Opportunity: Start-ups have the opportunity to gain first-hand insights into business opportunities in the UK by participating in customised activities and events. During their stay in London, start-ups can enjoy working from the Trampery (Shoreditch), and exchange knowledge and experience with fellow entrepreneurs, arrange business meetings or simply enjoy a cup of tea.
Support: Getting the support from the Swissnex team based at the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK will help start-ups to either explore, or properly enter the local market. Depending on the start-up needs, meetings with mentors, potential partners or customers will be organised.
Expertise: Swiss entrepreneurs can also benefit from the experience and expertise of the Embassy team to guide them in every step of their internationalisation.
Flexibility: As the UK is near to Switzerland, the programme can be spread over several separate weeks depending on the availability of the entrepreneurs.
Why expand into the UK?
The UK has a large consumer and business-to-business market with key strengths in many high-tech sectors. It has a world-leading scientific foundation and a strong investment and financial services sector. London is the business capital of Europe and many of the world’s largest companies have their headquarters on the banks of the Thames. All of these factors make the UK an extremely attractive market for Swiss start-ups looking to grow their business in English-speaking countries.
What’s the situation like in the UK?
Despite Brexit, the UK is still an attractive location for international start-ups. It benefits from a dynamic corporate culture and welcomes international companies. Close intercontinental ties with the US and Commonwealth countries make the UK an ideal springboard for business opportunities beyond Europe. The UK is fourth in the world for tech investment at $40.8bn, having achieved a record year in 2021. Culturally speaking, the UK is a risk-friendly country when it comes to innovation, with early adoption to digital technologies.
What is the state of innovation?
Innovation is seen as a major driver of long-term economic growth in the UK. This means the innovation system is underpinned by various organisations, incentives and public and private frameworks that interact to shape and foster innovative firms. The UK is on of the three ecosystems in the world, with the US and China, that created more than 100 unicorns, i.e. recently launched companies valued at over $ 1 billion. The sharp rise in the number of accelerators generated by companies such as Microsoft, Telefonica, Barclays and John Lewis correlate with the fact that the country welcomes foreign start-ups and can also offer attractive opportunities for Swiss start-ups.
How easy is it to find qualified employees and partners?
The UK has some of the world’s best universities. London especially has always been a magnet for foreign talent. While there is no shortage of highly skilled workers and potential employees in this city, however, there’s fierce competition to recruit them.
What opportunities does London offer?
London is just a 90-minute flight from Switzerland and in view of its concentration of international companies, its large start-up clusters and its open business culture, it has something to offer for all Swiss start-ups, irrespective of their stage of maturity. For start-ups in the early stages, it provides an excellent opportunity to test and refine their products and business plan in a different language, culture and business environment. Companies at more advanced stages can identify and approach customers to accelerate their growth in a new market.
What are the challenges?
London is a highly competitive environment. Nobody is awaiting the arrival of Swiss start-ups. Patience and perseverance are required to reach potential customers and partners. However, for start-ups ready to network, adopt a pro-active approach and seize their opportunities when they arise, London can prove a highly rewarding environment.
Last modification 08.12.2022