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This year’s SEF.Niesen Bergpreis is presented by SEF founders Stefan Linder and Peter Stähli in retrospect of the 20th anniversary. The winner is Ali Cöcel, founder of Cöcel Reinigungen at the young age of only 18 years. His company offers efficient housework solutions operating with innovative electronic services and reacting to individual customer requests.

The surprise guests for Friday’s Discovery Channel are the young people participating in the SEF-project ‘next generation’. During several days 30 youths are able to take part in the programme, facing several entrepreneurial challenges. René Schudel, renowned cook and one of their mentors, passes on the message that it needs hard work to achieve something. Two young participants embodying a real thirst for action appeal the older generation to be open and welcoming – in particular towards women.

L.E.S.S., Topadur Pharma and FAIRTIQ are the winners of the Swiss Economic Award 2018

Winner of this year’s SEF.Award in the section production / trade is L.E.S.S SA, captivating with a profitable company, steady growth and sustainable innovation.

The award for high-tech / biotech goes to Topadur Pharma AG for solving big medical problems outside of large pharmaceutical companies and showing pragmatic solutions for complexities.

FAIRTIQ AG receives the prize in the category services, convincing the jury with their strategic partnerships, the considerable growth and the surprising simplicity of their product’s use.

The President of the Confederation, Alain Berset, gives a hello from the government side. He shows the political view on digitalisation. Everyone wants to know what we have to change. It is rather a question of what we shouldn’t change though in these times of rapid digital evolution. We need orientation and a certain continuity to be able to adapt to the new technologies. Swiss economy has its basis on the solid political institutions, its federalism, its social security system and its educations system. In the end it is crucial to keep the equilibrium between the stability and the change.

Aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen darf die Aufzeichnung des Auftrittes nicht publiziert werden.

John Kerry, former Secretary of State of the U.S.A., shows a strong pride for his country though answers the question of whether his 2004-campaign for U.S.-presidency resembles current President’s Donald Trump with “Hell, no!” and does not feel much like talking about the current President in general. He warns of the actual tendencies to forget about historical developments and the danger of isolation. Political dialogue is missed in this time where there is no common platform anymore with everyone gathering and self-selecting news. His future will be consumed by the defence of his achievements in particular concerning the Iran nuclear deal framework and the Paris Agreement.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu sees herself in particular as ‘from the other side’, since Africa is seen as a sleeping continent, not participating in the global economy. With soleRebels, Alemu established a successful shoe manufacture and later a coffee company in one of Africa’s poorest regions. For her, the contribution to the community is important since through this investment, she can count on them backing her up as well. “The kind of aid we are receiving is not helping, it is killing, we should do business, and only business!” is her appeal to the audience.

Enzo Enea, landscape architect, took over his father’s garden supply company 20 years ago. His motto is “integration before decoration”, implementing and replanting trees rather than placing flowerpots. His international success is a result of risking something and exposing oneself in an international context. What makes Enea GmBH different from its national and global competitors is the access to specialized craftsmen in the company itself. Finally he is congratulated by Susanne Wille since it is not only the SEF’s birthday, but his as well.

Aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen darf die Aufzeichnung des Auftrittes nicht publiziert werden.

Keyu Jin, London Economic School professor, stands up for China’s future potential. According to her, a Chinese economic crisis is unlikely to happen. Staggering GDP-growth is due to misallocation of capital through fiscal stimulus whereas short-term GDP growth is quite sure but long-term effects are rather negative. Jin lists the opportunities as well as the risks of economic activities in China. There is a huge potential in urbanization, services, the widely spread sense of entrepreneurship, the tech-friendly eco-system and most importantly a new generation of willing consumers. At the end she exhorts the audience pointing out to the caution needed when requesting the opening up of Chinese economy since one should not forget that China is still a developing country.

Mark Dixon’s enters his speech raising the question where we will work in the future. There is a certain trend for people to not uproot themselves for a job in the city anymore but to work where they actually live. Digitalisation makes it possible. On the other hand the physical contact and social interaction become more valuable. Flexible workspaces are needed. Reengineering a business for the digital wold, build an output-based culture, focus on interaction and empower people are the most important investments for the future according to expert in flexible workplace organisation.

Aude Pugin is CEO of APCO Technologies SA involved in space travel: “Innovation is not only a thing of start-ups”, she says. Her field demands a high level of innovation, especially when compared with the American market. APCO’s being a small company allows a high flexibility and serves as a complement to their significantly bigger clients. Since the majority of the clientele is international, communication is one of their most important tools. Her being a role model is no big deal for Pugin, she believes in the change of mentalities and everyone’s sincere self-reflection.

Economist and best-selling author Tim Harford starts with a Keith Jarret story about his supposedly worst concert when faced with an unplayable piano. The concert turned out to be a great success. Harford emphasizes on embracing the mess. Stressful situations produce a certain psychology of attention where one has to find new and often better solutions. When confronted with unusual situations and strangers we usually feel a certain resistance. But it’s especially these specific situations that evoke spontaneity, creativity and new approaches.

Stuart Russel, global expert in artificial intelligence (AI), has his talk about to what extent AI will affect both the human race and the economy. He leads through the ‘mind’ of a machine. Humans are the machine’s biggest difficulty since we are very unpredictable and human behaviour doesn’t always correspond to the person’s true objective. AI may eventually overtake human abilities but will be released only under the condition of being provably beneficial. To face policing and regulation problems concerning human objectives fed to a machine will therefore be one of the central steps to take next.

Ola Orekunrin left everything behind and gave up a promising career to found the Flying Doctors in Nigeria when living through a family tragedy. She emphasizes that a rebranding of Africa as a place where one can have a great impact instead of linking it to an only aid-driven development. In this regard her company is a role model, focusing on financial sustainability and having a huge social scope. Linking back to Mark Dixon’s Keynote, she is interested in the opportunity for people to work from home, seeing a chance in this model for the mainly young African population.

Lars P. Feld, professor for economic policy and constitutional economics at the University of Freiburg, elaborates on the economic situation of Europe. According to him there are several risks. According to him the current situation with the perspective of exiting the European currency Union will lead to a collapse of the Italian economy and debt issues for the remaining countries. The other big issue are the current anti-global tendencies, as lived in Donald Trump’s politics. “Globalisation is the only working mean against poverty” and it is our duty to acknowledge the direct effects on economy of our direct democracy.

In the discussion Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB in Switzerland, and Peter Spuhler, owner of Stadler, elaborate on the topic of cooperation and leadership. In their field, size matters, simplification of both internal structures and the main offers is a big issue for keeping the company agile. Current difficulties lie in insecurities and unpredictability connected to U.S. politics. Precise technology and education is most important and counts as one of the best Swiss export products. “We have to focus on a forward movement”, says Spiesshofer. Diversity and the ‘wide range’ are Spuhler’s agenda. “Unconventional thinkers: yes, chaos: no” is both the conclusion of the speakers and the audience.

In the discussion Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB in Switzerland, and Peter Spuhler, owner of Stadler, elaborate on the topic of cooperation and leadership. In their field, size matters, simplification of both internal structures and the main offers is a big issue for keeping the company agile. Current difficulties lie in insecurities and unpredictability connected to U.S. politics. Precise technology and education is most important and counts as one of the best Swiss export products. “We have to focus on a forward movement”, says Spiesshofer. Diversity and the ‘wide range’ are Spuhler’s agenda. “Unconventional thinkers: yes, chaos: no” is both the conclusion of the speakers and the audience.

Ava AG is a Swiss company engaged in Biotech, having developed a fertility bracelet.

Less SA stands for light efficient systems and is successful in different fields with their nanoactive fiberglass technology.

Relish Brothers AG produces electric guitars, making modifications for different demands easily possible.

Batmaid is the first online platform for private household and office services, improving work conditions and the better relaying of customer and supplier.

FAIRTIQ is an innovative app technology for public transport systems where after a journey the customer is automatically charged for the most reasonable price.

ZKIPSTER launched a smart guest list to ensure the guests’ optimal experience of a company’s event.

Bestmile is a platform generating a more efficient organization and coordination of individual mobility as well as mobility services, including self-driven vehicles.

Nanolive is a new technology which allows 3D-monitoring of cells on a microscopical level.

Topadur Pharma AG develops new medications for accelerated wound healing especially in the field of local blood circulation.

Fotos

SEF.Niesen Bergpreis 2018

SEF.NextGen 2018

SEF.2018 Award – Award Ceremony

ALAIN BERSET

Federal President and Head of the

JOHN KERRY

US Secretary of State (2013 – 2017)

BETHLEHEM TILAHUN ALEMU

Founder & Managing Director

ENZO ENEA

Founder & CEO

KEYU JIN

Professor of Economics

MARK DIXON

CEO & Founder

AUDE PUGIN

CEO

TIM HARFORD

Economist and best-selling author

STUART RUSSELL

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

OLA OREKUNRIN

CEO and Founder

LARS P. FELD

Professor of Economic Policy

ULRICH SPIESSHOFER

CEO of

PETER SPUHLER

Chairman and owner

SEF.Award 2018 – Production/Trade & Industry

SEF.Award 2018 – Pitches Services

SEF.Award 2018 – Pitches Hightech/Biotech