Financial support

There are two types of financial support.
– 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.

From Swiss Public Institutions:

  • 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 project 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 the CTI
  • 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.

Other Swiss universities also have programs (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.

From Private Foundations:

  • 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
  • FIT gives out loans to project holders originating from a university based in Romandie.
  • The GebertRüf Stiftung‘s support policy particularly favours projects of highly qualified young scientists pursuing an independent course.
  • 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

For students:

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.
  • 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