A small Mecca for those hungry of innovation

A small Mecca for those hungry of innovation

The Swiss Aerospace Cluster In Mollis, Glarus Nord (Image: Rino Zigerlig)

Glarus – innovative? Fact or wishful thinking? “A bit of both” says the cantonal business promoter and tries to explain Glarus. Who would have thought that this small canton in the Greater Zurich Area has the highest density of technology companies in Switzerland – for example in the fields of plastics technology, mechanical and plant engineering, electronics, automotive engineering and textiles?

Yes, exactly – Glarus is located somewhere between Zurich and Chur. In fact, this “somewhere” is located close to both centres. From Glarus you can reach Zurich, Chur and last not least St. Gallen within approximately one hour – and vice versa.

Its location does not classify the canton of Glarus too easily. Economically and culturally it is connected with Zurich. When it comes to infrastructure, it cooperates with the canton of Grisons. Geographically and politically it belongs to the Eastern part of Switzerland. Its location  simultaneously leads to the uniqueness and flexibility of the people and the companies for which they work. The location also demands pragmatism and readiness for changing coalitions.

Apart from its clichés – mountains, Schabziger, Landsgemeinde and Vreni Schneider – Canton Glarus is the most industrialised canton in Switzerland. The second sector generates almost half of gross value added. Glarus has the highest density of plastics technology and technology companies in Switzerland. Other key industries are mechanical and plant engineering, electronics, automotive engineering, textiles and pharmaceuticals as well as food production. All resident companies fall into the category of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

One of the largest employers is Kunststoff Schwanden AG. She has just informed about her new and third pillar in the field of food packaging. Right after the world-famous Läderach chocolate, the Kopter Group has the most to talk about at the moment. The company is well on the way to mass-producing the first Swiss helicopter. The associated helicopter cluster is very promising for Glarus as a business location. The trend topic of digitisation has also arrived in the Glarus region with initiatives such as “Nü Glarus”, “Digital Glarus” or the successful Glarus cantonal students in international robotics competitions.

The canton of Glarus has 40,000 inhabitants. Companies in Glarus produce, recruit, sell and think per se beyond the cantonal borders. For example, Glarus is a long-standing member of the Greater Zurich Area and supports the Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (HSR). The cantonal economic development agency is building on this breeding ground for innovation. The already established network in the canton strengthens it with impulses through lectures to innovation arouses and enables existing companies and start-ups access to knowledge and potential sources of financing. Innovation is promoted in close cooperation with the Glarus Trade Association, the Glarus Chamber of Commerce, universities and the Institute for Young Enterprises. With the latter, the Economic Contact Point will organise two different courses on 8 May 2018 and 14 June 2018. The next Innovation Aapero will take place on 19 June 2018.

Yes – Glarus lies almost exactly between Zurich and Chur. And yes – Glarus is perhaps not yet a Mecca, but at least a biotope for innovation. To put it a little casually, a lot is possible where little is still going on. There is little to speak of, but that means even more for a successful location in the future. The cantonal economic development agency is the first point of contact for questions from innovation-hungry people from all over the world.

Mitarbeiter der PS Metall AG bei der Arbeit, aufgenommen am Dienstag, 10. Januar 2017 in Netstal.

Employee of PS Metall AG at work, added Tuesday, January 10, 2017 in Netstal

About the Autor

Christian Zehnder is head of Economic Promotion for the Canton of Glarus. Christian Zehnder is head of Economic Promotion for the Canton of Glarus. The Economic Promotion Office for the Canton of Glarus is your expert partner in the event that you are preparing to make a location or investment decision. The basic information to help you make sound decisions is readily available thanks to the efficient and transparent organization. You can count on absolute discretion and rapid processing, and the services are provided free of charge.

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