KEY FINDING: create a “buddy” system through which locals help newcomers start a business, or establish a new business office, and in return gain new network connections to the international business world.
The Americas, Europe and Asia were represented by 22 participants from government, corporations, SME’s and would-be start-up companies. The group was divided into those seeking work, those wishing to set up businesses, and those with established businesses. It soon became clear that all groups would welcome and benefit from experienced mentors who understand the details of employment, setting up and running a business in Switzerland.
The following needs were identified:
- Expats want to understand how to establishing a business but need local advice for practical details (e.g., an English-speaking accountant, or information on legal requirements and procedures).
- Established local businesses could benefit from fresh international know how, contacts, networks, or services offered by incoming expats.
- Once established, expats require local help to enlarge their networks and address early business challenges.
- Many existing business and employment internet sites need to be easier to find and understand. Some exist only in German.
- An open-source job platform would be useful to help connect employers and job-seekers.
Idea Development & Solutions
Cantons Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land and Jura have mandated BaselArea to attract companies into the region. Accordingly, general information and support for those interested in setting up a business is available in German, French and English. However, once a company is officially registered, the Offi ce of Economy & Labor Basel City and the office of KMUinfo Baselland are responsible for the concerns of settled companies. The Chamber of Commerce for Both Basels (HKBB) and many business associations provide additional public and private resources, but none specifically to address expat needs.
The group agreed that expat-led businesses could benefit from earlier and more frequent interactions with established companies. Four main areas were proposed for such businesses and their supporting agencies and associations to focus future attention on.
- Introduce an integrated, professional network within the Chamber of Commerce of Both Basels (HKKB)
- Establish a Swiss host program for fledgling businesses.
- Set up a Swiss Business Buddy network to link existing local businesses with new or potential businesses.
- Create a comprehensive internet-based Business Portal.
The consensus was that facilitating networking would result in win-win situations and better communication between expats and locals.
Read about our Working Groups and how they were inspired by the 2011 conference workshops on this page.