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Record number of Swiss companies launched in 2020

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© Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The coronavirus pandemic failed to halt a decade-long steady growth in entrepreneurs, who last year founded more new companies than ever in Switzerland.

A total of 46,842 new firms were added to the Swiss Commercial Register in 2020: an increase of 5.3% compared to the previous record year of 2019, according to an annual analysis by the Institute for Young Enterprises (IFJ).

“Despite Covid-19”, as the IFJ puts it, most Swiss regions saw increases in new firms. Central Switzerland and northwestern regions particularly boomed, as did the Zurich region.

The Italian-speaking part of the country, however, which was hard hit by the pandemic, saw a downturn of 10%; the French-speaking area around Lake Geneva also saw a very slight dip.

Sectors which profited most were craft trades (16.7%), consulting (10.2%), retail trade (8.6%), real estate (8.1%) and the finance and insurance (6.8%) sectors. The leisure, travel, and sporting sectors had less of a good year.

Michele Blasucci, founder of the advisory firm, said in a press release last week that “many people, who have long toyed with the idea of founding their own company, managed to use the crisis as an opportunity and put their plans into action”.

Blasucci also reckoned that the waning of the pandemic will in turn lead to a boom in start-ups in more traditional areas which have been affected by restrictions: for example, hospitality, events, travel, and entertainment.

According to the IFJ, the number of new firms created annually has been growing steadily over the past decade. In 2011, the number was around 40,000.

2020 was by no means a good year for the Swiss economy: the economiesuisse business association estimated last month that the economy as a whole contracted by 3.5%. Unemployment is also expected to rise from 3.1% to 3.5% this year.

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