The SwissInnovation Challenge is divided into three phases of two to three months each. The process is outlined below.

Phase l – Outlining the innovation

Making a short presentation (March)

The prerequisite for admission to the first selection presentation is the formulation of an innovation concept. It can take the form of a new business model, a product innovation, service innovation, organisational innovation or innovation in management. At the first personal selection presentation you will have the task of convincing the Jury about you and your innovation in three minutes.

Based on the pitching event, 50 participants will have the opportunity to go on to the next round.

Phase ll – Turning the business idea into a business plan

Writing a business plan, extended presentation (June)

In this phase, the focus is on the feasibility of your idea. You must write a professional business plan of 15 pages on the basis of your concrete innovation. You will present your business plan to a Jury in five minutes. The Jury will evaluate your presentation according to pre-defined criteria.

The 25 participants who are chosen from this round qualify for the final round.

Phase lll – Polishing your business plan

Preparing the final presentation (August)

You will design a presentation which focuses on the implementation plan of your innovation.

At the final presentation to the Jury and public, you will demonstrate the implementation of your innovation (e.g. by using classic project management tools) within seven minutes. The Jury, consisting of at least one representative of the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), the Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer) of Baselland and the Cantonal Bank of Baselland (BLKB) will evaluate your presentation on the day of the finals according to pre-defined criteria.

For each of the three phases different evaluation criteria are used to determine who will continue to the next round. You find the criteria for the three phases below.

Outlining the innovation / business idea (Phase l)

Making a short presentation

In order to be admitted to the first selection presentation you must explain your innovation on a maximum of two to four A4 pages. Your concept must include the following:

  • Formulation of a clear and understandable vision and implementation (graphically/visually)
  • A concrete idea: What would we like to do/have we done?
  • A brief but convincing description of the innovation
    • What exactly is the innovative value?
    • What added value does it generate (including comparison with the competition)?
  • A basic competitor analysis: What are our competitors doing? What makes our innovation stand out? What benefit do we expect from its introduction?
  • Financial estimates: How much capital is required? Who will finance it?
  • Estimates regarding earnings: Cost structure / break-even / profit dynamics?
  • Timetable: What are the next steps planned?

Evaluation criteria for the presentation (Phase l)

In order to qualify for the second phase you have to present your business idea to the internal Jury in three minutes. The criteria below will be used.

Within two weeks you will receive written feedback as to whether you have achieved the next phase. A maximum of 50 participants will be admitted to the next phase on the basis of the total number of points achieved. In order to get to the next round you need at least 18 of 30 points.

Implementation of the innovation / business idea in a business plan (Phase II)

Writing a business plan and a more detailed presentation

The following suggested content for the business plan should be adapted to the nature of the innovation project.

  • Summary: Business idea, vision, strategy, management, products, market, finance plan, opportunities and threats, funding offers (if applicable)
  • The company: Legal structure and capital structure, owners, strategic and operative partners, controlling, consultants
  • Management and staff: Organisational chart, roles, education and management experience of key people, personnel planning and development
  • Products and services: Detailed description of products and services as well as value for the customer, position in life cycle, further development and innovation
  • Markets: Key market (potential and growth), customer structure, planned sales figures, competitors, competition and market analysis
  • Marketing: Target markets and customer groups, PR, advertising, sales, distribution, product range, service and price policy
  • Business risks: Analysis of potential threats and how to avoid or minimise risks.
  • Production and infrastructure: Location, production facilities, capacity, warehouse, suppliers, cost estimate
  • Other aspects: Patent and brand protection, risk and insurance policy, public commitment
  • Timeline: Deadlines, milestones

The business plan content is adapted from the SME portal of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). link

Evaluation criteria presentation (Phase II)

You will receive written feedback within two working weeks as to whether you have reached the next phase. In order to move on to the next round you need at least 24 of 40 points. A maximum of 25 participants will be admitted to the third phase on the basis of the average total number of points obtained.

Polishing the business plan (Phase III)

Designing the final presentation

Your seven-minute presentation using a medium of choice needs to address the following:

  • Short summary of the entrepreneurial vision/philosophy
  • Integration of the innovation in the overall vision of the enterprise
  • Concrete feasibility and implementation of the innovation project
  • Presentation of project management for the implementation
  • Expected customer and business benefits
  • Innovation content and potential

Evaluation criteria final presentation (Phase III)

The Jury selects the winners depending on the overall points achieved. In case of a tie, the President of the Jury will nominate the winner.

Jury

Arie Hans Verkuil, President of the Jury, and his team of internal and extrernal experts assess participants andd their innovations based on clearly defined criteria. The Jury consists of at least one representative of the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), the Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer) of Baselland and the Cantonal Bank of Baselland (BLKB).

Team SwissInnovation

Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Reineke, Business and Academic Head

Rolf-Dieter Reineke is lecturer at the Institute of Management (FHNW). He studied political economics and business administration at the University of Münster and was awarded his PhD there on the subject of International Management.

He has many years of experience in leadership and project management in consulting, training and research in an international context. As the founder of several enterprises in the service sector and consultant in many projects related to business development, he has practical experience of entrepreneurship.

lic. phil. Stefan Philippi, Administrative Head

Stefan Philippi is lecturer at the Institute of Management (FHNW). He studied sociology, communication and media sciences, as well as history at the University of Basel.

He has many years of experience in project management and research.

He is a lecturer at the School of Business, FHNW, head of a Summer School programme and works on the SwissInnovation and SwissNEXT Challenges.

lic. jur. Sven Brüschweiler

Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer) Baselland

Sven Brüschweiler studied law at the University of Basel.

He has many years of leadership and project experience in banking and has a thorough knowledge of the perspective of both the client adviser and the client.

He is a project leader at the Chamber of Commerce Baselland and looks after both Swiss Challenge projects.
Steering Committee

Daniel Brändlin

Member of the Management Board, Cantonal Bank of Baselland (BLKB), Liestal

Daniel Brändlin has been a member of the Management Board of the Cantonal Bank of Baselland (BLKB) since 2010 and is the head of the Companies and Loans Division.

He is a political economist and has also worked for the corporate client services of a bank. He was previously the Head of Finance and Deputy to the CEO for ALLDOS International AG and the Congrex Group.

He is also a member of the supervisory boards of many companies. He is the president of the Steering Committee of SwissInnovation and SwissNext Challenges.

Landrat Christoph Buser

Director of the Chamber of Commerce Baselland, Liestal

Christoph Buser has been the head of SME promotion at the Chamber of Commerce since 2004, and became the director of the Chamber of Commerce in September 2012.

He is an FDP politician and was voted into the Cantonal Council in 2007. He is a member of the Political Economics and Health Commission and the Environment and Energy Commission.

Christoph Buser is a member of the Steering Committee and is on the Jury of SwissInnovation und SwissNEXT Challenges.

Prof. Dr. Arie Hans Verkuil

University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)
Institute of Management

Arie Hans Verkuil is the head of the Institute of Management at the School of Business, FHNW. He has a PhD in business ethics and teaches management and leadership. He has many years of experience of leadership and project management in the areas of consulting and training.

As the founder of several enterprises in the service sector he has practical experience of entrepreneurship.

He is a member of the Steering Committee and President of the Jury of SwissUpStart, SwissInnovation und SwissNEXT Challenges.

A range of inspiring and motivating events will raise your awareness as you go along. Managers with experience of innovation management will share their knowledge and expertise with you. In addition the events will provide you with the opportunity to get to know like-minded people, to share ideas and to network.