Why expand to the United Kingdom?
The United Kingdom combines a large consumer and B2B market with strengths in a range of high-tech sectors. It offers a world-leading science base with a powerful investment and financial services sector. London in particular is Europe’s business capital and many of the world’s largest companies have their main or European headquarters on the banks of the River Thames. All these factors make the UK one of the most rewarding and interesting markets for Swiss start-ups looking to expand their business, and no ‘born global’ start-up can afford to ignore London.
What can I expect?
The UK’s flexible labour market and its dynamic and fast-paced business culture are open and accessible for international business. Good intercontinental ties with the US and Commonwealth countries also make the UK a springboard for business opportunities outside Europe. Most importantly for Swiss start-ups, the UK is an early adopter of digital technology with a keen appetite for innovation, new products and business risks.
What is the state of innovation?
Innovation is considered a key driver of the UK’s long-term economic growth. The innovation system is therefore underpinned by a range of public and private organisations, incentives and frameworks which interact to shape and foster innovative businesses. TechCity is perhaps the most interesting initiative for Swiss start-ups. Located in London’s East End, it hosts a huge number of networking events and meetups and is reportedly home to more than 1’500 tech businesses, which are forecast to create £12bn worth of economic activity together over the next decade. Since 2000, London has produced the most European ‘unicorns’, that is, start-ups with valuations of over $1bn. The significant rise in corporate-run accelerators in London, by companies such as Microsoft, Telefonica, Barclays, John Lewis, supply the city with a constant stream of outstanding innovative foreign start-ups and might equally offer interesting opportunities for Swiss start-ups.
Is it easy to find qualified co-workers?
The UK has a world-class research base and is home to some of the world’s best higher education institutions. London in particular has always been a magnet for attracting foreign talent. So while there is definitely no shortage of highly qualified potential workers and employees in London, competition to hire them is generally very strong.
What opportunities does London offer?
London is only a 90-minute flight from Switzerland and, due to its density of international players, vast start-up clusters and open business culture, it has something to offer Swiss start-ups at every stage of maturity. Advanced companies can identify and approach customers in order to accelerate their growth in a new market. For early stage start-ups, London represents a great opportunity to test and fine tune their product and business plan in a different language, culture and business environment.
…and what are the challenges?
London is extremely competitive! Nobody is waiting for Swiss entrepreneurs to arrive, so a lot of patience and perseverance are required when reaching out to potential clients and partners. However, if you are prepared to network, to hustle and to seize opportunities when they arise, London is likely to have something in store for you.
What does the Innosuisse Market Entry Camp UK bring to the table?
- Opportunity. Choose between a two-week Market Validation Camp, or a four week Market Entry Camp.
- Support. Based on your individual business needs, we connect you not only with relevant networks, experts and mentors, but also with potential customers, partners, talent and investors.
- Expertise. Get access to the expertise of the Embassy team and the Swiss Business Hub UK
- Flexibility. The UK isn’t far away! Schedule individual weeks separately when most convenient for your business.
- A home away from home. Get access to our Swiss Desk in London’s Tech City to work, network, set up business meetings or simply enjoy a loose-leaf cup of tea after a hard day’s work.
- Interested? Apply for the Innosuisse Market Entry Camp UK by sending us an e-mail