New data on fast growing new businesses

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office has published a new analysis of newly created companies. The majority of the analysis makes general statements on young companies, but there are also results on so-called gazelles.

According to the new publication of the Federal Statistical Office, in 2018 a total of 556,574 companies were active in the market in the secondary or tertiary sector. Of these, 39 608 (7.1% of all companies) were founded "ex nihilo" in the same year. Both the number of active enterprises and newly created enterprises increased slightly (+0.2% and +0.8% respectively) compared to 2017.

The most dynamic sectors in terms of the birth rate were "information and communication" (10.0%), "education" (9.2%), and "financial and insurance services" (8.9%).

Swiss companies start their activities with a small number of employees. In 2018 an average of 1.4 persons were employed in a company at the time of creation. The new businesses created 54 052 new jobs (1.2% of total employment). The number of new jobs created (+1.1%) also increased.

New data on fast growing start-ups

For the first time, the FSO is able to publish data on gazelles, which represent a subgroup of high-growth companies. Gazelles are less than five years old, have increased their number of employees by at least 10% over three years and have already employed at least ten people at the beginning of their growth. The analysis of the FSO reveals a total of 212 companies founded in 2013 and 2014. This means that a good 100 companies per founding year have increased the number of employees by more than 10% over three years.

For data protection reasons, the small total number of gazelles in Switzerland does not allow for a detailed breakdown of the results. However, a breakdown by economic sector and major region is possible. Of the 212 gazelles, 35 are from the secondary sector and 177 from the tertiary sector. At the level of the greater region, Zurich has the most gazelles (51), while Ticino and Eastern Switzerland have only 13 gazelles.

Low survival rate

In contrast to technology-based start-ups, such as those examined in the Swiss Startup Radar, average new businesses have significantly lower survival rates. After two years the survival rate is around 70%, after three years around 60% and after five years more than one in two companies has ceased operations. Survival seems to be most difficult in the "Hotels and restaurants, accommodation" sector. Fewer than four out of ten enterprises have made it beyond the first five years.

In 2016, 36 323 companies in Switzerland definitively ceased their activities, resulting in 49 062 job losses. In the same year, the 39 125 "ex nihilo" companies created 53 031 new jobs. Since 2013, the number of company closures and associated job losses has increased each year, but has always remained below the number of newly created companies.

(Press release / SK)