Economic Development 2021


2021 – the second year in a row that was dominated by the coronavirus. The canton of Basel-Stadt's guarantee programme helped cushion the financial consequences of the pandemic for qualified technology start-ups. The focus was also on the business space forum on "Urban Production" and the tenth anniversary of Tech Park Basel. The canton of Basel-Stadt has once again improved its location quality.

Location quality and competitiveness indicators: Basel-Stadt receives the "Top" rating

After years of upheaval caused by the corporate tax reform and the Covid-19 pandemic, the cantons' Credit Suisse (CS) location quality analysis rankings were stable in 2021. High support contributions flowed to severely affected companies through various programmes, such as the hardship programmes of the federal government and cantons. According to the UBS cantonal ranking of competitiveness and growth potential, the Covid-19 crisis is likely to have had only a limited impact on the cantons' long-term competitiveness. As in the previous year, Basel-Stadt secured second place just behind Zug and received the rating of "Top". In the annual CS analysis of location quality, Basel-Stadt is again in second place in 2021 and has become even more attractive since 2013.

According to UBS's cantonal competitiveness profile, Basel-Stadt and Zug have very advantageous attractiveness factors. The cantons of Zurich and Geneva follow at some distance. Mainly responsible for the second-place position are above-average values in the areas of economic structure (rank 2), innovation (rank 2), human capital (rank 1), accessibility (rank 1) and catchment area (rank 2).

There is potential for further development in the labour market (rank 23), which is closely linked to the demographic development in the canton of Basel-Stadt, and in the area of cost environment (rank 20).

Find the studies here

Ten years of Tech Park Basel

The Tech Park Basel celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2021. Over that decade, it provided important impulses for the economy – beyond Basel – and was an essential driver for the multiplication of private investments in start-up companies in the canton of Basel-Stadt.

Various activities marked the anniversary year, which began with a media conference in January. A symbolic handover of the keys from former Member of the Cantonal Government Christoph Brutschin to his successor Kaspar Sutter also took place at this event. Over the past ten years, the Tech Park Basel has been expanded from its original 1,400 square meters to its current 6,700 square meters in response to strong demand. As a result, establishing a dynamic ecosystem of technology-oriented start-ups with appeal and growth potential has been successful. Among other things, this has led to Basel ranking fourth among all cantons in investment in start-ups in 2021.

Tech Park Basel currently offers an inspiring environment to 28 companies, and the number of jobs has increased from 31 to 310 in the last ten years. Furthermore, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, various tenants were able to secure additional funding and even achieve growth. In total, tenants raised just under CHF 587 million in 2021 in published financing rounds, grants, awards or IPOs. At the end of the anniversary year, an "Open Day" was held in autumn, which was very popular, with more than 250 visitors.

Covid-19 guarantees for technology start-ups

Flag_Basel_Highlights_Covid 19

Some technology-based start-ups continued to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021. While a separate federal government guarantee programme to secure bank loans to qualified start-ups was limited to 2020, it was essential that the canton of Basel-Stadt continue to support local start-ups effectively and tailor to their needs beyond that date.

Together with the Eckenstein-Geigy Foundation and the Basler Kantonalbank (BKB), the canton of Basel-Stadt has set up its guarantee programme limited to the year 2021. A condition for granting a guarantee is the canton's participation in the start-up's later success.

Within this framework, 13 start-up companies based in Basel-Stadt benefited from subordinated loans totalling CHF 39.761 million. Of this, the canton of Basel-Stadt guaranteed 90 per cent.

With this programme, unique in Switzerland, the canton of Basel-Stadt was able to make an effective contribution to securing the medium-term existence and growth of science- and technology-based start-ups that suffered economic losses due to the pandemic.

"The pandemic was a big challenge for the innovators. Projects were delayed, and additional resources and time were needed to achieve the goals. With the guarantee programme, the Canton of Basel-Stadt provided effective and well-structured support."

Michael Altorfer
CEO Swiss Biotech Association