POINTS OF ATTENTION
The two key ingredients of a knowledge-based economy are skills and access to knowledge. In this context, the main point of attention for the region and Switzerland is to defend the free movement of brains and their connection to European and global research networks (including European funding). A knowledge-based economy cannot operate in a vacuum.
Another point of attention is the low proportion of main investors based in Switzerland and their virtual absence in the canton of Vaud. This point is critical for projects in innovation, as it is these investors who bring others in their wake. This is partly due to the limited size of the region and the project pool, and also means that entrepreneurs frequently have to seek financial resources outside Switzerland. The fact that they succeed in doing so is a sign of the attractiveness of their projects. However, it also represents a risk for the sustainability of the associated jobs in the region, although the data tend to qualify this risk and show that foreign investment has a rather positive overall impact.
Furthermore, even if they are good overall, the framework conditions remain a point of attention. This dimension, which is more national than cantonal, is the one on which Switzerland scores the worst in the innovation rankings. Without being major obstacles, two areas of attention stand out. To begin with, taxation, although globally competitive, is still a damper on the fortunes of entrepreneurs and employee-shareholders of start-ups, and also on employee stock option plans, which are widely used by start-ups. This can weigh in the balance when it comes to choosing a location. Secondly, in international comparison, there is still room for improvement in certain areas of corporate law in Switzerland - for example, the speed of bankruptcy resolution and creditor protection, which are out of step with other successful innovation ecosystems.
Finally, a fundamental finding for a good understanding of the region's innovation dynamics and the means of sustaining them is that the Vaud ecosystem is relatively small compared to others. This is a structural constraint, linked to the size of the region. However, a certain size allows the innovation dynamic to benefit from network effects. Indeed, innovation is most often the result of encounters between expertise and fields of diverse origins, the number of which increases with the size of the system. It also plays a decisive role in terms of visibility and attractiveness for people and capital.