| Setting up your business

Doing business in Switzerland

The Basel Area is Switzerland’s most innovative economic region, with the ideal mix of hard and soft location factors for global, European and Swiss headquarters.

An economic powerhouse and compelling business location

You’ll find a comprehensive overview for setting up business in Switzerland in the handbook for investors.

Labor laws. Liberal labor laws allow entrepreneurs to grow or reduce their workforce very flexibly. Notice periods are short, social contributions costs are low and there are practically no strikes thanks to traditionally strong social partnerships. Bilateral agreements with the EU and fast-moving authorities allow you to bring employees easily from abroad to the Basel region. Download our Labour market and labor law PDF for further information.

Permits. Bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU mean that all EU27 and EFTA citizens enjoy full freedom of movement without any restrictions on the number of permits (quotas) – so they are virtually on a par with Swiss citizens as regards the labor market. Residence and work permits for citizens of countries outside the EU and EFTA are subject to quotas. For highly qualified people and specialists, managers and scientists, it is usually possible to obtain a permit. Download our Visas, residence permits and work permits PDF for further information.

Financing. Short-term business loans and long-term investment loans from banks and also equity financing by numerous business angels, venture capitalists and private equity investors are available. In addition to private-sector investors, Switzerland and the Basel region also provide selected instruments for the support of entrepreneurs, such as tax relief and contributions in the case of research collaboration between companies and universities. Download our Financial center and capital market PDF for further information.

Legal forms. In Switzerland, a business operated for profit must be registered in a recognized legal form. Foreign companies usually select one of the following forms: a limited liability company (GmbH), a stock corporation (AG) or a branch office. The essential details of these legal forms is outlined below:

Limited Liability Company (GmbH)
Stock Corporation (AG)
Branch office
Formal requirement Notary public certificate, entry in commercial registry Notary public certificate, entry in commercial registry Entry in commercial registry
Purpose Commercial purpose or non-profit Commercial purpose or non-profit Commercial purpose or non- profit (legally affiliated with parent company, commercially independent)
Founder(s) At least 1 individual person or legal entity At least 1 individual person or legal entity Parent company
Institution Annual general meeting, executive director, statutory auditor Annual general meeting, board of directors, statutory auditor Authorized agent, permanent resident of Switzerland
Liability Company assets Company assets Joint liability of parent company
Minimum capital requirement CHF 20,000 (fully paid in) CHF 100,000 (min. CHF 50,000 paid in) No minimum capital requirement
Advantages
  • Limited liability
  • Low minimum capital requirement
  • Limited liability
  • Anonymity
  • Controlled by parent company
  • No minimum capital requirement
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With the ideal complement of hard and soft location factors, the Basel Area is made for those who need a fast moving and future-oriented, high-tech location.

The business location for you

  • Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology and digital health
  • Chemical industry, nanotechnology
  • Precision engineering, watchmaking and machine tools
  • Logistics and commerce
  • Financial services
  • ICT
  • Exhibitions, conventions and fairs

Find out what the Basel Area has to offer.

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