SEF.Award 2017

The most important prize for young entrepreneurs in Switzerland

The Swiss Economic Award has been singling out exceptional start-ups on an annual basis since 1999. Together with our partners we fund its prizes with the aim of fostering Switzerland's entrepreneurial spirit and next generation of business entrepreneurs. The prizewinning start-ups act as exemplars and motivators, encouraging other potential young entrepreneurs to venture towards independence.

The prize-giving ceremony always takes place during the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken. The winners are honoured on the main stage in front of 1350 decision-makers from business, politics, science and the media.

The benefits of winning

The winners will benefit from a unique range of prizes and rewards:

·  Enormous media exposure (particularly for the top 18 companies)
·  Access to a unique SEF.Alumni network
·  Pitch, award ceremony and interviews at the Swiss Economic Forum, broadcast to a live audience of over 200,000 viewers on Swiss television network SRF
·  Guaranteed ticket for the Swiss Economic Forum 2017
·  Prize of CHF 25,000 for each winner
·  In-depth expert feedback
·  Professional video portrait
·  Simplified access to the “SEF4KMU” growth initiative, with new opportunities to have their strategies reviewed and to access financing

Procedure and deadlines

1. You can register online at award.swisseconomic.ch until 31 January 2017. The first stage of the application process takes no longer than ten minutes.

2. Our qualifying team evaluates applications on an ongoing basis and makes a decision on who will qualify for the second round.

3. Those who make it into the second round have two weeks to submit a full application.

4. The dossiers are assessed by experts at a meeting held on 27-28 February 2017, and around 25 companies are chosen to be visited by an expert as part of the next stage.

5. These experts will visit the selected companies between 13-17 March 2017. The top 18 then advance to the next round.

6. At the SEF.Award Campus Day on 6 April 2017, the top 18 companies go head-to-head with pitches and a Q&A session in front of the public and media. Nine will go forward to the final.

7. At the main jury stage on 20-21 April 2017, the 9 finalists introduce themselves in the three categories of Production/Trade & Industry, High-tech / Biotech and Service.

8. The top 9 young entrepreneurs are given the unique opportunity of introducing their company on stage in front of 1,350 business leaders at the Swiss Economic Forum on 1-2 June 2017. The pitches and the award ceremony will be broadcast live on Swiss television network SRF on 2 June 2017.

Terms & conditions of entry

Each year a stellar jury bestows the coveted Swiss Economic Award in three categories:

· Services

· High-tech / Biotech

· Production / Trade & Industry

All start-up companies based in Switzerland and that were founded after 1 Januar 2011, may participate in the 2017 contest. If your start-up is enjoying above-average growth or if you are making a strong impact on your industry through innovation and creativity and have a vast future potential, you should definitely apply for the Swiss Economic Award in one of the three categories.


The Swiss Economic Award bestows prizes in the following three categories:

Switzerland's services sector is gaining in importance year by year. Making a mark in the marketplace calls for high quality and clear differentiation. We single out start-ups that successfully implement these key success factors.

Exports of high-tech and biotechnology are set to become increasingly important for the Swiss economy. As a country with a proud history of research and development, Switzerland can and must play to its strengths. We single out nascent companies that consciously and successfully venture down this route.

Production/Trade & Industry
Makers of, or dealers in, tangible products often exhibit outstanding entrepreneurial acumen. Ingenious solutions and products demonstrating reliability, precision, user-friendliness and value for money do not come from nowhere. We deliberately single out young talent – for the success of tomorrow.

Campus Day

An additional highlight has been added to this year’s staging of the coveted Swiss Economic Award. After the visit by the experts, the first SEF.Award Campus Day will take place on 6 April 2017.

Campus Day will see the top 18 young entrepreneurs present their company in the form of a 10-minute pitch and Q&A session in front of the public, the media and the jury. Furthermore, the young entrepreneurs can showcase their business ideas to the public at the stands and exchange ideas with the SEF.Award alumni present as well as with entrepreneurs from the SEF network. Then, the jury will evaluate the companies alongside additional experts and the public, and will decide on the final 9 companies who will move to the final.

The Campus Day provides an attractive platform where the outstanding achievements of the young entrepreneurs can be honoured further. The popular event also has a strong media presence, which helps boost the profile of our young entrepreneurs considerably.


How long does it take to submit the application?
The online application for the first level will take you around ten minutes. You can expect the compilation of a dossier for the jury at the second level to take around three to four hours.

What is the prize money?
The total prize money is CHF 75,000. The winners in the three categories each receive CHF 25,000.

How do I stand to benefit from the Award?
The enormous benefit is the national media presence, the access to investors and financial backers, and the hugely motivating aspect for the entire team. The Award is also an ideal instrument for attracting and recruiting good people.

Does the award bring me any long-term benefits too?
SEF.Alumni has been created as an interesting network of over 60 highly successful entrepreneurs, membership of which is open only to Swiss Economic Award winners and finalists. Membership is a sure way to find new business opportunities and a framework for intensive cross-industry knowledge exchange.

SQS-certified judging process

The assessment and judging process for the Swiss Economic Award is tested and validated every year by the Swiss Association for Quality and Management Systems (SQS). The selection process has proven its worth since 1999. Of the 41 companies honoured so far, 97 percent have launched on to the market successfully and have a combined turnover of more than CHF 2 billion.




Main jury

A qualified main jury led by president of the jury Ms. Monika Ribar is responsible for choosing the winnners.



Monika Ribar

President of the Jury
Chairwoman of the Board of Directors SBB


Dr. Thomas Bähler

Secretary of the Jury
Partner at Kellerhals Carrard /
Swiss Economic Forum


Christoph Ammann

Member of the Government of the Canton Bern
Minister of Economic Affairs


Veit Dengler


Morten Hannesbo

AMAG Automobil- und Motoren AG


Thomas Landolt

Chairman of the Executive Board
IBM Schweiz AG


Christiane Leister

Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Leister AG


Remo Lütolf

Managing Director
  ABB Switzerland Ltd.


Dr. Felix Mayer

Co-Chairman of the Board & Founder
Sensirion AG


Severin Moser

Allianz Suisse


Christine Novakovic

Head Corporate & Institutional Clients and
Investment Bank Switzerland, UBS


Nicola Thibaudeau

Micro Precision Systems AG


Prof. Martin Vetterli

President of the EPFL


Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Wehrli

Chair in Marketing University of Zurich


Dr. Marcel Widrig

Partner PwC


Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler

Chief Digital Officer Swisscom


All applications received are analysed by a jury of experts and evaluated.



Dr. Peter Balsiger

Businessman and Investor


Dr. Thomas Bähler

Secretary of the Jury
Partner at Kellerhals Attorneys at Law /
Swiss Economic Forum


Stefan Bingisser

Relationship Manager Multinationals


Dr. Bettina Ernst

Preclin Biosystems AG


Dr. Manuel Fankhauser

Partner at Arven Partners GmbH
Associate at Seerave Foundation


Dr. Alban Fischer

Deputy Director
Institut für Geistiges Eigentum


Thomas Frutiger

Co-Proprietor, Board Delegate
Frutiger AG


Thomas Garaio



Martin Gasser

CFO / Managing Director
Reichle Holding AG


Kurt Infeld

Senior Strategy Analyst
Group Strategy & Business Development
Swisscom AG


Rolf Johner

Partner, Certified Auditor


Stefan Kyora



Dr. Vincent Lenders

Head of Research Cyberspace and Information


Dr. Felix Mayer

Co-Chairman of the Board & Founder
Sensirion AG


Dr. Martin Naef

Department Head Automation
ABB Schweiz AG


Theodor Nyfeler

Deputy Head of the Patent Department
Head of Patent and Technology Research
Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property


Bruno Spicher

Head of Corporate Business
Allianz Suisse




Winners 2016



Doppelleu Brauwerkstatt AG

Internal Page:

Jörg Schönberg (Vertriebsleiter), Philip Bucher (Geschäftsführer)

Foundation 2012

Bcomp AG

Internal Page:

Cyrille Boinay (Leiter Märkte), Dr. Christian Fischer (Leiter Produktion)

Foundation 2011
Employees 8
Turnover n.i.

The Nail Company Sarl

Internal Page:

Florence Stumpe (COO), Daniel Stumpe (CEO)

Foundation 2010
Employees 60
Turnover n.i.

Winners 2015



Luma Beef GmbH


Marco Tessaro (CEO), Lucas Oechslin (CEO)

Foundation 2010
Employees 8
Turnover n.i.

PIQUR Therapeutics AG


Gaudenz von Capeller (CFO), Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic (CEO), Prof. Dr. Richard Herrmann (CMO)

Foundation 2011
Employees 15
Turnover n.i.

iNovitas AG


Christian Meier (CEO), Dr. Hannes Eugster (CTO)

Foundation 2011
Employees 18
Turnover CHF 3 million

Winners 2014





David Allemann, Olivier Bernhard, Caspar Coppetti (all founders), Martin Hoffmann (CFO), Marc Maurer (Head of Operations)

Foundation 2010
Employees 40
Turnover n.i.



Dr. Manuel Aschwanden (co-founder/CEO), David Niederer (co-founder/VP R&D), Mark Blum (co-founder/VP R&D)

Foundation 2008
Employees 40
Turnover n.i.



Alexander Mazzara (co-founder/CEO), Dominik Stroppel (co-founder/COO)

Foundation 2009
Employees 129
Turnover n.i.