Annual report 2020

It is our mission to establish the Basel Area as the Swiss business and innovation hub of the future.

Top flight companies settling and more startups

In 2020, Basel Area Business & Innovation completely digitized the process of relocation and settling in. We replaced fairs, roadshows and partnering events with online conferences and webinars. Instead of presenting the region and important contact partners to visitors in person, we arranged online meetings. The aim of digitization was to a low-threshold participation of clients under the difficult prevailing conditions.

In this way, we succeeded in building trust in our global customer relations.

 

The top-flight companies to which we successfully sold the merits of the Basel Area will bring know-how, jobs and tax revenues to the region.

 

The biggest response to our sales pitch was in the life sciences: newcomers to the Basel Area, for example, are Yokogawa from Japan and the Chinese company Hengrui. Moderna expanded from its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and opened its first branch outside North America in Basel. This life sciences company is using the new site to drive the production of its coronavirus vaccine.

The interest shown in Asia for the Basel location is continuously growing: in 2018 four companies from this continent expanded into the Basel Area; in 2020 Basel Area Business & Innovation helped nine Asian firms to settle in the region. In total,

 

In total, the number of companies settling here, at 27, remained stable at a high level (in 2019 the figure was 30) despite the coronavirus.

 

In 2020, many companies implemented expansion and settlement projects that were already underway. At the same time, we noticed that companies are cautious in their investment decisions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are therefore reckoning on a smaller number of companies settling here in 2021.

New opportunities, new partnerships, new processes

COVID-19 has hastened developments in all areas: an international audience is now the norm – this is a good prerequisite for promoting innovation.

 

We quickly made adept use of technological resources to address the changes in our market brought about by the coronavirus, adapted our processes and took advantage of the new opportunities that arose to supporting 82 startups – 20 more than in the previous year.

 

We promoted innovation in 2020 with gratifying success: the three initiatives DayOne, BaseLaunch and i4Challenge grew both quantitatively and qualitatively. DayOne fosters innovation in the healthcare sector and organized the first Healthcare Hackathon in Basel with 120 participants.

 

At the digital DayOne Conference 15 Health Hackers presented their solutions to an audience of 850 people.

 

From more than 100 teams that competed in the third round of the DayOne Accelerator, six were chosen. They benefited from coaching and workshops.

Basel Area Business & Innovation also started a project with the Hôpital du Jura in Delémont, the University Hospital Basel and the Haute-Ecole Arc. Together we aim to develop an application to support cancer patients in their therapy. Further projects will follow in the course of this four-year partnership.

In the case of BaseLaunch, the focus is on innovations in the therapeutic area. Thanks to strong partnerships with companies and the continuous support of our funding cantons, we have managed to double the amount we use to support the companies in our portfolio.

 

The figures speak for themselves: since 2018, BaseLaunch alumni have secured more than CHF 200 million in financing rounds.

 

The i4Challenge was held for the third time. In addition to the category of SMEs and startups, we created a new category called “New Ideas”. Twelve firms and projects won the i4Challenge. They will be supported by us in their further development and can drive their ideas forward in the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area at the Jura site.

The coronavirus crisis posed major challenges especially for manufacturing companies. We responded to this with the innovative strategic toolbox. This consulting tool is designed to help companies develop innovative solutions in spite of the economic crisis.

 

70 events attracted 5619 participants

 

Basel Area Business & Innovation organized 70 events, 49 of them together with partners – mostly online. These events attracted 5619 participants. By comparison, 106 events were held in 2019 with 5804 participants. This showed that participants quickly embraced the shift from events to online formats and that we reached more people with fewer events. We are convinced that new hybrid event formats will also be important in the future.

Focus on the region - new branding and positioning

Basel Area Business & Innovation also rolled out its new positioning in 2020. This includes a new brand identity, clearer positioning of the organization and the region as well as new websites to promote the economic region and innovation and also for our initiatives and accelerators. With the new presence, we can better address our various target groups and further heighten our profile. To market the location successfully, it is essential to increase the visibility of the economic region of Basel. Accordingly, we created a new logo for the organization with the slogan “Basel Area – More to discover”, which places the region center stage. This logo may and should be used also by our funding cantons as well as other affiliated organizations, firms and partners.

 

In 2021, Basel Area Business & Innovation will continue to work on digitizing processes enabling excellent customer experiences and the efficient use of resources.

 

This also includes cooperation with the cantons. We want to combine our forces even better so that shared tasks are implemented more efficiently. In particular, the support for startups needs to be coordinated even more closely with the supporting cantons.

 

For the Basel Area, startups are an indispensable driver of innovation.

 

To offer them the best support, we need to raise awareness of the existing offerings – both our own and those of our partners – and publicize inspiring role models in the startup scene. We plan to achieve this objective with the newly launched Basel Area Business & Innovation Podcast.

Switzerland Innovation Park's attractive all-round package

Since 2019, Basel Area Business & Innovation has been responsible for the operation of the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. This innovation park, with its sites in Allschwil, Basel, Novartis Campus and Jura, is seen as an attractive offering both by companies looking to settle in the region and by founders. In particular, companies from the healthtech sector with considerable growth potential were drawn to innovation parks in which they find a supportive community and useful support opportunities.

“The coronavirus has hastened the advance of digitization – for us as well”


This year was shaped by the coronavirus pandemic. How has this impacted the Basel Area?

Christof Klöpper: The crisis has hit business throughout Switzerland very hard. This goes not only for the hospitality sector and tourism, but also for other sectors, such as the export-dependent watch industry. Overall, the Basel Area got through the year well compared with other regions of Switzerland.

Domenico Scala: The Basel Area is shaped by an advantageous economic structure. With Novartis and Roche we have two global corporations that pay out several hundred million each month in salaries. Many suppliers also benefit from this. Compared with other economic regions, we’re still in good shape. The life sciences, which form a strong cluster here, are one of the winners.

We get companies excited about the Basel Area and support startups in the founding of their business

27 Companies settled here

 

82 Startups supported

 

70 Events, online and offline

 

5,619 Event participants

 

26,567 People in our network

Testimonials

The DayOne Accelerator Bootcamp has provided us with the right tools and connections to move forward. What I value most is the open and constructive discussion with other entrepreneurs and the focus on putting patients front and centre in all we do every day.

Larisa AragonPatient Champion, WhachaCallitMed

We are happy to be part of the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area, site Jura. Knowing other startup ecosystems, I am impressed with the value we receive here. The offerings from the cantons and from Basel Area Business & Innovation are super interesting.

Gwenael HannemaR&D InnoSpina

Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland is located at the European center of the biotechnology and life sciences industry. It is the ideal location from which to promote Yokogawa’s bioeconomy business through research and development and partnerships.

Tsuneji SawaiManaging Director, Yokogawa

The Basel Area was the logical choice for Hengrui Medicine to open our European headquarters, with the existing biomedical research ecosystem and experienced talent available.

Michael van der LaanMD, Head of Clinical Development, Hengrui

We thank our sponsors and partners

Our work would not be possible without the support of our funding organizations, sponsors and partners. We thank all our supporters for the good cooperation in this challenging year.

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