As one of the worldwide leading innovation countries, Switzerland has an opportunity to make its unique technological expertise and innovation competences available to society by supporting entrepreneurial solutions that have the potential to achieve sustainable impact in a comprehensive sense, i.e. in economic, environmental and societal terms.
The objective of the “Switzerland Innovation Tech4Impact Initiative” (SI Tech4Impact) was to facilitate the realization of innovation projects that tackle society’s most pressing environmental and societal challenges, focusing on selected themes of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
To achieve this ambition, SI Tech4Impact promoted the development of ground-breaking projects that focus on real market applications by supporting research groups of Swiss universities as well as startups and SMEs collaborating with research partners. This initiative was led by Switzerland Innovation conjointly with E4S Tech4Impact and collaboratio helvetica.
The companies supporting SI Tech4Impact as innovation partners were the following ABB, Credit Suisse, Die Mobiliar, Economiesuisse, Interpharma, Schindler, Swiss Re Foundation, Swisscom, UBS, and Zurich.
The SI Tech4Impact initiative awarded 18 selected projects with a one-year project grant of up to CHF 85.000 each. The program focused specifically on projects that aim to tackle one of the following SDGs:
- SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
- SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy
- SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
- SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
- SDG 13 – Climate action
For more information on the SDGs, please refer to https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/
The jury was composed by 5 members with a strong expertise in sustainability (economic, ecological and social) stemming from the academia, the industry and the NGO-sector.
The jury evaluated projects according to the following evaluation criteria:
- Severity of addressed societal or environmental project
- Relevance of the proposed project for tackling this societal or environmental problem
- Novelty of the project vis-à-vis current technological state of the art
- Competitiveness vis-à-vis existing solutions
- The qualification and experience of the project team & of the research partners
- Team’s ability to realize the project
- Potential to transfer scientific evidence into a marketable product or service
- Scalability potential (in terms of markets and impact)
- Validity of proposed use of the budget with clear breakdowns (funding to be used within the 12-month period)
Upscale22 is a project by Gaia Technologies to develop a novel technology to upcycle agro waste into bio-compounds and added-value resources. It tackles the ever-increasing trend to substitute synthetic compounds by natural alternatives in the cosmetics, food and feed sector. https://www.gaiatech.ch/
The SITech4Impact program has played a crucial role in providing science-based startups with a comprehensive framework and grants to progress and actively contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Innovation Partners, including ABB, Credit Suisse, Die Mobiliar, Economiesuisse, Interpharma, Schindler, Swiss Re Foundation, Swisscom, UBS, and Zurich, have been instrumental in supporting university spinoffs and research groups during the critical early stages of product development for the market. This strategic collaboration has been the cornerstone for these incubated technologies to not only survive but thrive, experiencing substantial growth.
Over four years, the collaborative innovation ecosystem nurtured by the SI Tech4Impact program has been a driving force, propelling Swiss technologies with a sustainable global impact, stimulating economic growth, and creating new job opportunities within the industry.
Through three cohorts, the program successfully incubated 18 projects, with 7 of them already making a tangible impact in the market. The incubated technologies have collectively further raised over an impressive 20 million Swiss Francs to ensure sustained growth and development.
This transformative impact has extended beyond financial metrics, contributing to the creation of 70 new jobs, thereby enhancing economic vitality and fostering a resilient and thriving innovation ecosystem in Switzerland.
Read the SI Tech4Impact Impact Report 2020-2023