Research - 13.06.2024 - 08:00 

HSG spin-offs defy economic crises

The University of St.Gallen awards a spin-off label to young companies founded by members of the HSG community. A survey now shows that these HSG spin-offs demonstrate a high degree of resilience in uncertain times and thus create added value for the Swiss economy.

Caption: Start-ups by HSG students present their business idea to three investors.

The general economic situation has deteriorated in the wake of global crises in recent years, such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. HSG spin-offs - companies founded by HSG members - are defying this negative trend: “Even in these challenging economic times, HSG startups and spin-offs are showing above-average levels of business optimism and confidence in their positive business development,” says Prof. Dr Dietmar Grichnik, HSG vice-president for Innovation & Quality and HSG professor of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management. Under his leadership, HSG spin-offs are surveyed once a year.

The current HSG Spin-Off Barometer is entitled “Demonstrating resilience in uncertain times”. "Founding a company is fundamentally a very uncertain process. Resilience in the face of crisis-like developments is therefore key to success,” says Bernd F. Schneider, co-head of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at HSG. In the development of a startup, for example, it is not uncommon to adapt the original business model significantly to market requirements or to reinvest sales directly back into the company. 

Added value for Switzerland 

Thanks to solid financing and quality content, the 145 HSG spin-offs create added value for the Swiss economy. For example, 91.9% of the young companies have their headquarters or a branch office in Switzerland.

In addition, 45.9% of the companies surveyed are planning a financing round in the next twelve months. Increasing financing volumes are often associated with accelerated company growth rates, which also indicates a positive development trend for HSG spin-offs in the future, according to Bernd Schneider.

Meat substitute, savings app and plastic alternatives

Prominent examples of HSG spin-offs include the company Planted Foods, which produces plant-based meat substitutes, the FinTech Kaspar&, which has launched an app for simple saving and investing, and Noriware, which is developing a sustainable plastic alternative based on algae. A complete list of HSG Spin-Offs can be found here.

HSG Spin-Offs are active in a wide range of industries. 37.8% of the companies surveyed work in the technology, media and telecommunications’ segment. This is followed by financial services, consumer goods and real estate, each with a 10.8% share. 

HSG strengthens entrepreneurship

HSG launched its official Spin-Off Label in 2017. The requirements for applying are, among other things, that the founding team must include at least one HSG member, that the product is innovative and sustainable, that the company has been active for at least twelve months and that the growth potential is high. In addition, if successful, the Swiss economy should benefit from the business activity.  

The label is one of various entrepreneurship initiatives with which HSG supports. Other initiatives include support programmes such as the Entrepreneurial Talents Programme and free coaching offers from Startup@HSG. In future, HSG intends to further strengthen its activities in this area - which is one of the reasons why the new Vice-President Office for Innovation & Quality took up its work at the beginning of the year. 
‘The professionalisation of the entire Entrepreneurial Journey is a central task of HSG in order to create value for St.Gallen as a “business location and beyond,” says Prof. Dr. Dietmar Grichnik.

You can find the complete Spin-Off Barometer here.

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