Financial packet deemed a success for innovation

The strong franc was squeezing Swiss exporters Keystone

The 2011 package of financial measures to counter the economic impact of the strong Swiss franc has had the desired effect and boosted innovation, according to an external evaluation.

This content was published on February 25, 2014 - 12:10 and agencies

Innovation projects, which faced being shelved, could be implemented and speeded up, said the study, carried out by Zurich’s KOF economic research institute. Export-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were the greatest beneficiaries.

In October  2011, the government agreed a wide-ranging packet of measures to strengthen the Swiss economy, which had been suffering under the effects of the strong franc.

At its highest on August 11 one euro cost CHF1.04; in the previous year it would have cost CHF1.38. In September 2011, the Swiss National Bank intervened, setting a minimum exchange rate target of CHF1.20 to the euro.

As part of the financial package, CHF100 million ($113 million) was earmarked for promoting new projects via the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI).

Of 1,050 applications, about half were evaluated and 245 projects were approved, the CTI said. Three-quarters were SMEs, three-quarters had export ratios of more than 70% and a third were working with the CTI for the first time.

The companies involved were found to have invested “significantly more” in research and development and additional staff than companies which were not supported.

At the end of 2013, 91 projects had been completed and 39 were in the closing stages. They, and the remaining projects, will be evaluated over the coming years.

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