Science Entrepreneurship – since 2007

The Venture Kick programme is the first of its kind in Switzerland: the pre-seed fund is designed to serve as a launch pad to enable young scientists to turn their research results into products, companies and jobs more quickly, in greater numbers and more successfully than in the past. The draft proposal for this support initiative based around the theme of «science to market» emerged in close cooperation with researchers involved in successful entrepreneurial activities with their spin-off projects. Venture Kick today is a collective initiative of GGebert Rüf Stiftung, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondation Lombard Odier, Debiopharm Group, Fondation Pro Techno, Rising Tide Foundation, Engagement Migros, European Space Agency BIC, Swisscom, André Hoffmann, Hansjörg Wyss and Martin Haefner. Moreover, since 2016 the Venture Kick initiative has been part of digitalswitzerland.

Pre-seed fund

The Venture Kick fund set up by Gebert Rüf Stiftung and Ernst Göhner Stiftung as private backers addresses a gap in the transfer of innovation: its focus is on turning research work into promising business ideas. Venture Kick not only funds the first steps of people with ideas, but also develops their entrepreneurial skills. A three-stage process culminates in a sound business plan and in specific plans for putting ideas into commercial practice.

About the area of activity

An important concern of Gebert Rüf Stiftung is the conceptual and entrepreneurial interaction with science. This concern stems directly from the foundation's purpose which is: «To support Switzerland as a top location for business and as a place to live». At the heart of its area of activity «Wissenschaft und Unternehmertum» is the promotion of «Science Entrepreneurship» among the younger generation of academics at Swiss universities.

Gaps in the innovation chain

Basic research is a crucially important part of the university and research landscape, as befits Swiss universities' leading position in various areas of research. However, basic research focuses on insights within the realms of science. Transfer mechanisms geared to putting discoveries to use in practice are therefore less well developed. Gebert Rüf Stiftung’s NETS (New Entrepreneurs in Technology and Science) programme, which has now been transformed into the government-sponsored CTI Entrepreneurship Initiative and the private venturelab programme, had already been promoting early stage entrepreneurship.
CTI Entrepreneurs
US Market Entry Camp


The digitalswitzerland initiative aims to position Switzerland as a leading digital innovation location. The digital transformation is changing and revolutionizing all industries and sectors through rapid technological progress, dynamic development and a transformation of business models and value chains. To remain successful in future, it is vital to consolidate strengths and optimize interfaces.

NETS – New Entrepreneurs in Technology and Science

Support for interfaces both between education and business in the broader sense, and between scientists and entrepreneurs in the narrower sense, is a core objective of Gebert Rüf Stiftung – and one which stems directly from the foundation's purpose. Launched in 2007, the Venture Kick initiative was the forerunner of the NETS programme (New Entrepreneurship in Technology and Science). The programme was built up successfully between 1999 and 2004 and was Gebert Rüf Stiftung's first major programme initiative after the foundation's establishment.

Common thread

The purpose stated in the founding deeds of the Gebert Rüf Stiftung leads straight to the NETS initiative (now completed), to the Venture Kick programme (ongoing and successful) and to the current digitalswitzerland initiative – to achieve a leverage effect, to precipitate synergies and to enter into partnerships.



The latest news from the Swiss startup community:

Top 100 Swiss Startups 2016

57 out of 100 are companies of the Venture Kick programme supported by Gebert Rüf Stiftung.

Picture Credits Header

Christoph Läser Photograph AG Basel