Fintech and fake cannabis drive record number of Swiss start-ups

Keen to ride the digital wave: Switzerland is attracting many fintech startups Keystone

The year 2017 saw a record number of businesses created in Switzerland, many of them centred in the booming ‘crypto valley’ region, according to online platform startups.ch.

This content was published on January 3, 2018 - 18:11
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Some 43,416 businesses were created, said the information and advisory website, an increase of 5% on 2016 and an absolute record in Switzerland.

The canton of Zug, at the heart of Switzerland’s so-called crypto valley, was a main beneficiary: almost a fifth more businesses registered there in 2017 than the previous year.

The low-tax rate in Zug has traditionally attracted businesses. But much of the current interest is also down to innovation in the fields of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

“Zug has made a name for itself in this sector, for example by accepting tax payments in bitcoin,” said startups.ch boss Michele Blasucci.

Other factors for the growth may be the trendy legal cannabis industry, which flowered across the country throughout the year. “Each week, we registered two to three new businesses working with CBD [cannabidiol] products,” said Blasucci.

+ Read our longform on the comeback of cannabis

Other areas that saw significant growth in business creation were the cantons of Aargau and Zurich in the north, as well as the Alpine region of Valais. Italian-speaking Canton Ticino saw a drop of 7.5%, something Blasucci attributed to exchange of tax information laws that are clamping down on cross-border deals.

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