Competitive project funding for start-ups before market entry

Innosuisse supports science-based projects of start-ups with significant innovation potential. These innovation projects must be based on application-oriented research and prepare start-ups for entering the market for the first time. In the case of projects, only the start-up is supported. No research partners are supported. Funding is available for projects in all subject areas.

This offer is aimed at start-ups:

  • which have not yet entered the market. The start-up does not yet have ready-developed products or services on the market (except for services in the field of research and development, consulting and expert opinions, etc., on which the business model is not based).
  • whose scalable business model is based on a product or service and thus has the potential for more than linear growth.
  • based in Switzerland (i.e. the company’s headquarters is in Switzerland) and registered in the Swiss registry of commerce.
  • established not more than 5 years ago (in justified exceptional cases up to 10 years).
  • with less than 50 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) when submitting the application form; if the start-up is controlled by another company (i.e. another company commands a direct/indirect majority of votes or has the direct/indirect right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the executive board or board of directors of the start-up) and its financials are consolidated by the controlling company, then the consolidated group must have less than 250 FTE.
  • Non-commercially active associations and foundations as well as units of public administration are not considered start-ups.

Which innovation projects are funded?

Innosuisse supports start-ups prior to entering the market in the realisation of science-based innovation projects with significant innovation potential. The funding is intended to make a substantial contribution to significantly accelerating the market launch of new products and services.

Support is provided for innovations that are not yet ready for market launch when the application is submitted, but which can be launched quickly on the market after project completion.

The start-ups are funded directly by Innosuisse, a research partner is not necessary and is not supported by Innosuisse as a direct subsidy recipient. Innosuisse covers a maximum of 70 per cent of the direct project costs. The start-up pays at least 30 per cent of the costs itself as its own contribution.

Legal basis for the funding of start-up innovation projects (Innosuisse Funding Ordinance)

Application submission

Projects can be submitted on an ongoing basis. There are no tenders.

Important: the applications submitted must be of very high quality both in terms of content and completeness. When it comes to applications, high quality is more important than submitting incomplete or sub-par dossiers to Innosuisse as early as possible.

Your innovation project: step by step

Start-up innovation project: step by step

As a start-up, have you already products or services on the market?

Then the Swiss Accelerator might be of interest to you. It is not possible to submit simultaneous applications to the Swiss Accelerator and the Start-up innovation projects due to the defined criteria. 

Comparison Swiss Accelerator/Start-up innovation projects

Programme comparison Swiss Accelerator and start-up innovation projects
*The Swiss Accelerator is a transitional measure due to Switzerland's current non-association with Horizon Europe. To date, it has been implemented in 2022 and 2023.

Last modification 08.05.2024

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Project and Programme Funding


Energy & Environment
Nicolas Martin
Suzana Kolly
Nicole Schöni

+41 58 465 33 72

Matthias Furler
Davi Chung
Martina Ghisletta

+41 58 462 81 47

Sybille Aeschbacher
Fatma Sahindal

+41 58 467 17 55

Life Sciences
Thomas Martignier
Ramona Schürch
Imane Benabdesselam

+41 58 464 19 85

Social Sciences & Business Management
Sandra Villiger
Joséphine Irion

+41 58 462 86 51

Audit and Assurance
Jörn Graf

+41 58 465 01 25

Print contact

Patent research

End of free services with the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI)

The patent search services previously offered free of charge to Innosuisse applicants via the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property have been discontinued.

However, costs associated with research into intellectual property issues may still be covered as part of the direct project costs chargeable for approved applications from the following funding schemes:

  • Innovation projects with or without partners
  • Innovation projects for start-ups
  • Swiss Accelerator