Innosuisse start-up training courses are delivered online


Despite coronavirus, Innosuisse is continuing courses in modules 2 to 4 of the Start-up Training programme. The Start-up Training providers – Venturelab, the EPFL Innovation Park Foundation, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and the University of Bern – have turned them into interactive e-learning without disruption, while maintaining the focus around the key areas of experiential learning, customer centricity and gamification.


Through Start-up Training, Innosuisse offers young entrepreneurs tailor-made support in the form of awareness and training programmes. Close to 3,500 participants benefited from this programme in 2019. Following their suspension in March, the university courses are now conducted via distance learning. An average of 50 hours of interactive training per week are delivered online continuously.

Adaptability and creativity
The providers have demonstrated adaptability and creativity in their training model. The courses are held live on Zoom, enabling groups to break out into different virtual rooms. According to Philipp Winteler, who is Programme Manager at Venturelab, “We had to react quickly to the situation. In just two days, the courses were ready to be delivered online.” Zuzana Sediva, a participant and Pioneer Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), is pleased: “The online format, which has been adapted to this new, unexpected situation, will be a learning exercise for us for the future.”

The course providers use various strategies to address the limitations that online courses can present, such as the lack of direct audience feedback, networking and team spirit among participants. For example, the University of Basel uses a tool that allows sketches to be drawn on an online whiteboard to discuss the frameworks used in entrepreneurship education. Aurélie Moser, a coach at the University of Basel, says: “The three hours of teaching flew by, and the team used new online collaboration tools and sketching techniques to ascertain client needs and create the respective frameworks. After a full group session, we broke out into five virtual rooms. Although it was late by the end, I still had a lot of energy and even finished my sketches with my 3-year-old son on my lap.” Programme Managers Lan Zuo Gillet and Iohannès Bry also used specific approaches for the “Science to Market” bootcamp programme from the EPFL Innovation Park Foundation. “Potential clients are interviewed by video and then introduced to the class. A quiz integrated into the slides enables a direct dialogue. Participants can also prioritise issues using notes”, they explain. The EPFL Innovation Park Foundation also plans to offer home delivery vouchers and to eat together virtually to promote social interaction.

Today creates tomorrow
This new type of training ushers in the world of tomorrow. As Anil Sethi, coach and trainer at ZHAW’s Startup Campus, says, “Operating in a virtual environment also encourages technology start-ups to recognise the need for digital communications - their window to the world. Once the crisis is over, Swiss start-ups may be in a better position to send a clearer message to the market and strengthen their digital presence.” Egle Thomas, coach and trainer, also points out the benefits: “Interactive e-learning enables start-up managers to acquire advanced digital and virtual work skills. By transferring these skills and knowledge of online collaboration tools to their teams, entrepreneurs can run their businesses more efficiently and resiliently. These skills can then be put to good use both internally and with external collaborators.”

(Press release / SK)