Swiss Blockchain cluster is outstanding but far from completed

Researchers of the BI Norwegian Business School have examined the industrial competitiveness of the Swiss Blockchain Technology Cluster. Based on their findings in their study “The Swiss Blockchain Technology Cluster”, they elaborated recommendations to foster the competitiveness of the industry cluster. There is a lack of competent VC capital, and the number of cluster associtions is too high according to the study.

The following challenges have been identified:

Absent Value Creation: Flagship projects are needed to show value potential for third parties. The study recommends showing the value addition of the blockchain industry by promoting flagship projects. This would make the benefits of a blockchain industry more tangible and would foster the entrepreneurial spirit within Switzerland.

Capital Access for Blockchain Startups: There is a lack of competent VC capital. The shift from ICO to STO might reduce the capital availability even more due to higher restrictions. To attract competent capital from VC firms, startups need to provide clear information about their blockchain vision and have a fundamental concept for the development phase. Consulting services for the STO fund raising approach need to be offered from advisory firms in the future.

Number of Cluster Associations: The high number of associations complicate the representation of cluster interests and international participation. The different cluster associations need to unify to one ultimate cluster organisation to consolidate interests and create a common vision and milestones. This organisation should represent the whole cluster in an international context and coordinate joint events and activities.

Research Coordination: The academic institutions need to coordinate their communication and collaboration regarding research activities. The alignment of the academic institutions in terms of communication and research activities should be handled through a specifically dedicated cluster association. It could establish research and development projects across the industry and firms.

Furthermore, they assessed the competitiveness of Switzerland in terms of a favourable environment for digital industries beyond tax advantages.

They identified the shortage of skilled labour in engineering, technician and IT professions as a major challenge. It is recommended to establish an immigration program to attract skilled people to Switzerland. Any immigration restrictions should be abolished. Structural boundaries are mentioned as further barrier of a higher competitiveness. The whole process of starting a business should be reduced and simplified and entrepreneurship programs in schools could increase and foster early acceptance of entrepreneurship in society. Finally, the collaboration of federal and cantonal authorities that promote technological and economic development needs to be improved. The study recommends a federal cluster policy to provide financing and training initiatives to foster the whole cluster development.

Source: Daniel Becker, Fabian Spiess, Jonathan Rau: „The Swiss Blockchain Technology Cluster, Strategies for Industrial Competitiveness.“ Master Thesis, BI Norwegian Business School.

Download the study here. Download the presentation here.

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