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Switzerland as a technology centre: dynamicinteraction

Innovative technologies are one of Switzerland's export triumphs. Swiss companies operating on the international stage also benefit from companies relocated from abroad which bring ideas and orders

Switzerland as a technology centre: dynamicinteraction

This interplay was the central theme of this year's General Assembly of Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) at Siemens in Zug.

Siemens is one of those foreign companies which has been creating added value and generating jobs and tax revenue in Switzerland for 120 years. The Siemens Building Technologies division played host to the 2015 General Assembly of Switzerland Global Enterprise, and Siemens CEO, Matthias Rebellius, used his company as a specific example to illustrate how relocated and native Swiss companies benefit from each other.

The success of Switzerland as a technology center is based on the presence of a qualified specialist workforce. In the podium discussion, cantonal councilor Matthias Michel, Economic Director of the canton of Zug, particularly emphasized the crucial significance of the Swiss dual vocational training system. And in order to make this available to relocated companies and in effect promote further exchanges between them and the Swiss economy, the canton of Zug will this summer launch a project focusing on international vocational training. Most of the teaching in this will be in English, delivering the Swiss vocational education and training qualification [EFZ] for business people and IT specialists.

Technologiestandort: Mehr als die Summe seiner Teile

"Despite the strength of the Swiss franc over several years, Switzerland is still one of the top technology centers in the world. Relocated companies make a key contribution to this by introducing ideas to Switzerland and entering into exchanges with home-grown companies," explains Ruth Metzler-Arnold, Chairwoman of the Board at S-GE, in her speech. "Thanks to these dynamic processes, our internationally successful industry clusters are more than the sum of their parts and make an important contribution to the prosperity of our country." The resultant ability to innovate benefits Swiss companies in their export operations as well, ideally enhancing the S-GE mandates of promoting Switzerland as a business location and promoting exports.

As a result, S-GE activities in promoting Switzerland enabled it again in 2014 to offer the cantons and areas numerous potential business relocation projects which were both interesting and convincingly high in quality.

In due consideration of the difficult situation currently besetting Swiss companies and their international operations because of the strong franc and of the new challenges posed by the rise of emerging economies, they need every support they can get - in order to remain viable in the future in the tough international competitive environment and tap new growth markets. There is also stiff competition between Swiss locations in their bids for the top companies which S-GE selectively tries to attract to Switzerland. Says Ruth Metzler-Arnold, "This means we must invest in both fields in the next four years as well."

During the General Assembly, other examples from the 2014 business year were presented. For example, there was again a 10% increase in the number of free consultations on export promotion. As part of import promotion, over 3,300 jobs were created in selected SMEs in the partner countries . This generated more than CHF 70 million of export volume from partner countries into Switzerland and Europe.

The following were elected for a further period in office in the board of directors:

Eva Jaisli, CEO PB Swiss Tools, Vice-president of the board of directors, board of directors member since 2009

Doris Albisser, Executive Chairman, EVALUGLOBE AG, board of directors member since 2006

Pierre-Olivier Chave, Chairman of the board of directors of PX Group SA, board of directors member since 2012

Beat W. Kündig, Chairman of the board of directors of W. Kündig & Cie. AG, board of directors member since 2009

Jean-Marc Probst, Chairman of the board of directors of Probst Group Holding SA, board of directors member since 2012

The 2014 annual report is available to download from www.s-ge.com/annualreport.

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