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Entrepreneurship in Swiss Rural Regions: A Spatial Analysis



On January 1st 2008, the law on the New Regional Policy (NRP) became effective in Switzerland. This law replaces a bunch of means of national structural politics so far referred to as regional politics. By the coming into effect of the NRP, Switzerland modifies its focus in regional politics: Instead of structural politics aiming at the equalization of regional disparities, NRP should contribute to national growth policy. An important factor of success of NRP as part of national growth policy are “persons wanting and able to undertake something”. The availability and activities of such persons often is defined as “entrepreneurship”. In the context of regional politics, experience has shown that entrepreneurship is particularly in rural regions often not common.

Aims and Methods of the Project

Therefore, the research project on spatial patterns of entrepreneurship in rural Switzerland pursues three main goals:

  • to identify the specific attributes and forms of Entrepreneurship in rural Switzerland and to develop appropriate indicators in order to measure these forms of rural entrepreneurship
  • to detect and illustrate spatial patterns of different attributes and forms of entrepreneurship in rural Switzerland.
  • to test the commonly assumed positive correlation between entrepreneurship and regional economic development in the rural regions of Switzerland.

Results of the research project should answer following politically relevant questions:

  • Is there enough entrepreneurship in rural Switzerland to support regional policies based on the existence and availability of Entrepreneurship?
  • Where in rural Switzerland should instruments of structural policy which focus on entrepreneurship be adapted in order to be most effective?

Administration and Implementation

The research project will be written up as doctoral thesis and is being carried out within the Research Group Regional Economics and Development at the Swiss Federal Institute of Snow, Forest and Landscape Research (WSL) in association with the Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of St.Gallen (KMU-HSG). The funding for the research project is provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) during 2008-2010.


    Delphi Survey


    Between January and July 2009 a Delphi-Survey regarding a definition, a common understanding as well as potential indicators for the measurement of entrepreneurship in rural Switzerland has been conducted. 37 experts in Swiss regional development issues - especially regarding the New Regional Policy (NRP) - participated at the three-step survey. Results of the survey are summarized in Factsheets.

    Related Documents (in German only)

    • "Holzschnitzel und Windräder sind keine Patentlösungen", NZZ, 6.06.2009 >>>