Voices from Basel: Christof Klöpper on the strengths of our business location.

In our globalised world, companies are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to locate their operations. In this in-person interview, Christof Klöpper, CEO of Basel Area Business & Innovation, explains how Basel, despite its relatively small size, is able to attract both long-established companies and start-ups to settle here and how the efficient networking of local players assumes a key role in this.

Christof Klöpper.
Christian Klöpper

Mr. Klöpper, your website says that you assist companies in achieving business success in the Basel region. How, specifically, do you do that?

We approach this on three different levels. First of all, we provide foreign companies interested in locating to Basel with the necessary information on the region, help them with the location process and introduce them to the local players. Secondly, we act as a “birth assistant” for innovative start-ups – particularly those in the biotech, healthcare and production technology fields – providing them with support in the initial stages, such as with registering patents. We also put them in touch with suitable partners from the private sector or the academic world and assist them in securing funding. And, last but not least, we make premises available for innovations. Our “Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area“, provides founders and entrepreneurs with co-working spaces, offices and laboratories at four locations, giving them a wide range of opportunities for networking.

You mentioned biotech, healthcare and production technologies – are those the sectors that are most interested in setting up in Basel?

In general, it can be said that the life sciences sector predominates when it comes to foreign companies wishing to locate here. The Basel region is regarded as the most important cluster in continental Europe in this respect and thus exerts a particular pull. It’s not least because of this that the region has an above-average number of companies locating and starting up here in relation to its size. The number of companies operating in future-oriented sectors such as digital health is also on the increase.

Can you give us some figures – how many companies do you advise each year on average?

We help around 30 companies from abroad settle here each year. In addition, we provided assistance to around 80 start-ups that set up here last year. In both cases, however, we advise many times that number of companies, because by no means all our contacts result in a concrete project.

How important is your cooperation with other local players, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Basel Association of SMEs?

I regard this as a crucial factor. We are increasingly selling not only the advantages of Basel as a location but also a functioning ecosystem – with partners who benefit from each other. We are living this out internally, on the one hand, by focusing strongly on networking. And, at the same time, the companies themselves are increasingly calling for this. The Congress Center Basel is similarly very important for us. The large-scale congresses it hosts make our city better known and ensure that those in the circles of relevance for us have their attention drawn to it.