Interview

In interviews published bi-weekly, experts and decision-makers give SMEs advice on how to succeed.

The interviews cover topics as diverse as business creation and development, innovation and strategy in the face of competition.

The most recent interviews are also posted on the SME Portal homepage.


2024

Andreas Dietrich, director of the Institute of Financial Services Zug (IFZ)

"Many SMEs are unaware of how to improve their access to credit"

(19.06.2024) Swiss companies are increasingly turning to bank financing. How can they secure loans on favorable terms? Expert advice below.
Lisa Rubli, co-director of the Equal-Salary Foundation

"Pay equity improves work culture, innovation, and productivity"

(05.06.2024) A lack of time, financial resources, and transparency frequently contributes to the persistent pay disparities between men and women in SMEs. Lisa Rubli, director of the Equal-Salary Foundation, outlines strategies to address this issue.
Isabelle Wildhaber, co-founder of the Law&Tech Lab at the University of St. Gallen

"More and more Swiss want to work remotely from abroad"

(15.05.2024) Employers need to adjust to changes in employees' lifestyles, including the growing trend of telecommuting and working from abroad. However, the legal and administrative risks associated with this practice often act as a deterrent for employers. Insights below from Isabelle Wildhaber, a specialist in commercial and digital law.
Hans Haueter, Director of Business Consulting at Gastroconsult

"The clientele has grown more discerning"

(01.05.2024) In recent years, the changing demands and increasing operational costs have presented a significant challenge for restaurateurs. How can they maintain competitiveness amidst these pressures? Insights from Hans Haueter, head of business consulting at Gastroconsult, offer valuable guidance.
Stefan P. Zosso, President of the Swiss-Panamanian Chamber of Commerce

"To do business in Panama, patience is key"

(16.04.2024) Over the past decade, Switzerland and Panama have enjoyed streamlined trade thanks to a free trade agreement. The local chamber of commerce provides insights into the market's specifics and advises on precautions that should be taken before venturing into it.
Nadja Meier Following OECD principles give SMEs a strategic edge

"Following OECD principles give SMEs a strategic edge"

(03.04.2024) Recognized in more than 50 countries, including Switzerland, the "code of conduct" for responsible multinational corporations has been updated. What's new, and why does it matter for SMEs? SECO expert Nadja Meier weighs in.
Sophie Hundertmark, researcher at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and University of Fribourg

"Companies are ignoring opportunities offered by artificial intelligence"

(20.03.2024) Are SMEs adequately equipped to harness the full potential of tools like ChatGPT? Here are the insights from Sophie Hundertmark, a researcher and author of two books on the topic.
Stefan Planzer, co-founder of the company Addvanto

"The four-day workweek has boosted our attractiveness"

(06.03.2024) The increase in productivity linked to technological progress has led some Swiss companies to reduce their workweek to four days. However, this change implies ensuring certain conditions. Stefan Planzer, director of the digital marketing firm Addvanto, shares insights after successfully implementing this change.
Sandro Nafzger, founder of Bug Bounty Switzerland

"In terms of cybersecurity, Switzerland is less agile than other countries"

(19.02.2024) In 2023, Swiss businesses faced a 61% increase in cyberattacks. How can one guard against such a threat? We discuss this with Sandro Nafzger, an "ethical hacker" and co-founder of Bug Bounty Switzerland.
Jürg Schmid, partner di Schmid Pelli & Partner

"Climate change impacts the entire tourism industry"

(07.02.2024) Tourism plays a vital role in the economies of Swiss mountain regions. How can the lasting success of this industry be ensured? Jürg Schmid, an industry expert and president of Grisons Tourism, shares his insights.
Marius Gerber, Director of the Human Capital Competence Center at ZHAW

"Work flexibilisation: it’s sometimes necessary to push back against individualization"

(24.01.2024) Working 100% in the same location is no longer in line with the preferences of a growing number of employees. What solutions should be considered in response to this trend? Expert advice follows.
Marc K. Peter, director of the "Digital Transformation" competence center at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)

"SMEs should leverage the potential of digital technologies more effectively"

(03.01.2024) How can you successfully achieve the digital transformation of your SME? Here is some advice from Marc K. Peter, author of a recent guide on the subject.

2023

Christine Hegglin, founder of Hoyou

"‘Matching’ unveils invisible real estate opportunities"

(20.12.2023) Finding housing in Switzerland remains long and complex for both purchase and rental. The real estate platform Hoyou aims to change the game with a matching system, a principle already proven in the job and dating markets.
Anne le Duc, Director of Lifefair

"The reduction of CO2 emissions concerns all companies"

(06.12.2023) How do the goals of the Paris Agreement impact SMEs? What does the "net zero" objective mean? Insights from Anne le Duc, director of the Swiss Climate Action Initiative (SCAI).
Christophe Barman, co-president of the Swiss Federation of Enterprises (FSE)

"Sustainable businesses often lack visibility"

(15.11.2023) Some businesses feel underrepresented by the major umbrella associations in the Swiss economy, as they are often consulted infrequently and not always aligned with the same political positions. Adopting a more democratic approach, the Swiss Federation of Enterprises aims to amplify the voices of its members.
Irenka Krone-Germann, co-responsible for knowledge management, communication, and networks at cinfo.ch

"Top sharing" allows access to leadership roles while remaining part-time"

(01.11.2023) Just a few years ago, the notion of an executive or business leader working part-time would have been unimaginable. The concept is gaining increasing appeal in Switzerland.
Men Wirz, director of the Federal Office of Energy's financing and technical support program (OFEN)

"Private financing can prove difficult to access for SMEs"

(18.10.2023) To contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of Swiss energy consumption, the Federal Office of Energy provides financial support to around thirty innovative projects per year. We speak to Men Wirz, director of the program.
Hansueli Stamm, Chief Economist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI)

"Patenting is an investment in a company's future"

(27.09.2023) What intellectual property protection methods are suitable for SMEs and their budgets? Hansueli Stamm, Chief Economist of the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, provides insights.
Pierre Dillenbourg, Associate Vice-President for Education at EPFL

"Virtual reality has enormous potential for training"

(06.09.2023) Educational technologies (edtech) are increasingly capturing the interest of investors and training environments. Pierre Dillenbourg, Vice-President of Swiss Edtech Collider, details how the sector can contribute to the development of local SMEs.
Nicolas Mayencourt, fondatore e CEO mondiale di Dreamlab Technologies

"Switzerland is a prime target for cybercriminals"

(16.08.2023) In 2021, Check Point Research (CPR) security experts recorded a significant 65% surge in attacks on corporate networks within Switzerland. This trend particularly impacts SMEs, as Nicolas Mayencourt, founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Dreamlab Technologies, warns.
Hansruedi Häfliger, director of the Liebegg Agricultural Center

"Technological assistance in agriculture will increase”

(26.07.2023) As leaders of atypical SMEs, farmers are currently forced to adapt their business models to meet commercial demands and ecological imperatives. Hansruedi Häfliger, Director of the Liebegg Agricultural Center in the canton of Aargau, details the challenges and opportunities facing the agriculture of the future.
Aurel Greiner, CEO and founder of Revendo

"Sustainability must provide a tangible benefit to consumers"

(05.07.2023) The repair and reconditioning market is gaining increasing popularity in Switzerland. However, its potential remains untapped. Aurel Greiner, founder of Revendo, a company specializing in the refurbishment and resale of electronic equipment, explains the concept.
Sven Vetsch, Head of Innovation and Development at Redguard AG

"The 'workation' is not suitable for all employee profiles"

(07.06.2023) For a long time the preserve of freelancers, workation - the combination of work and vacation travel - is becoming increasingly popular in certain sectors. IT security company Redguard offers its 80 employees the opportunity to take advantage of this once a year for four to six weeks. Sven Vetsch, the company's partner and Head of Innovation and Development, explains the benefits of this new practice.
Gabriel Affentranger, member of the management of Affentranger Bau AG company

"Our strategy is in line with the future of construction"

(17.05.2023) How can the construction sector adapt to climate challenges? Gabriel Affentranger, a leadership team member at a pioneering company in this field, shares his knowledge.

2022

Fosca Tóth, founder of Studio MK2 cultural company

"When talent is more important than a title, individuals can flourish"

(21.12.2022) The We Talents platform offers a central place for job offers and networking. It is the first platform in Switzerland to connect skills and activate networks.
Serge Frech, Director of ICT-VET Switzerland

"By 2030, there will be a shortage of about 40,000 IT specialists in Switzerland"

(07.12.2022) Are IT specialists a rarity? Perhaps not, but in any case, the pool of professionals is drying up ever more quickly as the need for them continues to grow in all sectors, and not only in IT service companies. Serge Frech, Director of ICT-VET Switzerland, warns that it is high time we reacted.
Philippe Thévenot, founder of BP2M, which includes the Chiefs on Demand platform

"Provisional directors have a greater incentive to give their all."

(16.11.2022) The corporate economic situation, with its combination of increasingly volatile markets and a skilled workforce that is constantly concerned with work-life balance, is driving SMEs to hire interim managers.
Eric Scheidegger, Head of the Economic Policy Directorate and Deputy Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

"A policy of openness is essential for Switzerland as a business location"

(02.11.2022) Parliament has instructed the Federal Council to draft federal law on the review of foreign investments. Eric Scheidegger, Head of SECO's Economic Policy Directorate and Deputy Director, provides an update on this initiative.
Rico Baldegger, Director of the School of Management of Fribourg (HEG-FR)

"In Switzerland, being an entrepreneur is still regarded as a very daring career choice"

(19.10.2022) Only a few Helvetians dare to start an entrepreneurial adventure. Why does this reluctance persist? Management expert Rico Baldegger explains.
Emilie Raffo, co-founder of ChainSecurity

"SMEs active in blockchain are interested in collaborating with academic experts."

(05.10.2022) Mainly used for crypto-currencies, blockchain is also being implemented elsewhere and the movement does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. Faced with strong international competition in the sector, what are Switzerland's competitive advantages? Emilie Raffo, co-founder of the company ChainSecurity and expert in the field, provides the answers.
Emilie Romon Carnegie, Director of Ashoka Switzerland

"Social entrepreneurship is all about collective interest"

(21.09.2022) The international organization Ashoka supports social entrepreneurship projects around the world. Emilie Romon Carnegie, its director in Switzerland, discusses the key drivers and challenges in this field.
Gabriele Censi, Director of GC Events

"The public is looking for interactive and ever more immersive experiences"

(07.09.2022) After two difficult years, the events sector has regained some momentum. Gabriele Censi, Director of GC Events, has relied on digitalization and innovative exhibitions to get through the pandemic. He reflects on the industry's challenges and opportunities for renewal.
Financial support for accommodation establishments Soft loans Consulting services What criteria Challenges for the Swiss hotel industry Zurich Suisse Zurich Société Suisse de crédit hôtelier (SCH)

"The hotel industry will have to strengthen its appeal"

(17.08.2022) The Société Suisse de crédit hôtelier (SCH), which is co-financed by the Confederation, provides financial support and consulting services to hotels. Its director, Peter Gloor, explains the role and function of the organization.
Ema Bolomey, lawyer in commercial law

"An entrepreneur facing overindebtedness often feels overwhelmed"

(03.08.2022) Business bankruptcies are on the rise this year. Lawyer Ema Bolomey explains what to do in this situation, and how it affects customers and employees.
Brigitte Baumann, co-founder of GoBeyond Investing

"Like many business angels, I first invest in a team"

(19.07.2022) Angel investment can make all the difference in getting a start-up off the ground. But what kind of people and projects are business angels looking for? Brigitte Baumann, an expert in the field, explains.
Marc Haesler, franchise specialist

"Recruiting and local marketing are a franchisee's core competencies."

(06.07.2022) The franchise business model is relatively unknown in Switzerland. Marc Haesler, director of Swiss Distribution, the franchisors' association in French-speaking Switzerland, provides some insights into this type of business.

Last modification 02.01.2024

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