Innovative with an optimised international network: a customer journey of a Swiss SME

For a Swiss SME, finding the right partners with which to develop innovative products is no easy task. And this is especially true when participating in international research and development projects. The Bern-based company Rebus Labs also found this to be a challenge – but one that it was able to overcome thanks to matchmaking opportunities provided by the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

Rebus EEN Matchmaking
At Rebus Labs AG

Just like many other innovative Swiss SMEs, Rebus Labs was interested in accessing public funding to develop its technology. But finding the right partners proved to be a challenge, explains Michael Boyman, CEO of Rebus Labs AG. The company had its sights set on a European project in particular, and asked Euresearch for its support. The organisation is aimed at making it easier for Swiss researchers and companies to take part in European projects. Lizanne Richle, Euresearch company advisor in the canton of Bern, explains: “Swiss SMEs often turn to us for help in finding the right opportunities. One of the main challenges they face is gaining access to a consortium. We advise them to get registered on the EEN website and to keep themselves up to date on the opportunities published by EEN.” According to Lizanne Richle, EEN plays an invaluable role in finding the right consortia.

That’s why Lizanne Richle put the company Rebus Labs in touch with the Enterprise Europe Network at Innosuisse. This approach paid off: thanks to the networking and matchmaking opportunities proposed by EEN, the company was included in an EU cooperation project.

Partner search: a look behind the scenes

Partner searches for EU funding projects are in high demand. But how does a successful international partner search work? Often there is not much time left since the deadline for project submissions is fast approaching. Gerhard Gass, an EEN advisor in the agro-food sector at Innosuisse, saw a search request from a Spanish EEN advisor. Gass decided to advertise the request, which was of interest to Swiss SMEs, through the various EEN communication channels, and also forwarded it to the Euresearch company advisor. Lizanne Richle immediately recognised that the expertise they were looking for was a perfect fit for Rebus Labs and got in touch with Michael Boyman. And he in turn immediately lodged his interest. Gerhard Gass initiated the initial contact with the Spanish coordinator, and within just a few days Rebus Labs was accepted into the consortium and the project application submitted in Brussels.

A project resulting in a maximum score

The project “Systemic Innovations for a SusTainable reduction of the EuRopean food wastage SISTER” was awarded a maximum score by the European Commission, and the funding agreement was signed in September 2021. The five-year project, with 17 partners and over 10 million euros in EU funding, has been launched with the aim of reducing food loss and waste. Rebus Labs, which is active in the field of supply chain tracking and automated audit trail creation, will make its own contribution to the project by drawing on its experience and expertise in installing food logistics tracking devices and sensors. It will also enable the company, located at the Centre for Innovation and Digitalisation (ZID) at Bernapark, to build up a vital international network. The project was kicked off in Spain in November.

In addition to the EU cooperation project, Rebus Labs was able to successfully submit a Eurostars project in 2021 together with the Turkish SME Monolitik on the topic of cold-chain audit and traceability for vaccines, in particular pertaining to Covid-19 vaccines, developing IoT systems and blockchain. The company was supported in the submission by the Eurostars project coordinator at Innosuisse, Janique Siffert.

About the Enterprise Europe Network – Switzerland


The Swiss branch of EEN at Innosuisse supports Swiss SMEs in their search for international research partners. To this end, it works in close collaboration with regional and national organisations such as Euresearch. It maintains a network with EEN advisors in over 60 countries spanning Europe and beyond.


Enterprise Europe Network – Switzerland

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Last modification 03.03.2022

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