Kickstart, one of Europe’s largest innovation platforms, is welcoming applications for the fifth iteration of its annual B2B scale-up program aimed at late-stage start-ups interested in entering the Swiss market.
Around 100 entrepreneurs will join the three-month program in September to connect and create specific pilots and commercial projects with one of Kickstart’s 50 corporate and public sector partners, which include businesses like AXA, Roche, Credit Suisse, and Lafarge Holcim.
“What we found really valuable about the Kickstart was not just the advice and support we received throughout, but the high-level access we were given to some of Switzerland’s top businesses,” said Vic Arulchandran, co-founder from FinTech Nivaura and format Kickstart participant. “In three months, Kickstart opened doors for us that would have taken three years on our own.”
Kickstart welcomes applications from all over the world and is particularly keen to hear from businesses applying deep tech to one of its five key verticals: EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech, Food & Retail, HealthTech, and Smart City & Technology. This year for the first time there will be a strong focus on the Circular Economy across the whole program.
Successful applicants will connect closely with executives from leading Swiss corporations, universities, municipalities, foundations and other partners to develop innovative partnerships that solve real business challenges. Participants will learn about business development and scaling in the Swiss market.
“Switzerland is a very attractive market for later-stage startups: We are regularly recognized as a world leader for innovation and our leading organizations have a big appetite for new technologies and solutions,” explains Katka Letzing, Co-Founder of Kickstart.
“It can be challenging for aspiring entrants to gain access to the Swiss market, and promising opportunities for collaboration can be lost. Kickstart aims to overcome this hurdle by bridging the gap between startups and organizations, allowing them to tackle real-world solutions and to innovate together.”
Kickstart is a spin-off of Impact Hub Zurich and was founded by digital Switzerland. To date, it has been supported by more than 140 of Switzerland’s biggest businesses, enabling the program to be offered free of charge and to take no equity in participating startups.