Insights and a new award


The Swiss Economic Forum took place in Montreux on Wednesday and Thursday. Several speakers stressed the importance of the team in times of crisis. There was also news from the organisers: they launched a new award for female entrepreneurs. Applications are open.


The Swiss Economic Forum held this year in Montreux was the first major business meeting since the beginning of the pandemic in Switzerland. The focus of most talks and discussions lay on the crisis and its impact. Several entrepreneurs talked about their experiences. Among them was Tobias Rein, co-founder and principal engineer at GetYourGuide. The platform was heavily affected when international travel came to a complete standstill. The revenue dropped by 90%. However, GetYourGuide, using the instrument of “Kurzarbeit”, did not cut any jobs and the engineering team kept on working 100%. “We want to be ready when the travel sector picks up speed again”, Tobias Rein explained.

Roland Brack faced a different problem during the lockdown: orders exploded in his online shop. The participatory corporate culture at proved its worth in this situation. “With a top-down culture, we would never have been able to cope with the onslaught,” said the entrepreneur. Caspar Coppetti, co-founder at On recommended a participatory corporate culture for another reason. “Founders who are not able to delegate the daily business to their team are the single most important reason for slow growth”, he said at the side event of SEF4KMU in Montreux.

Apart from the talks and discussions, the organisers made a special announcement: they launched, the SEF.WomenAward, a new award designed to recognise the outstanding entrepreneurial track record of women and to provide a platform for women entrepreneurs.

Participants will compete in two award categories; “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” and “Entrepreneur/CEO of the Year”. For the young entrepreneur of the year, aspirants should be between 18 and 40 years old, created one or more enterprises in which they hold an active position. The company should be younger than ten years with headquarters in Switzerland, or a significant part of the value-added in Switzerland. Eligible to apply for the Entrepreneur/CEO of the Year are female entrepreneurs or CEOs who own a company or hold an active position there. The company should be less than ten years old with headquarters, and significant parts of the value-added located in Switzerland.

The winners will have the opportunity to participate in the award ceremony during a gala evening on 12th January 2021, in Zurich and secure a ticket for SEF.2021. Moreover, the winners will get access to the SEF.Founder network, media coverage including a portrait in the NZZ am Sonntag and various SEF channels.

In addition to the main categories, the jury will bestow a special prize on a personality that contributes to the development of Switzerland’s business environment. The jury will nominate the candidates that will qualify for the award.

A female-only jury with prominent members
The jury comprises of 11 female members of high calibres. Among them are prominent leaders such as Nicole Burth Tschudi, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland and President of the main jury for the SEF.WomenAward, Marie-France Tschudin, President Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Petra Gössi, Parteipräsidentin FDP, Philomena Colatrella, CEO CSS, and Jessica Anderen, CEO Ikea Schweiz. Lea von Bidder, Co-Founder and CEO of Ava, and Yaël Meyer, Co-Founder Zeam will also have a seat in the jury.

(SK/RAN)Picture: Roland Brack on the SEF stage / SEF