Financial support

There are two types on financing:

The grants which are generally non dilutive, they have no impact on the equity structure of the start-up (when it exists). This also includes awards and competitions. This is what this page describes.

The investments (usually from private entities) which have a dilutive impact. This second source is described on the Investment page.

EPFL Proof of Concepts Grants – at EPFL

Innogrant

Funds people, and not ideas; funds startup entrepreneurs and less team members. Innogrant are in the form of an EPFL salary.

XGrant

Launched in October 2017, the XGrant program encourages and supports EPFL Bachelor and Master students entrepreneurial drive!

Enable

The enable grant is used to refine or upgrade early stage technologies, validate specific applications and explore markets, in order to facilitate its path to commercialization. The enable grant can amount to a maximum of 30 K CHF per project, over a period of 3 to 6 months.

Bridge
It is a joint programme conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI). It offers new funding opportunities at the intersection of basic research and science-based innovation.

Innosuisse projet without an implementation partner
Researchers who have an idea for an innovative project but who do not have a partner to help implement it can still submit a funding application to InnoSuisse.

Robotics Spin Fund
It is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, and as a result we offer our members the opportunity to apply for our spin fund if they have an exciting idea that they wish to take to market.

ESA Business Incubation Center (BIC)
2-year program for start-ups that are younger than 5 years, registered in Switzerland, which have or can come up with a space connection. The incubated start-ups receive 200’000 € in non-dilutive funding and access to a broad network offering business and technical support. Start-ups from all over Switzerland are welcome to apply. Selection rounds take place twice a year.

Not accessible to EPFL staff

InnoPacct
PACTT, Technology Transfer Office of UNIL-CHUV, is calling for start-up projects for the InnoTREK grant, part of InnoPACTT, a financial fund to accelerate innovation and UNIL-CHUV spin-off creation

ETHZ Pioneer Fellowships
A Pioneer Fellowship is awarded to an individual or groups of individuals intending to independently develop a highly innovative product or service to be exploited commercially and/or for the benefit of society.

The European Union is also an important source of support for Innovators. Check the EU Funding Opportunities.

Venturekick
Open to highly innovative business idea or you are transferring the results of Swiss academic research to global markets. Linked to a Swiss academic institution or research centre. You will establish your company in Switzerland and create jobs here. Only a “Swiss mailbox” will not be considered as a Swiss company. You have not yet launched (incorporated) your company by the time applying to venturekick. On going applications.

Fondation pour l’Innovation Technologique (FIT)
FIT gives out loans to project holders originating from a university based in Romandie.

GebertRüf Stiftung
The GebertRüf Stiftung‘s support policy particularly favours projects of highly qualified young scientists pursuing an independent course.


Other foundations 

The Hasler Stiftung
The Hasler Foundation may take a financial stake in start-up companies which demonstrate particular innovative strength in the field of information and communications technology (ICT).

The Coup de Pouce of Fondation René Liechti
CHF 50’000 grant to support an early phase startup.

The Stiftung für Technologie Innovation
The Foundation For Technological Innovation (STI) provides support for innovative start-ups based in the business and residential area of the Espace Mittleland region (Cantons BE, SO, FR, NE and JU).

The Volkwirtschaft Swiss Federal Foundation for Promotion of the National Economy
It provides financial support to innovative Swiss technology startups with the objective that the supported technologies and technical knowhow applications be commercially exploited.


Awards and Competitions

There are several prizes and competitions for students, local start-ups and Swiss start-ups.

For students

Prix Start Lausanne

Prix Start Lausanne EPFL UNIL student associations organising a competition for UNIL & EPFL students. Application deadline November of each year.

Young Entrepreneur Award

Open to students from University of St Gallen, EHL, EPFL, SUPSI & ETHZ. Application deadline January of each year.

To Local Startups

Prix Musy

Female French Speaking applicant only. Le prix Isabelle Musy vise à encourager l’entrepreneuriat des femmes dans le domaine des sciences et des technologies. Il récompense une femme issue d’une haute école de Suisse latine et domiciliée en Suisse latine dont les qualités d’entrepreneure et le dynamisme puissent servir d’exemple à toutes les femmes, dans le domaine des sciences et technologies. Application deadline April evrey two years.

PERL

Lausanne based competition open to Lausanne & surroundings located startups. Application deadline January of each year.

To Swiss Startups

Venture

Leading Swiss-wide startup competition focused on business idea & business plan. Open to any Swiss startup. It is an initiative of the ETH Zurich, McKinsey & Company CH, Knecht Holding, CTI, and EPFL. Application deadline April of each year.

Prix strategis

HEC student association organising a competition opened to any Swiss startup. Application deadline October of each year.

De Vigier

Open to any Swiss startups. Application Deadline January of each year.

But still

  • Hello Tomorrow Challenge. A competition designed for Deep-Tech Entrepreneurs taking place in Fall in Paris.
  • Swiss Economic Forum award. All start-up companies based in Switzerland and that were founded after 1 Januar 2011. Application deadline January of each year.
  • Swiss Technology Award. To innovation that was developed in Switzerland or followed up by a company/institution based in Switzerland. Application deadline August of each year.
  • Iddea Award. A social impact competition. Application deadline March of each year.
  • E&Y Swiss Entrepreneur of the Year. To any Swiss startup with at least 10 employees, business in existence for 2 years. Minimum annual revenue generated CHF 1 million. Application Deadline April of each year.