The Greater Zurich Area attracted 125 new companies to its nine cantons in 2021. They are planning to create more than 1,800 new jobs in sectors such as life sciences and ICT. The comeback of the USA is most impressive.
The number of companies being established is on the rise again following the coronavirus-related decline. As the investment promotion agency of nine cantons, the Greater Zurich Area AG (GZA) helped 125 companies establish themselves in 2021, an increase of 36 on 2020, the first year of the coronavirus crisis. According to a press release from the GZA, 42 of these companies were from the USA (+20), 19 from Germany (+4), ten from Italy (+5) and five each from China (-6), the United Kingdom and Singapore.
The newly established companies already created 582 new jobs in the reporting year, 11 percent more than in the previous year. They are planning to create 1,843 new jobs over the next five years.
The frontrunners are information and communication technologies, with 42 companies, followed by 25 life sciences companies, 18 engineering companies and 13 financial services companies. The most important “job creators” were the life sciences companies, with 235 new jobs, followed by ICT companies with 154.
However, the benefit these companies bring to the region goes far beyond jobs. “We specifically target those companies that can achieve high added value and strengthen the existing ecosystem," explained Sonja Wollkopf Walt, the GZA’s Managing Director, at a digital press conference.
The new companies include Benchling, for example. The U.S. provider of life sciences cloud solutions intends to create up to 150 jobs in the Circle at Zurich Airport. The Chinese pharma company Hengrui already has European headquarters in Basel and is now adding a research and development site in Zurich.
The German RegTech company targens will be marketing its compliance software solutions to banks in Switzerland and Liechtenstein from Schwanden in the canton of Glarus. Ruedi Becker, Chief Business Development at targens Suisse SA, was supported by GZA in convincing his managers of the benefits of Glarus.
This pleases Christian Zehnder, Director Economic Promotion for Glarus. Glarus has tended to be strong in manufacturing and food production. “We want to move away from our traditional image,” he said. “In attracting new companies, we rely on our partner GZA, which can promote the region on an international level.”
Sonja Wollkopf Walt takes a similar view: The arrival of targens strengthens the ecosystem as a whole and demonstrates that the region extends beyond Zurich and Zug. “Every company can find the perfect location for them in the Greater Zurich Area.”
The Greater Zurich Area includes the cantons of Glarus, Graubünden, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Zug and Zurich.