Trento – In 2020, Zurich became more attractive to start-up founders. As recently revealed by the Startup Heatmap Europe Report, which ranks the most popular start-up locations in Europe, Zurich has jumped six places to take 8th position.

Technopark Zürich
Image credit: Technopark Zürich


Zurich ranks among the most attractive locations in Europe in which to found a start-up. This is one of the findings of the Startup Heatmap Europe Report 2021, which is published by the European Startup Initiative headquartered in Trento, Italy. According to the report, 9 percent of all start-up founders from a total of 22 countries are of the view that Zurich offers the best environment for start-up businesses. This equates to an increase of four percentage points on the previous year. With a score of 20 percent in the regional breakdown, Zurich is particularly popular in western Europe, ranking in third place just ahead of Munich (17 percent) but behind Berlin (45 percent) and London. In total, 1,295 entrepreneurs were surveyed for the report.

With its ranking of eighth place in the overall European evaluation, Zurich is practically on a par with Paris. The French capital was named as the most attractive start-up location by 10 percent of respondents, albeit in only 18 countries. Geneva was listed in 20th place, with Lausanne ranked in 33rd position; in each case, the cities were regarded as the best start-up location by 2 percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed. With a score of 1 percent, Basel was ranked in 46th place.

Zurich also posted the third-highest level of growth in start-up investments. In the period from 2018 to 2020, it achieved a three-year average of 450 million euros, which represents a rise of 444 percent. Zurich additionally bucked the trend between 2018 and 2020 to record a two-fold increase in initial start-up investments, albeit to a rather meagre level of 7 million euros. Across Europe as a whole, investments of this kind declined.

Zurich can also boast the highest share of foreign founders, with 76 percent of start-ups in the city founded by entrepreneurs born outside of Switzerland. In London, the equivalent figure stands at 72 percent, while values of 67 percent and 65 percent were respectively recorded for Berlin and Barcelona in this respect. The European average stands at just 27 percent.

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