Logo Kanton Bern / Canton de BerneAnnual report 2023

Annual report 2023 | Bern Economic Development Agency

«Unpredictable, intense, and yet successful»

Sebastian Friess, President of the Bern Economic Development Agency, on the economic year 2023.


In focus

The 2023 financial year was virtually impossible to plan or predict. Nonetheless, we managed to bring about two important decisions for the future of the business and innovation ecosystem in the canton of Bern: we have recently incorporated sustainability principles into the criteria for awarding our benefits. This will help improve sustainable development and specifically support companies that demonstrate particular commitment in this area. In doing so, we are essentially fulfilling an important mandate that was set out in the 2023–2026 legislation objectives of the governing council of the canton of Bern.

Another highlight of 2023 was the opening of the «Medtech department» of the SwissTech Convention Centre, CSEM, on the campus of Inselspital, the University Hospital of Bern. CSEM develops pioneering technologies with a major social impact and translates them to industry in order to boost the economy. In collaboration with the University of Bern and Insel Gruppe, innovative medical technology will in future be developed and prepared for market by the three stakeholders in Bern. Ten projects have already been launched in 2023, including portable medical instruments and clothing for comfortable, state-of-the-art and continuous healthcare. The establishment of CSEM in the Swiss capital will boost the canton of Bern as a medical centre as well as a hub of medicine and applied research, and will make our innovation ecosystem even more attractive.

More information

Facts & figures 2023

The Bern Economic Development Agency is measured by the investment and employment initiated and created by Bern-based companies. It therefore constantly monitors the progression of the projects and companies funded and conducts reviews into the effects and benefits of its funding activities. The current review (for the 2012–2021 period) shows that the instruments used result in net income overall and ultimately also relieve the cash flow budget of the canton of Bern.

Its funding activities are based on four laws:

WFG: the Economic Development Act (WFG) allows contributions towards innovative projects by firms, start-ups and companies that choose to relocate to Bern.

NRP: the cantonal Investment Aid Law forms the basis for the funding of infrastructures and development projects under the New Regional Policy (NRP).

TEG: events and market cultivation in tourism are funded on the basis of the Tourism Development Act (TEG).

IFG: the Innovation Support Act (IFG) supports institutions involved in applied research and development.

Funded projects

Here you will find a selection of projects that the Bern Economic Development Agency was directly or indirectly involved with in 2023. Each project is introduced with a short quote from the manager in charge of the project. Clicking on the project will take you to the website of the respective company.

«Alemnis specialises in microscopic hardness testers. Alemnis is raising its profile in new industrial markets to expand its leading position in the field of micro/nano testing.» – Etienne Maillefer

«How can circular business models actually be implemented? allyCE and be-advanced have been working together since 2024 to take coaching for systemic circular innovations in Bern-based SMEs to the next level.» – Virve Resta

«How do we optimise the lifespan of batteries? Batterylog provides customer-specific solutions to this question. The BFH spin-off Batterylog works with well-known partners – including Swiss transport providers SBB and BLS, to name but two.» – Ralf Müssig

«This ambitious project will see Switzerland’s biggest open-space solar plant come into being on the site of Bern-Belp airport. An important contributor to the energy revolution in the canton of Bern and Switzerland.» – Sebastian Friess

«With its new programme 'be-next', be-advanced is preparing the next generation of Bern-based companies for business succession and is supporting generation change at Bern-based SMEs..» – Virve Resta

«Gondolas are set to run on Horneggli in future. Further development of the railway system will boost the year-round service and secure and increase added value in Saanenland in the long term.» – Karin Peter

«Holiday home in summer, sauna in winter: flexible in functionality and location, Bnomad pods are a smart and quirky addition to tourism in the Jura region.» – Claudia Bommer-Denss

«This project helps children better understand new technologies and teaches them how to use them. The service ensures fair access to education in the digital realm, regardless of social background.» – Karin Peter

«In future, guests will be able to sustainably travel across Lake Brienz on the E-lisabetha electric shuttle boat. E-lisabetha travels to selected wharfs on request.» – Claudia Bommer-Denss

«A visit to 'Espace découverte Énergie' on Mont Soleil and Mont Crosin is both informative and impressive: visitors can experience wind and solar plants and new ways to produce energy up close and first hand.» – Martin Tritten

«A special kind of event: people from all over the world came together and transformed Bern into a sporty rainbow city for four days.» – Alexandra Fries

«The 2050 energy revolution has brought Feintool and GF Machining Solutions together: these companies have combined forces to develop new, ultra-precision resources and tools required for the efficient, mass-market manufacture of fuel cells.» – Manfred Böbner

«A bike park for young and old is set for Grünenmatt in the Emmental valley. The planning and design work is under way, the first steps have thus been taken.» – Claudia Bommer-Denss

«Thanks to the support of the community, the new-build project is a unique opportunity to develop sustainable infrastructure for the Menuhin Festival and other major events.» – Daniel Wüthrich

«With its insect farms, this start-up is actively involved in processing organic waste while offering sustainable products – an efficient and pioneering solution.» – Nastassja von Gunten

«HMT is one of Europe’s biggest independent companies for ASIC (chip) design. In order to stay at the top of this highly competitive international sector, HMT has invested in new technologies and relocated to more modern premises in Biel/Bienne.» – Manfred Böbner

«The Bernese SME Barometer reveals how Bern-based businesses rate their current situation and their prospects for the next three months. The Barometer thus addresses the main everyday issues facing SMEs.» – Virve Resta

«LASEA, a pioneer in the laser machine sector, is redefining miniaturisation: LASEA is developing a high-precision laser that is no bigger than a coffee machine for the Micro Lean Lab project by HE-Arc.» – Etienne Maillefer

«LEM Surgical’s autonomous and mobile robotics solution for spine surgery will improve the life of patients and make the work of the surgeons easier. This is attracting international attention.» – Vassiliki Riesen

«This family business manufactures high-precision wood products, especially toys, for the global market. In order to meet the high demand, the company has built a new production hall.» – Manfred Böbner

«PHOENIX Pharma, one of Europe’s leading providers of healthcare services, is expanding its Swiss activities in Liebefeld/Bern, thereby helping to secure supply.» – Jean-Philippe Devaux

«PrivacyBee makes data protection simple and helps SMEs focus on their core competencies.» – Nastassja von Gunten

«The site at 'Sitem StartUp Club' beside the university hospital offers Rhovica the perfect environment for the development of a catheter that reduces the risks in life-saving neurosurgery. » – Ralf Müssig

«In order to remain one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bakery machinery, RONDO is developing a new generation of machines and is tapping into new markets. For example, it will even be possible to enjoy fresh croissants in India in future.» – Manfred Böbner

«The training and CPD centre for cable car jobs is still in Meiringen. A new cable car hall will soon be added to the centre to allow practical teaching as well as theory.» – Claudia Bommer-Denss

«The Academy in SIP Biel/Bienne offers premium CPD courses on sustainability and digitisation for national and international management thanks to outstanding technology infrastructure. » – Daniel Wüthrich

«The START Summit in St. Gallen is Switzerland’s biggest start-up trade fair organised by students. The entire Bern-based start-up ecosystem came together locally in 2023 under the name 'Bern Capital Area'. » – Virve Resta

«Tellspiele Interlaken have been telling the story of William Tell and how Switzerland came into being for over 100 years. They now offer a short production in several languages for international visitors.» – Claudia Bommer-Denss

«Thermo Fisher Scientific Biologics is a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose production facility for biological therapies. In order to maintain its leading position, the company continually invests in its infrastructure, which is one of Europe’s most modern bioreactor facilities for contract research.» – Jean-Philippe Devaux

«This flagship company for the circular economy produces raw materials and products from plastic waste in the sea. It uses state-of-the-art upcycling technologies and Swiss know-how.» – Isabelle Berthold

«Famous for solutions in the field of chemical analysis, TOFWERK is now aiming to conquer the Asia-dominated semiconductor market as a system supplier. To this end, it established subsidiaries in Japan and Korea in 2023.» – Ralf Müssig

«The open days at factories in Oberaargau allow the general public to gain an insight into industrial and business enterprises and make bring the range of jobs and products to life.» – Claudia Bommer-Denss

«Thanks to the upgrade to the Villeret gateway, there are new hikes available in the impressive gorge landscape towards Combe Grède and high on the Chasseral.» – Martin Tritten

«The interactive web and mobile phone application Ylah has the potential to increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy thanks to its “blended psychotherapy” and is a response to the current crisis in mental healthcare.» – Nastassja von Gunten


Our team

Hinten v.l.: Martin Tritten, Etienne Maillefer, Jean-Philippe Devaux, Daniel Wüthrich, Peter Kistler, Manfred Böbner, Christian Zulauf

Mittlere Reihe: Alexandra Fries, Claudia Bommer-Denss, Tatjana Suarez Rodriguez, Sebastian Friess, Virve Resta, Fredy Hachen, Ralph Müssig, Stefan Jans, Dana Lauret, Nastassja von Gunten

Vordere Reihe v.L: Karin Peter, Chantal Laubscher, Joëlle Ziegler, Anne Lauret, Vassiliki Riesen, Ayşe Cirit, Soraya Brikho, Isabelle Berthold

The Bern Economic Development Agency supports companies and their activities with a wide range of services. It caters to the needs of export-oriented companies and promotes their growth and development, from SMEs and start-ups right through to multinational groups. The Agency points companies in the direction of the right administrative bodies. Our main services:

  • Advice
  • Help with contacts, property, cantonal land and sureties
  • Initial consultation for SMEs, start-ups and new businesses
  • Financial assistance and tax relief

The Agency, together with Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Greater Geneva Bern area, markets the canton of Bern as a business hub abroad to improve economic development. Other major partners in the canton include the innovation agency be-advanced and the services provided at the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne, sitem-insel translational centre, the Swiss Center for Design and Health, EMPA Thun and now also CSEM Bern.

It also assists with strategic projects in the field of innovation promotion and property development. These activities make the business hub more attractive in the long term.

They also improve the regional conditions for business and tourism. The regional policy increases competitiveness in rural areas, generates added value and creates jobs. Businesses and holidaymakers both benefit in equal measure. The Agency helps the tourism industry assert itself and further develop in the competitive environment. Support focuses on market cultivation and events.

  • About us

«Get in touch with us, we’re here for you. »

Sebastian Friess, President of the Bern Economic Development Agency