Economic Development 2021


Digital technologies and new business models are also changing the Basel economy. Transformation areas are gaining new economic fields. The Basel-Stadt canton supports the positive dynamics of the location.

Sectors and economic areas

The Economic Development Unit is working to sustain Basel's success story. It promotes cooperation between science and industry, offers infrastructure and services for technology start-ups and maintains a constant exchange with Basel companies. Economic experts—the sector managers for life sciences, finance, digital innovation and logistics/trade—enable company talks, roundtables and events on topical issues. Dialogue with companies ensures feedback on location factors, essential to economic policy.

Economic Development

Branchen und Wirtschaftsflächen

Die Standortförderung trägt ihren Teil dazu bei, dass die Erfolgsgeschichte Basels in den kommenden Jahren weitergeht. Sie fördert Kooperationen zwischen Wissenschaft und Industrie, bietet Infrastruktur und Dienstleistungen für Technologie-Start-ups und pflegt den steten Austausch mit den Basler Unternehmen. Dank der Fachkompetenz des Verantwortlichen Wirtschaftsflächen, der Branchenverantwortlichen Life Sciences, Finanzwirtschaft, Digitale Innovation und Logistik & Handel können Firmengespräche, Roundtables und Veranstaltungen zu hoch aktuellen Themen durchgeführt werden. Ziel dieses Dialogs mit Unternehmen sind Rückmeldungen zu den Standortfaktoren. Diese sind eine wichtige Basis für die Gestaltung der Wirtschaftspolitik.


"We appreciate the professional advice provided by Economic Development Unit and the personal relationship with our contact person. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our concerns were taken up quickly and passed on directly to the right people."

Beat Gruering
CEO – Tally Weijl AG

Economic policy

For Basel-Stadt to fulfil its responsibility to the Swiss economy, the federal government must promptly establish sustainable relations with the EU – our most important trading partner. Furthermore, successfully implementing the OECD tax reform is also crucial to maintaining the location's high attractiveness for existing and newly established companies.

Some areas where the Economic Development Unit was active last year:

Federal level

  • Situation after the failure of the institutional framework agreement with the EU (InstA-MRA)
  • Revision of the medical device regulation of the EU (MDR & MRA) and Switzerland (MepV)
  • Revision of the Chemicals Risk Reduction Ordinance (ChemRRV)
  • TRIPS waiver (WTO negotiating mandate)
  • Digitisation in the Swiss healthcare system (standing initiative)

Cantonal level

  • Cooperation in implementing the OECD tax reform
  • Economic areas on transformation sites
  • Logistics cluster
  • Life sciences cluster
  • Sector programme finance

Economic Policy

In economic policy, the Economic Development Unit works closely with other departments in the Office of Economic Affairs and Labor (AWA). Together, they perform staff work for the management of the AWA, the head of the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs, and the cantonal government of Basel-Stadt.

Innovation promotion

Basel is proud of its dynamic and forward-looking life sciences "ecosystem", which is home to leading global companies and a rapidly growing community of medium-sized companies and start-ups in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology and digital health from around the world. A robust ecosystem provides the critical enablers for innovation and new technologies.

The Economic Development Unit supports cooperations between public and private research institutions and hospitals and local industries.

The region forms the leading ecosystem for the life sciences industry in Europe, and our goal is to expand this position further. Together with the cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Jura, the canton of Basel-Stadt finances Basel Area Business & Innovation, the non-profit agency for location promotion and innovation support for the Basel region. In 2021, 39 companies settled in the region with the help of Basel Area Business & Innovation – 12 more than in the previous year. With 28 settlements, companies from the life sciences industry account for more than two-thirds of the newcomers. In addition, 76 start-ups were supported in their foundation. Although this is six fewer than in the previous year, it is the second-best figure ever achieved. The region's attractiveness for start-ups is also supported by funding and acceleration programmes like BaseLaunch (biotech), DayOne (digital health), i4challenge (industrial transformation) and mentoring.

"Cooperation with the sponsoring cantons is central for us. Only in this way can we establish Basel with its life sciences cluster as the business and innovation centre of the future."

Christof Klöpper
CEO, Basel Area Business & Innovation

Infrastructure for technology start-ups

Innovation promotion demands infrastructure. The economic development department strives to offer Basel's technology start-ups an optimal working environment.

The Tech Park Basel (TPB) in Stücki Park is an Economic Development Unit initiative. In 2021, 28 innovative technology start-ups and 310 employees from 38 countries were offered 6,700 square metres of office and laboratory space in attractive conditions, a jointly usable infrastructure, and various services.

An additional 68 companies are active in the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area (SIP) in Allschwil, Basel and in the canton of Jura. Twenty-four technology start-ups, primarily in digital health, with 48 employees and no laboratory requirements, found office space in the SIP on the Novartis Campus, which consists of 644 square metres. Like Tech Park Basel, the SIP on the Novartis Campus also recorded a high occupancy rate in 2021. Therefore, to provide the Innovation Park with more space, it moved into a neighbouring building with a significantly larger area on 1 April 2022.

The tenants are carefully selected. Criteria are among others their innovation potential, jobs created in the region in the medium term and the value generated in the long term. This system creates a unique innovation environment.