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  • Amy Murphy

Funding for disruptive start-ups in Switzerland: Innosuisse Programmes

In this article, we will explore two key programmes offered by Innosuisse: Start-up Innovation Projects and the Swiss Accelerator. Additionally, we will highlight international collaborative funding initiatives promoted by Innosuisse, providing opportunities for global partnerships.

Recently, Innosuisse has announced a call for Swiss Accelerator projects in 2023, short proposal submissions will open on the 28th of August until the 9th of October. If you are an innovative start-up in Switzerland seeking funding, you may already be aware of the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, which offers a variety of funding programs tailored to support start-ups at different stages of development. However, choosing the most suitable program for your start-up is essential - so let's delve into these programmes.

Racap Table: Innosuisse Start-Up Projects VS Swiss Accelerator

Call for applications - ongoing basis

Innosuisse's Start-up Innovation Projects programme is designed to provide financial support to science-based start-ups prior to market entry. The programme aims to facilitate the efficient introduction of new products and services, enabling start-ups to establish a strong foothold in the market.

​ Eligibility Criteria:

​ Evaluation Process and Funding:

  • ​Registered in Switzerland

  • Established for less than 5 years (with exceptional cases of up to 10 years)

  • Early technological stage (TRL 3 and lower)

  • Maximum of 50 full-time employees

  • Business model with scalability potential beyond linear growth

  • ​​Covers up to 70% of direct costs for approved projects

  • The remaining 30% to be borne by the start-up.

  • The evaluation process takes from 6-8 weeks.

  • No specific budget restriction.

  • Projects can have a duration of up to 36 months.


Call for Applications - short proposals - opens on the 28th of August until the submission deadline of 09 October 2023 at 12:00 CEST (at noon)

For start-ups that have already entered the market and achieved a certain degree of technological readiness, the Swiss Accelerator programme provides support for rapid growth and scaling. This programme is ideal for advanced projects with high potential for market disruption.

As Swiss startups remain ineligible for Horizon Europe proposals, including those from the European Innovation Council (EIC), the Federal Council has made the decision to maintain the Swiss Accelerator as a transitional measure.

​ Eligibility Criteria:

​ Evaluation Process and Funding:

  • ​Registered office in Switzerland

  • Established for less than 10 years

  • Maximum of 250 full-time employees

  • High degree of innovation, reaching Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or above

  • Not receiving funding from the EIC Accelerator or listed on SECO's sanctions register

  • The evaluation process duration: 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Funding that covers up to 70% of direct costs, with a maximum funding amount of 2.5 million CHF per application.

  • The programme provides flexibility in terms of project duration, allowing start-ups to align their funding with project timelines.

Application Process: To apply for Innosuisse programmes, follow these steps:  Submit a short application via the INNOLINK platform.  If your short application is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application. Based on the evaluation of your full application, you may be invited to present your project to a jury. The final funding decision is made by the Innosuisse Innovation Council.

Evaluation Criteria:

When applying for Start-up Innovation Projects or the Swiss Accelerator, your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

1. Degree of Innovation: Showcase the innovative nature of your project, differentiating it from existing solutions and leveraging application-oriented research. Highlight the potential for a quick market launch.

2. Value Creation: Demonstrate the market conditions, trends, and early traction your project has generated. Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), develop a comprehensive commercialization strategy, and emphasize the value your project brings to the Swiss economy and society.

3. Cost-Benefit Ratio: Present a convincing cost-benefit ratio that demonstrates the potential impact and benefits of your project, aligning with the high-risk, high-benefit nature of Start-up Innovation Projects.


Innosuisse also facilitates international collaborations through various funding initiatives. These initiatives include:

- EUROSTARS: Fosters collaboration between Swiss SMEs and international SMEs.

- EUREKA: Supports cross-border innovation projects.

- Bilateral Calls: Promotes innovation projects with partner countries across the globe.

- EU Partnership Calls: Encourages EU projects with a thematic focus.

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