The Application Process
Submitting the application
To apply for an interest-free loan, the applicant must submit a written application, electronically by Email. The required documents should be supplied in common formats (PDF, MS-Word, -Powerpoint or -Excel) and are to be attached to the Email.
The following 4 (in special cases 5) documents must be supplied as separate documents in the application:
Document no. 1: A formal cover letter (including signature) stating why the foundation should support the proposal and the desired amount of interest-free funding (max. 1 A4 page, PDF-File)
Document no. 2: A document containing the following:
- The contact details (name, email, telephone number, address) of a contact person in the applying party. These are needed to answer questions and coordinate meetings.
- A list of purposes for which the loan is to be employed (list of utilization and the corresponding amount of money).
- A short description of how the technology or know-how will be transferred from Swiss institutions of higher learning (a paragraph).
- If a company (AG or GmbH) has already been established, the date of incorporation is to be stated.
Document no. 3: A detailed business plan describing the business idea.
Document no. 4: For each founding member a short CV should be submitted, collated into a single document.
Document no. 5: If a company has already been incorporated, we require an extract of the Register of Commerce entry (Handelsregisterauszug) for the company (PDF-File).
Expectations regarding the business plan
The topics listed below should be addressed in the business plan. The following list gives the applicant an idea of how a business plan (document no. 3 above) can be configured. The applying party is free in structure and content of the business plan. The topics below are suggestions and do not constitute a compulsory guideline. If a business plan has already been written and it covers the topics mentioned below in one form or another, then this business plan may be submitted as is, or modified accordingly.
Project name (short title)
1. Goals (a short summary, giving an overview of the proposal)
- What are the medium term business objectives (3 to 5 years)?
- Executive summary
- What objectives are to be achieved with the funding? (Can be broken up into sub-targets)
2. Reasoning behind the business idea
- How did the applying party decide on this particular idea to found exactly this venture?
- The applying party
- Organization of the business
- Financing and infrastructure already in place for production and administration
- Eventual employees and possible partners
4. Presentation of the planned product or service
- Short description of the basic technology or service offering
- Technological appeal and innovation
- Intellectual property (patents or design protection, patent applications)
- A short description of how technology or know-how will be transferred from Swiss institutions of higher learning
- Schedule: milestones to be reached until the production can start, until a working prototype has been developed or until a product is ready to be launched
5. Current market situation (assumptions)
- Target market potential (target segments)
- Competitive situation today / in 3 to 5 years
- How is the company positioned in the current market environment, what is the value proposition, what are the USPs? (Why should customers decide to buy this particular product or service?)
- Implementation in the market: marketing concept (Advertising, sales organization und and distribution channels)
6. Risk analysis
- Chances of success
- Potential Risks (Market risks, technological risks, product risks, financial risks and other relevant risks)
- Precautions against unfortunate developments of events, options for counteractions
- Worst case scenario
7. Financial plan for the next 3 to 5 years
- Employment of funds
- Profit and loss as well as balance sheet projections
- Cashflow, possible shortfall or surplus
- Headcount development
- Financial needs (assurance of liquidity)
a) up to the first prototype
b) up until launching the product (later need for venture capital)
- Future financing of the business
- Sponsors or potential investors already lined up
- How/when will the loan be repaid? Is the financing capacity available?
Applications can be submitted at any time during the year but assessment cycles are conducted only twice a year. To be considered for one of the two semi-annual assessment cycles, a proposal must be submitted latest by either April 15th or September 15th. In the following June or November respectively, the Board of Trustees will decide upon whether or not to grant the requested loan.
We accept applications up until April 15th or September 15th. Applications must be handed in at the latest by midnight (11.59 pm) on the day of the deadline. Applications must be tendered directly to the foundation’s president using the following contact coordinates:
Eidgenössische Stiftung zur Förderung schweizerischer Volkswirtschaft durch wissenschaftliche Forschung
c/o Bodmer & Partner Consultants AG
Mühlebachstrasse 14, 8008 Zurich
Phone 043 355 04 04
Fax 043 355 04 83
Should any of the documents numbers 1 through 4 be missing by the deadline, the application is considered as incomplete and will not be assessed. The extract of the company’s Register of Commerce entry (Handelsregisterauszug) (document no. 5) can, if necessary, be handed in after the deadline has passed.
The foundation guarantees confidential handling of all documents and information obtained for assessment of an application. Due to the large number of applications and for the protection of our Trustees, the foundation does not sign any confidentiality agreements or NDAs.
The application process
The order of events
Once an application has been received, the applying party will be notified within seven days days of its due receipt by the foundation. The applicant will also be informed whether or not the application fulfills all the general requirements and if it will be admitted into the assessment phase.
Within 14 days after the two application deadlines (April 15th or September 15th) the board will review all applications and decide which of the proposals will subsequently be evaluated in detail. If an application has been selected for further evaluation, the applicant will also be informed about the exact process how the in depth assessment of the application will take place.
Generally, for each application two members of the board are given the task to perform a detailed appraisal. During this process, the business plan is thoroughly analyzed and a half-day meeting with the applying party is set up to present the business plan to the two assigned individuals from the foundation. In addition to answering possible questions about the business plan and the business model, this meeting is also an opportunity for members of the board to meet the applicants/founders in person. After the meeting, the examiners summarize their impressions in a report to the attention of the foundation’s entire board. The examiners make a proposal whether the application is good enough to pass on to the final stage of the assessment.
The assessment process can change from case to case, depending on the number, complexity or subject area of the submitted proposals. The process above describes the most common scenario.
Presentation in front of the entire Board of Trustees
In the case of a positive appraisal, the applying party will be invited to present their business idea to the board during their meeting end of June or end of November. In this final round, the selected applicants present their venture to the complete board of the foundation. The board then passes the final decision whether to grant a loan or not and notifies the applying party of the outcome within the next seven days.
The decision made by the board is final and will not be reconsidered. There is no entitlement to a review. The decision will also not be justified. However, on a case by case basis, the board may decide to communicate the reasons behind the denial of a loan. This, in order to help the venture improve its case and thus its chances to obtain funding.