Annelise Alig Anderhalden is a trained engineer and Director of Aargau Services Economic Promotion. She had experience as a Management Consultant prior to joining Aargau Services. Aargau, one of Switzerland’s leading high-tech cantons, provides employment for 300,000 people and is home to 30,000 companies. Switzerland has topped the ranking of the Innovative Union Scoreboard in Europe for many years, and in 2013 was again awarded the top spot. Standard & Poor’s also rates Aargau with “Triple A”, the best rating for business locations.
ON THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT BENEFITS OFFERED BY AARGAU
The region offers a remarkable concentration of skilled staff with high-tech expertise. It is renowned for its research and educational institutions and the high-quality education. Furthermore, the region offers excellent national and international connections and an attractive tax environment. You find idyllic living close to beautiful rural environments as well as historical cities with lively cultural and leisure options. These factors make the canton of Aargau a place where companies and their employees can all benefit.
ON THE ADVANTAGES OF AARGAU’S UNPRECEDENTED GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION
Its outstanding location, just a short distance from the international airports in Zurich and Basel, means that companies profit from proximity to customers and partners in Switzerland or Europe as well as to internationally experienced logistics providers. Companies have access to an immense talent pool as commuting from all major Swiss cities to Aargau is easy.
ON THE QUALITY OF THE WORKFORCE IN THE AARGAU REGION
Aargau is number one in Switzerland in energy and electrical engineering, nanotechnology and plastics. Many companies in the plastics sector develop and manufacture medical devices. Other key sectors in Aargau are the life sciences industry, information and communication technology, and also the machinery and metalworking industry. Thus, many highly skilled specialists can be found in the region.
Quality never is cheap. Talking about labour costs, one has to have a closer look at the costs per productive hour and should not forget the hidden costs from strikes, regulations such as unions etc. The Swiss labour law is very liberal. Swiss workers are highly productive, reliable and loyal to the employer. They see the working relationship as a partnership and are well educated from the labourer up to the manager. People know what they are doing, and they are doing it with the highest quality – for which you get a good market price. Furthermore, companies profit from the outstanding Swiss infrastructure, the stable and safe environment and an intact nature.
ON AARGAU’S APPEAL TO INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS AND COMPANIES
Aargau is the place to be for innovative companies who need specialised staff for their research & development or who want to profit from the “Swiss made” label in the production of high-quality and high-tech products. Thus, companies that settle in Aargau value the technological know-how. They develop, produce and distribute technology oriented products or industrial services. Due to Aargau’s proximity to renowned research institutions such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), companies are certain to find strong R&D partners.
Aargau offers an unbeatable package: a liberal economic system, political stability, high quality of life and moderate property prices and taxes. A large number of specialist suppliers and the central location right in the middle of the strongest Swiss economic region allow easy development of the European market.
In the canton of Aargau, highest levels of safety, stability, economic and personal freedom as well as great health and educational services are standard fare. It is just a stone’s throw to any cultural highlight in Switzerland or nearby France, Germany and Italy. The cost-of-living is moderate. Aargau therefore counts an unusual high number of families and young people.
Campus FHNW, Brugg-Windisch (c) René Rötheli
ON THE ADVANTAGES OF COLLABORATIVE OPPORTUNITIES BETWEEN SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS, ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS ON OFFER AT AARGAU
The government of Aargau places great stock in research and development as well as the transfer of knowledge to SMEs. For this reason, the Cantonal Executive Council launched the “Hightech Aargau” programme four years ago. Hightech Aargau promotes exchanges and collaboration between SMEs, universities and research institutes, as well as large international corporations. In the context of “Hightech Aargau”, the institution Hightech Zentrum Aargau was founded in 2012. This high-tech consulting centre makes it easier for resident SMEs to gain access to know-how, technology, universities and industry partners. It performs innovation check-ups, analyses innovations, and looks for solutions, appropriate innovation partners and financial support. SMEs can reduce the risks that the innovation process poses to the business and thereby save on the costs of innovating. They also spend less time looking for the knowledge, technology and partners required, and conduct their own initial analysis. Companies can also take advantage of an active network of public and private research facilities and technology providers. The Hightech Zentrum Aargau also provides access to financial support at either cantonal, national or EU level. The key concept here is speed to market.
Aargau is also home of one of the five Swiss Innovation Parks. Located in the close proximity to Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and its unique complex of large research facilities, PARK innovAARE enjoys the collaboration with world leading experts in four main fields: advanced materials and processes, humans and health, accelerator technologies and energy. The purpose of PARK innovAARE is to develop and offer funders and relocating companies an exceptional support programme, to continuously adapt it to the needs of the companies, as well as to market requirements, and to facilitate the exchange between the world of science and the world of business with the aim of transforming investments and technologies into marketable innovations.
The PARK innovAARE will be constructed over different phases. The first building, the deliveryLAB, has been in operation since September 2015. The building comprises the PARK’s first high-quality offices and communication spaces covering 400 m² and offers business and research groups space for settlement. The next construction phase will see the realisation of the buildings with 36’000 m² of floor space. The building will be available for occupancy at the 2nd semester 2019. Wet chemical, biological and physical / technical laboratories are possible as well as workshops and offices.
This, together with strong economic environment, big business clusters and business friendly government, makes PARK innovAARE a place to be for innovative and research oriented companies.
ON THE SUPPORT THAT AARGAU OFFERS HIGH-TECH START-UPS
The canton of Aargau offers a wide range of services and will further increase these efforts to support companies to succeed in their innovation projects. Young talents, entrepreneurs and their families will always find an outstanding, safe and affordable place to work and live.
The government fosters an attractive environment, future-proof structures and services that help companies to run innovation projects and carry out research. The authorities are business-friendly. Our free services include support through the entire process setting up a new business, advice about public funds in Aargau, assistance in finding real estate and in networking with important key contacts.
ON TAKING UP A POSTITION WITH AARGAU SERVICES
After my studies at the ETH, I gained experience as a Management Consultant. Thus, I am familiar with the procedures and work flows at management level.
I know and understand the concerns of entrepreneurs. Speaking their language, I can offer them appropriate solutions.
I worked on government projects as well as for local authorities and public services. Based on these experiences I felt ideally prepared for my job at Aargau Services.
The canton of Aargau is home of many nationally and internationally renowned companies and famous market leaders. Aargau is one of the strongest economic regions in Switzerland with great potentials. I truly enjoy cooperating with existing Aargovian companies and supporting start-ups. It fills me with joy to spread the word and make the benefits the canton of Aargau offers widely known.
ON SUCCESS AND LEADERSHIP
I’m convinced that passion is the key to success. I consider difficult tasks as a challenge and I like to work solution-oriented. According to my experience my staff appreciates clear, realistic targets and challenging tasks. They value immediate, direct and honest feedback. This motivates them to reach their top performance. In addition, to truly achieve excellency it needs a high demand for quality and perseverance.
ON RECRUITMENT AND ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE
I look for ambitious, solution-driven people who are eager to reach demanding objectives. I like people who are committed to the canton of Aargau and are enthusiastic about everything they do on the job. I must be able to fully rely on my staff.
ON BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS AND THE CHOICE OF LOCATIONS
First, assess what are the key success factors of your business. Then evaluate which region best meets the criteria. Ask the local economic promotion agencies for information and advice. Don’t get lured by short-acting incentives. Your company must be competitive and successful on the long term. So put your focus on long-acting locational advantages.
ON WOMEN, ASPIRATIONS AND LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
The same as for males – set a good example, be faithful, loyal and authentically honest. Be enthusiastic about your job and work with joy.