When banks started closing in Switzerland back in 2008 and the following years, people may have initially panicked about where everything was headed there considering that banks were the strongholds in that nation for many years. But some including President Johann Schneider-Amman say it’s been time for Switzerland to go into new economic vehicles and that the business community needs to take more risks to bring in business. Mike Baur, the Executive Chairman of the Swiss Startup Factory agrees with this statement and he is promoting risk taking at the company. He believes that ideas can only take hold and become strong businesses if entrepreneurs are willing to make that happen, and investors need to be willing to give them a chance in order to make returns.
Startup investing wasn’t the original vision that Mike Baur had, but after more than 20 years in banking he grew tired of the unchanging routine, and with the growing amount of red tape that made it much harder to help middle class investors than ever before. When he began as a teenage intern at UBS Bank in 1991, things were much different and most young people who went into banking at that time were told their future would be secure. Baur appeared to be heading to the top of the Swiss banking industry when he began managing funds for some of UBS’s top clients, but the 2008 financial crisis changed everything even in Baur’s branch. When UBS Bank began to dissolve he tried another job at Clariden Leu in commercial banking, but this was not long-lived.
Unlike the constants of banking and its failure to adapt to changing consumer demand, Mike Baur realized that the tech revolution coming to the Swiss and other European college campuses could help the nation address the seismic economic shifts, but most of these graduates didn’t have the resources to get started. Baur and his colleague Max Meister believed that with the right networking system and the backing of the right people, these entrepreneurs could get a company established in just three months. They partnered with the Goldback Group and CTI to begin the initial phase of the SSUF, and Baur often does pitch contests and hosts seminars for entrepreneurs to show investors how a startup can benefit them. The 3-month startup program features activities from physical challenges to writing up a plan, and if your startup passes this program, you can enroll in the 360 Office spaces.