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New site to aid budding entrepreneurs

SECO launches new service


Anyone launching a new business can get help from the government at a new Internet site which offers quick access to lists of specialists and other helpful information. It is expected to be online by the end of September.

The new Internet portal by the state secretariat for economic affairs (see address below) will cover dozens of topics.

"In the first stage we'll offer targeted information," says Philippe Jeanneret, who is responsible for the task force which put the site together, "At the moment, it's possible to locate all the information on the Internet but it's difficult to find because you have to know the structure of the administration."

Jeanneret adds that his project will simplify the search for information and focus entirely on the needs of those wanting to set up in business.

Advice, addresses, insights

The site will give people access to lists of specialists able to give business advice, helpful addresses and testimonies from those who've already succeeded in building a company from scratch.

The portal won't go as far as telling people how to draw up a business plan but it's hoped it will improve communications between the federal administration and the business community.

Some have expressed surprise that the portal doesn't already exist but Jeanneret dismisses any criticism,

"If you compare Switzerland with other European countries, we aren't late," he says, "And it's not difficult to set up a new business in Switzerland compared to other European countries. We are just improving our processes and simplifying our structures with this project."

Million-franc budget

The new portal is being developed from an existing site which offers help to small and medium sized businesses already in operation.

It has an annual budget of SFr1.2 million and employs six people.

In future, it's hoped to further develop the service so people can actually set up their business without ever leaving the comfort of their computer screen.

The economics ministry says Switzerland already compares well with the rest of Europe in the help it gives new entrepreneurs but it hopes the new site will make the business of setting up in business a little less stressful.

by Michael Hollingdale.

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