There’s new developments going on in Switzerland as the country is being told it’s time to come out from under the shadow of the longtime banking industry domination and move instead to promoting entrepreneurship among its young people. There have been new government programs such as business grants and stimulus programs to encourage people to start their own companies, but Mike Baur the Executive Chairman of the Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF) is doing even more about it. What he has built at the SSUF, is a company that gets involved with the business building process by bringing in participants and helping them formulate an executable business design.
Mike Baur says there are three foundations to building the building a business that you have to start from if it’s being built from scratch. The first is that you have to make it happen on your own because there are no lucky encounters in entrepreneurship. That means you should be putting your idea into a structure, networking and building your development team and of course preparing to meet with potential investors. The second is that your business should be adaptable and ready for any changes within a few years. And the final step is being willing to take risks, and it’s not about deciding to start a business that’s a risk, but you do take risks with every investment and strategy you put forth as a founder.
Mike Baur went from working long hours in a bank office to now having an active role as a mentor and a relationship builder at the SSUF. He had gone into banking back in 1991 as just a young apprentice, and he was told that he could have a highly lucrative life afterwards if he followed a plan. Baur was very good at spotting big investments and offering good loan advice, and he became a well-respected officer at UBS Bank. He would even become a commercial banking advisor at Clariden Leu later on, but when the US housing market bubble crashed in 2008, the next few years became very difficult for banking. By 2014, Baur decided to retire from banking since he believed he could do better.
Mike Baur began his new endeavor to invest in and spur entrepreneurs by finding Think Reloaded in 2014 and later bringing together Goldback Groupk, Red Bull Media and Helvetien to start the SSUF. The SSUF carefully vets applicants to make sure their business ideas are such that can be profitable to investors. Baur also has moved to bring funding for the SSUF’s successful startups through an office plan that will give companies access to space and equipment as they get started.