Innosuisse helps companies bear innovation risks according to new survey

The Swiss Economic Institute KOF at ETH Zurich has surveyed all companies that had submitted applications for innovation projects and innovation cheques to Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency. The study shows that Innosuisse supports highly innovative companies’ risky innovation projects.

The results provide a deeper insight into the innovation behaviour of funding clients and allow a comparison to be made with other innovative Swiss companies that have not submitted an application to Innosuisse. They underline special characteristics of the companies supported by Innosuisse.

Young, ambitious and innovative

Innosuisse’s project funding reaches a comparatively large number of young, strongly export-oriented companies, which are less exposed to competition in their market and more productive than companies that do not apply for support. They also expect market demand to increase in the future. The survey also shows that 80 percent of Innosuisse’s funding clients are classified as innovative, compared with 64 percent in the high-tech sector and 33 percent in the economy as a whole according to the figures from the Swiss Innovation Survey. Furthermore, the share of expenditure on research and development (R&D) is much higher in supported companies as a percentage of turnover. They are also investing more heavily in R&D abroad and in cooperation with external partners.

Efficiently translating science into business

The results show that the funding agency supports innovation projects of companies that produce above-average economically successful innovations with relatively fewer funding for R&D. Innosuisse’s funding clients are thus more efficient in translating their R&D efforts into new and commercially successful products or services. They also have higher sales shares of products that are new to the market. This underlines the innovative strength of the funding clients.

Projects with higher risks

According to the survey, Innosuisse approves innovation projects considered by the applicant companies to be higher risk. Innosuisse thus helps companies to bear their higher innovation risks.

For the authors of the KOF study, Professor Martin Wörter and Andrin Spescha, certain differences were to be expected between the companies supported by Innosuisse and other companies that are active in research and development in Switzerland. But it is nevertheless surprising to see the clear differences in the three characteristics mentioned. Furthermore, the survey shows that the funding clients rate the benefit of Innosuisse’s project funding as high. Almost 80 percent of the companies surveyed rate the funding as useful or very useful. The riskier the projects, the higher the estimated benefit. SMEs see additional needs with regard to making funding more flexible, supporting radical innovations and accelerating the innovation process. For Innosuisse, the results emphasise the fact that the two funding instruments examined are very well geared to the needs of innovative SMEs and are appreciated accordingly.

(Press release / SK)