Orchestrating success: Collaborating with the private sector in investment promotion
By Sirpa Tsimal, Director Global Marketing Investment Promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise
"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it."
Drawing inspiration from the analogy of playing a symphony with a whole orchestra, the realm of investment promotion thrives when it harmonizes with the private sector. In this article, we explore the significance of collaboration between investment promotion agencies and the industry, using Switzerland as an example. By engaging with stakeholders from the local private sector, investment promotion efforts can orchestrate success and compose a prosperous future for the region.
Let’s dive in to what makes Switzerland’s collaboration with private sector so successful.
The power of partnership
Switzerland, known for its federalist structure and consensus-driven decision-making, exemplifies the strength of bottom-up collaboration. By involving diverse players, including those from the private sector and driven by cantons (Swiss provinces / states), Switzerland achieves both efficiency and a comprehensive understanding of the needs of local communities and businesses. This partnership-driven approach not only ensures the involvement of key stakeholders, but also fosters an environment of innovation and efficiency.
Unveiling success stories
Within the context of Swiss investment promotion, several initiatives highlight the success of public-private collaborations. One such example lies in the drone industry, where Swiss authorities have partnered with drone startups to develop the appropriate regulatory framework. The Swiss U-Space Implementation (SUSI) initiative has propelled the advancement of U-Space capabilities and technologies in Switzerland. SUSI is a public-private partnership between the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the Swiss air navigation service provider and thirty-one companies active in the field of drones and advanced air mobility.
By actively involving the private sector, economic development agencies gain invaluable insights into regulatory policies and enhance their own marketing strategies.
Embracing emerging technologies
In an era where new tech innovations face the risk of excessive regulation, collaboration with corporates and startups becomes paramount. Switzerland's proactive engagement with blockchain entrepreneurs in its early stages – back in 2014/15 when blockchain hasn’t reached mainstream yet - set the stage for a flourishing local blockchain ecosystem. The local authorities in the canton of Zug provided guidelines in existing law for these entrepreneurs to give them legal certainty, yet enough room for experimenting with new blockchain business models.
To amplify Switzerland’s position as a blockchain nation, a public-private partnership called www.homeofblockchain.swiss was established in 2022. Endorsed by the federal councilor and several cantons, and supported by prominent private sector actors (banks, blockchain infrastructure providers etc.), this initiative aims to unify the voice of Switzerland's blockchain community and utilizes various marketing channels to project a clear and compelling message abroad.
Joint promotion and marketing activities include publications of reports and white papers, PR and media appearances on blockchain platforms like Coindesk, attending global conferences, and producing joint content for digital marketing campaigns such as a limited-edition podcast series with one of their main private partners.
Bottom-up collaboration also happens on a local level
Take the recent birthing of the Lucerne Applied AI Cognitive Community (LAC2) for Lucerne, Switzerland. It is a collaboration from the ground up involving the cantonal EDO “Lucerne Business”, local private sector AI companies, the local university AI department, plus local legal, regulatory and VC experts. The mission? To create a sustainable, membership-based Applied AI marketplace and sandbox open to the public.
Advantages of private sector collaboration include:
- Wider marketing reach: By partnering with the private sector, investment promotion agencies gain access to industry-specific channels, amplifying their message and enhancing the reach of their marketing efforts.
- Credibility through peer endorsement: Collaboration with private sector entities sends a strong signal that the country is not just preaching but actively collaborating with industry leaders, enhancing the credibility of investment promotion initiatives.
- Streamlined decision-making: The direct lines of communication established through private sector partnerships facilitate efficient decision-making, reflecting the renowned Swiss efficiency and expediting the implementation of impactful strategies.
Investment promotion and place branding flourish when public and private sector partners engage in collaboration. By leveraging the industry expertise, reach, and credibility of private sector actors and their passion for a location and their homebase, investment promotion agencies can create a symphony of success. The examples set by Switzerland's collaborations in the drone, AI and blockchain industries highlight the transformative power of partnerships.
Let’s rock n' roll.