Facts and figures on SMEs in Switzerland

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What is the Swiss policy regarding SMEs? The Confederation actively supports this major segment of the economy. Explanations and statistics.

Small and medium-sized enterprises play a fundamental role in the Swiss economy. From the simple bakery to the active Internet start-up or the machine manufacturer, SMEs form the huge majority of enterprises and create two-thirds of the jobs in the country. They make a major contribution to national creativity, growth and prosperity.

Aware of the importance of SMEs in Switzerland, the Confederation pays particular attention to these companies and makes an effort to meet their needs. By applying a customized policy, the Confederation is continually seeking to simplify the lives of SMEs and maintain an optimal environment for the proper development of their businesses. The primary objectives of the Swiss strategy to promote SMEs are as follows:

  • Reducing the administrative burden
  • Developing e-government
  • Encouraging the establishment of companies
  • Improving the terms of company financing
  • Facilitating market access
  • Promoting innovation

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) plays a central role in the SME promotion policy. It works in close cooperation with various partners, including the center of excellence for the internationalization of enterprises Switzerland Global Enterprise, Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) and the four Swiss cooperative guarantee companies. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SEFRI) is also involved to ensure the best possible framework conditions. Among the other important partners are the associations representing the economy, such as the Union Suisse des Arts et Métiers (USAM), the Fédération des entreprises suisses (economiesuisse), and the umbrella associations of various sectors.

How is an SME defined in Switzerland and the EU?

Although there is no official definition of the concept of an SME in Switzerland, the SECO uses a single and unique criterion: the number of employees. Any commercial enterprise, regardless of its legal structure and activity, is considered to be an SME if it employs fewer than 250 people, i.e. between 1 and 249 employees. 

SMEs are defined by the European Commission as having less than 250 persons employed. They should also have an annual turnover of up to EUR 50 million, or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million.

SMEs in figures

Number of companies, financing methods, establishments and even closings of companies: with the assistance of many studies conducted on SMEs in Switzerland, entrepreneurs can compare their results with the national averages. Below is an overview of the main statistics.

Swiss policy on growth

The Confederation has established a policy for strong growth to strengthen the Swiss economy. Its measures also apply to SMEs.


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Last modification 21.11.2019

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