One of the questions that the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland, Dr Martin Strub, was willing to respond to was about the initiatives of his country for startups. Though no detailed answer was readily available, at the interactive session organised by the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chennai, it is significant that he mentioned Swissnex.
For starters, Swissnex (http://www.swissnex.org/), is “a network with nodes in the world’s most innovative hubs, where the future is being shaped,” and Bangalore is one of the five locations, the rest being Boston, San Francisco, Singapore, and Shanghai.
In the ‘News’ section, there is a whole list of promos for academic topics such as ‘Advanced Studies in Management of Development Projects’ and ‘International PhD Scholarships in Life Science at Zurich Graduate School’. A crisp one, however, that may catch your attention is ‘the Story Behind Swiss Innovation,’ reporting that ‘the 7 principles of success’ are: strengthening competitiveness, promoting mathematics and science, promoting a dual education system, providing funding for research, maintaining open markets, promoting international networking, and pursuing a policy of creating freedom of action.
The latest annual report (2012) on the site, announces that Swissnex India wants to offer work spaces to Swiss-based startups and SMEs to explore the Indian market and scout opportunities. Interestingly, the final section in the 36-page report is on ‘innovation and entrepreneurship,’ mentioning some of the recent events, such as the Seedstars competition in Bangalore, and the startup road-show in Switzerland on the opportunities for Swiss startups and SMEs in India.
Sharing the experience at the road-show, as per the event agenda, was Barbara Maim, cofounder of Minsh, a Swiss startup in India. “We are a small and passionate team specialized in social web apps. We spend our time between Bangalore, India and Lausanne, Switzerland to offer our clients products of upscale quality at competitive prices,” informs http://www.minsh.net/.
The Swiss interest in startups can well be a space to watch.