Traditional values and borderless thinking in the heart of Europe
When I came to Liechtenstein in 2013, I assumed, it would be for three to four years - the average duration of my jobs during my career at Baloise. Little did I know, that it would be here, where I would finally transition to Angela 1½ years later with great support from my colleagues and from people I knew in the country and that I would fall in love with the country, the mountains and the possibilities Liechtenstein has to offer.
On December 13, 1992, - one week after Switzerland had said "no" with 50.3% - the people of Liechtenstein voted with 55.8% "yes" to join the European Economic Area (EEA). With this decision, Liechtenstein put itself in a unique position in Europe. With the EEA participation and the interstate treaty with Switzerland, Liechtenstein became - and still is - the only country with market access to all of Europe. This makes it - in my honest opinion - the ideal place to create your Startup, if you have ambitious growth plans and do not intend to remain a local business.
country accesses with EEA aND SWITZERLAND
Figures from Liechtenstein Amt für Statistik
digital-liechtenstein.li is the central platform for digital innovation and networking for Liechtenstein. The location initiative is under the patronage of the Princely House and the government and is supported by 50 well-known companies and organizations that want to jointly develop Liechtenstein into a leading digital business location. The initiative bundles the relevant forces from politics, business and science, creates access to relevant networks and enables the crucial transfer of know-how for the digital transformation. The initiative was launched in the fall of 2017 with the five thematic and action areas of Network & Policy, Communication, Talents, Events, and Startups & Innovations (Text translated from its website).
I had the privilege to participate in the board in 2018 and 2019 for Baloise Life (Liechtenstein) AG when the Digital Roadmap for Liechtenstein was created and I look forward to join again for becurious.li.
Before I came to Liechtenstein, I knew the country for its banks, fiduciaries, foundations and letter boxes. I had to revise that, the moment I arrived. Even though a lot of income and wealth is generated by the financial and its adjacent industries, the biggest contributor to its GDP is manufacturing with 42.6% (2018), while the financial services took third place with 22.2% (2018), behind general services 35.1% (2018).
With manufacturing also comes a lot of engineering and innovation expertise. Global actors like Hilti, Thyssen-Krupp Presta, Inficon, Hoval, Optic Balzers, Umicore or Oerlikon Balzers call Liechtenstein their home.
Many of those companies have created their own innovation labs and are spearheading new ideas globally in their respective fields.
And the financial center? Liechtenstein has given itself strict financial market supervisory and anti-money-laundering laws supervised by the Financial Market Authority FMA in Vaduz. This regulatory framework is in sync with EU regulation, which gives Liechtenstein full access to EU-markets within the freedom to establish and provide services.
In its research update at the end of November 2020, the international rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) once again confirmed Liechtenstein's country rating of AAA, the best rating possible.
The rating underlines the political and economic stability of the country. Combined with its access to all of Europe while not being part of the European Monetary Union makes it an attractive partner for financial services from banks, fiduciaries and insurance companies.
...surrounded by mountains
If you love the outdoors, you will love Liechtenstein. With its own peaks and the mountains of Switzerland and Austria all around it, there are wide range of activities available all year round.
The University of Liechtenstein offers wide variety of learning opportunities, all of them rooted in and supporting the industries that make region strong and successful. For Startup entrepreneurs there is a Bachelor degree programme in Business Administration and Master degree programme in Entrepreneurship and Management.
Useful links for liechtenstein
But not everything is work in Liechtenstein. There's also life
Photo Credit Title Picture: Angela Matthes / Map: shutterstock.com