Incubator, technology, and innovation centres in Switzerland: Features and policy implications

A. Thierstein, B. Wilhelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Only since the early 1990s, when unemployment rates in Switzerland soared to unprecedented levels, has federal technology and innovation policy begun to design their activities with regard to employment and the establishment of new firms. Now, all across the country, private as well as public incubator facilities, technology and innovation centres have begun to spring up. This paper starts by describing the theoretical and methodological background of a survey of incubator, technology and innovation (ITI) centres. In a first step, all cantonal offices for economic promotion were asked to report and to describe incubator facilities, technology and innovation centres within their realm. In a second step a selection of centres were analysed in depth. The key findings are that: (1) ITI centres are most commonly established by a combination of public and private initiatives; (2) The main motive for the creation of ITI centres is to promote start-ups and the innovative potential; (3) Most ITI centres offer space to rent and make available joint amenities; (4) ITI centres are predominantly in manufacturing, services, and development activities; their level of technology input is high or very high; and (5) The spatial reach of most of the ITI centre is on the region. Together with selected foreign experiences, some conclusions and recommendations for the operation of such centres are formulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-331
Number of pages17
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Federal and regional innovation and technology policy
  • Incubator
  • Structural change
  • Technology and innovation centre


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