared with us the biggest fundraising challenges for early stage startups in this field.

Following was a visit to the world’s largest startup accelerator, MassChallengeand the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. We were welcomed by Mary Tolikas, Director of Operations as well as Jake Hansen, Business Development. The Harvard Wyss Institute is a new cross-disciplinary model for innovation, collaboration, and technology translation at Harvard University. It was launched in 2009 with a $125 million gift from the Swiss entrepreneur Hansjoerg Wyss. Later, he doubled his donation to $250 million and became the largest donor to ever contribute to higher education institution in Massachusetts in 2013. Walter de Wit, Consul for Innovation from the Dutch Consulate also joined for the visit at the Harvard Wyss Institute.

Tell Awards

On June 18, we moved to NYC for joining the Swiss Business Hub USA and Switzerland Global Enterprise to celebrate the Eleventh Annual Tell Awards, which recognize U.S. companies with significant investment projects in Switzerland. The awards, named for the legendary Swiss hero William Tell, were presented by Ambassador André Schaller (Consul General of Switzerland in New York) and Daniel Küng, CEO of Switzerland Global Enterprise. Bloomberg hosted the event at its New York headquarters. Following the Awards Ceremony, the Swiss National Startup Team was invited onstage to showcase Swiss innovation projects. The recipients of this year’s awards are Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Fossil Group, and Zimmer.


The 10-day business development bootcamp ended with a company visit at the Headquarter of Uber in NYC and with nice group pictures on the Top of Rockefeller Center. The two main learning lessons of this experience are 1) it is all about EXECUTION and 2) “a ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not why ships are built”.






The Young Swiss Challenge

I can definitively confirm: here in Shanghai, life is moving fast! Today, let’s have a deeper look at our event from last week: The Young Swiss Challenge!

This event took place at swissnex China in Shanghai- of course! Alessandra, a very good colleague responsible for the young Swiss in China ( and me, for swissnex, organized this funny workshop and pitching session with the topic…

Entrepreneurship and realistic daily problem solving!


The goal of this event was to get to know three young Swiss entrepreneurs I met for my master thesis, learn about their stories and activities and finally help them solving some of their daily challenges. Our hosts were:

Integrated Chinese Life (ICL), a one stop agency for a great experience in China – represented by Bastien Dumont

SaucePan, a new healthy meal preparation solution – represented by Simon Vogel and Wolfgang Illing

The freelance designer Jean-Philippe Bonzon (JPBD).

They are also quickly presented in my LinkedIn post:


Swiss students in China, Chinese and Swiss alumni were the biggest part of our audience.






We were very happy to have the participation of Gabriel, Armend & Boris from the HES-SO Western Switzerland who stopped by on their way to the summer school at the Zhejiang University. We also had guest stars! We had the immense honour to have the participation of Arnaud and Junjun Bertrand, who studied in Lausanne and are founders of HouseTrip, the fastest growing holiday rental website in Europe!








Bertrand (first photo, right) and Junjun (seconde photo, left) participated at the workshop as “normal” group members; their inputs were really appreciated! Each team was given a specific challenge and only 30 min to come up with the most creative and innovative ideas. After a great buffet, we were ready to hear the 2min pitches of our 8 teams!


The tree young entrepreneurs were really happy to hear the amazing ideas coming from our audience and they found the event very useful and interesting. Each team was also given a feedback so that everyone could gain some experience out of this workshop! Congratulations to the first three winning teams, who won some vouchers to order healthy food with Saucepan!
















9 10

Swiss Startup Corner @ BIO International Convention 2015


From June 15 to June 18, 2015, swissnex Boston had the pleasure to be an integral part of the Swiss Biotech Pavilion at the BIO International Convention 2015 in Philadelphia. The convention featured more than 1,700 exhibitors on approximately 14,900 square meters. Within the Swiss Biotech Pavilion, we assembled the Swiss Startup Corner and brought together 10, among startups and Swiss institutions, currently catalyzing Biomedical innovation in Switzerland (For a complete list of the participants, please see section below). All participants could profit of the one-to-one partnering system to initiate important business development collaborations. 6 of the companies were part of the Swiss National Startup Team, and were already in the US to go through the 10 day venture leaders program, which started in Boston on June 9 and ended in New York City on June 19. The 6 entrepreneurs participated in a pitch competition at the University Science Center in Philadelphia on June 17, where they were challenged by Philadelphia based entrepreneurs and a jury of investors. Ruben, from Polyneuron and Chris, from Cellspring, both Swiss, won the competition. The event was also an opportunity to launch the collaboration between the University Science Center and the Swiss based Y parc, represented in the competition by Yannick Charrotton, CTO of Lambda Health Systems, a robotic company specialized in rehabilitation systems.


The Swiss Startup Corner was possible also thanks to the generous contribution of the Commission for Technology and Innovation of the Swiss Government (CTI), which is providing several instruments to Swiss startups, when it comes to internationalization. In the US, the swissnex team, together with CTI, is running the US market entry camps, programs which have already supported and given unparalleled competitive advantage to some of the most innovative startups emerged from our small country in the hearth of Europe. 3 of the startups present at the Swiss Startup Corner, PIQUR, inSphero and NBE-Therapeutics, were CTI labelled, an important recognition that the CTI provides to startups having gone through a really intensive coaching and maturation program back in Switzerland.

If you wish to learn more about swissnex Boston, our activities in innovation and entrepreneurship or about the participants at the Swiss Startup Corner at BIO 2015, please contact Niccolo Iorno, Project Leader Innovation @ swissnex Boston:

Swiss Startup Corner; list of participants:

CellSpring: Chris Millan; CTO
Rqmicro Gmbh: Hans-Anton Keserue; CEO
SimplicityBio: Miguel Barreto; CEO
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG : Ruben Herrendorff ; CEO
HYLOMORPH AG : Simone Bottan; CEO
ZuriMED Technologies:  Xiang Li; CEO
PIQUR Therapeutics AG: Herve Girsault; CBO
NBE-Therapeutics AG: Ulf Grawunder; CEO
InSphero: Stewart Hunt; Director North American Business Development
Wyss Institute Zurich: Michael Stucky; COO

swissnex Boston: Felix Moesner, CEO; Niccolo Iorno, PL innovation; Francesca Cerza, Junior PM innovation.

HEG Fribourg Student awarded at the Entrepreneur Award 2015

Antoinette Entrepreneurclub

Une étudiante de la HEG Fribourg remporte la deuxième place de l’Entrepreneur Award 2015

Riedholz, 19. Juni 2015 – Dans le but de promouvoir l’industrie auprès des jeunes diplômés, la quatrième édition du prix de l’entrepreneur 2015 s’est déroulée le 19 juin dernier à Riedholz, Soleure par l’ancien conseiller fédéral, Samuel Schmid.

Les prix ont été décernés parmi des étudiants de niveau Bachelor, Master et EMBA ayant écrit une thèse dans le domaine de l’entrepreneuriat ou du leadership. Les dossiers ont été déposés par huit hautes écoles de Suisse.

Un prix prestigieux

Antoinette Musard, étudiante de la Haute école de gestion Fribourg a remporté le second prix grâce à son travail de Master : Mentoring relationships: mentors‘ skills & best practices for startup companies. Elle a eu la chance de recevoir un chèque, des heures de coaching avec un entrepreneur de son choix et une année d’adhésion à l’entrepreneur Club, grâce auquel elle aura l’opportunité de créer de nombreux contacts.

Ce n’est pas la première fois qu’une étudiante de la Haute école de gestion Fribourg reçoit un prix de l’entrepreneur. En 2012, Sabine Suter avait remporté la première place grâce à son travail de Master : A perception of the entrepreneurial environment at Imperial College.


HSW Freiburg Studentin wird am Entrepreneur Award 2015 ausgezeichnet

Riedholz, 19. Juni 2015 – Zur Förderung aufstrebender Hochschulabsolventen aus dem Wirtschaftsbereich wurde am 19. Juni in Riedholz, Solothurn, der vierte Entrepreneur Award durch alt Bundesrat Samuel Schmid verliehen. Prämiert wurden drei herausragende Bachelor-, MBA- und EMBA-Diplomarbeiten im Bereich Leader- oder Entrepreneurship, die 2015 von acht Schweizer Fachhochschulen eingereicht worden sind.

Renommierter Award

Den zweiten Platz erzielte Antoinette Musard, Studentin an der Hochschule für Wirtschaft Fribourg mit ihrer Masterarbeit über Mentorenrollen in Start up Firmen (Mentoring relationships: mentors‘ skills&best practices for startup companies). Die ausgezeichneten Studierenden erhalten ein stattliches Preisgeld, Coaching-Stunden bei einem Entrepreneur-Mentor ihrer Wahl und eine Jahresmitgliedschaft im Entrepreneur Club, wo sie dank einem exklusiven Netzwerk wertvolle Kontakte knüpfen können.

Im Jahr 2012 gewann bereits schon einmal eine HSW-Studentin: Sabine Suter holte mit ihrer Masterarbeit zum Thema Entreprenerurial Ecosystem den Preis nach Fribourg.

Francesca @ Swissnex Boston

The Swiss National Startup Team visited the East Coast for the 15th time in a row; a 10 days business development boot camp with pit stops in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Niccolo, Project Leader of this program called Venture Leaders, was supported by my colleague David and myself. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot on how to manage a big project as well as how to launch your own business in the US. But let’s see what it is.


Every year since 2001, the Venture Leaders program has introduced over 280 Swiss start-ups to the US start-up ecosystem. Co-organized by Venturelab and swissnex Boston, this program includes executive education, mentoring workshops with local industry leaders and investors and demo events for 20 of the most promising start-ups spinning out of our technical universities. The 2015 team encompasses a large array of industries with innovations ranging from the biotech to the robotics and engineering field.

In the first week the Venture Leaders benefited from a three-day intensive program at Babson College, one of the highest ranked business schools in the world, specialized in management and entrepreneurship. The team attended classes led by Prof. Les Charm and Prof. Ed Marram on team building, decision-making processes, strategy, and leadership.

The day after, they had the opportunity to pitch their businesses in front of experienced experts of the respective industries. These sessions provided the entrepreneurs with valuable feedback for refining their ideas and strategies. The sessions took place at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), a co-working space more than 600 start-ups. The CIC is considered the ‘Mecca’ of start-ups in Boston, where many large corporations decide to have a presence and access to a strong pool of resources for innovation.


For the first time in the history of the program, the Venture Leaders had the pleasure to get to know the practices of a global Design Thinking Agency. The group visited Continuum, a world-leader in this creative method. The entrepreneurs were introduced to the design thinking method and could apply the method hands-on to some of their own business ideas. Michael Amante, Pete Chapin and Michael Dunkley of Continuum did a great job explaining the design thinking technique and showing some new perspectives to the group.


In the second week, the six Biotech Venture Leaders took off very early to attend the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia: the largest global event for the biotechnology industry. I had the great opportunity to be in charge of the organization of these 3 days in Philly. At 5.30am we woke up, ready to represent the Swiss Start-up Corner, within the SWISS Pavilion at the BIO International Convention.


Many other activities happened in Philadelphia and in New York; I will update you in my next blog entry. Stay tuned and follow this great experience on twitter @CzFrancesca

Laurence @ Swissnex Shanghai

As we know, China is moving very fast. At Swissnex too, a lot happens! Let’s have a look at the next important event that will take place in Shanghai between Swiss and Chinese entrepreneurs and learn to know 2 up-coming Swiss start-ups I interviewed!

Next event!


The lift Conference will take place for the second time in Shanghai, and the preparations are in full swing. I am convinced that the Swiss night will be a big success, as it is a good opportunity to discover the technologies of tomorrow, share knowledge and network with some of the brightest Swiss and Chinese minds.

Guest stars of the month, emfab and ScanTrust

I had the chance to interview two Swiss start-ups who are growing and considering Asia and specifically China in their development plans. Do you know them? Check that small summary; they will be fore sure well-known soon!

2Emfab is a young start-up run by two engineers from the ETH Zürich since a year.

It offers its customers technical consulting services for the design and engineering of mechanical systems, electrical circuits and micro-systems. The team elaborates functional solutions for companies’ technical challenges.

Something makes Emfab very special in our eyes: the team is made of one Chinese man and one Swiss woman; this cultural complementarity allows them to be strong on both markets. Both partners know the importance of being patient in building a trustworthy relationship with the Chinese fabrics and how precise they have to behave to be recognized from Swiss customers.

Thanks to their high quality service, tailored manufacturing solutions, short delivery times and competitive prices, they are on a good way to continue on the success wave they are surfing on at the moment.

3Also at the beginning of their success story and after closing a $1,2 million round of initial seed funding led by AngelVest Group and SOS Ventures, ScanTrust is another Swiss start-up who has to be known ! Based at the EPFL Innovation Park, it has a branch in Shanghai with a team of 15 people and had previously joined the CTI market entry camp in China.

The basic idea of ScanTrust is to offer a platform based on the world’s first copy-proof. Therefore, by using this service through a smartphone-app, the producers, distributors as well as the final customers can easily authenticate and localize goods across the whole value chain.

See you soon for further news about life in Shanghai!