Associations: Another type of business structure

An association (Art. 60-79 of the Swiss Civil Code) may also be a company managed in accordance with commercial practices, but for the greater good.

Anyone who wishes to do business through an association must register it with the trade register. However, according to the Swiss Civil Code, its business purpose must not be for profit. Since the association must be linked to a goal for the greater good, it is not exactly suitable for running a business.

To start an association, at least two natural persons and/or legal entities are needed. No seed capital is required. It is established following an organizational meeting called to approve the association’s articles of association and to appoint its board members and auditor. The required bodies are the general assembly and the association board (at least one member).

An association is an independent legal entity. Hence, association members are not personally liable for the association’s debt. That said, an exception may be made when the articles of association provide otherwise (Art. 75a, Swiss Civil Code).



Comparison of legal forms (2023) (PDF, 178 kB, 21.03.2023)SME Portal - State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

Last modification 17.01.2023

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