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Masterpieces of Swiss Entrepreneurship

Swiss SMEs Competing in Global Markets

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Presents a unique collection of company profiles and cases from Swiss B2B and B2C market leaders in export markets
  • Demonstrates success factors, common pathways, and unique business strategy insights into the Swiss business ecosystem
  • Includes analysis of diverse ownership structures including family-owned firms
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

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Table of contents (26 chapters)

  1. Part I

  2. Part II

  3. Part III

  4. Part IV

  5. Part V

  6. Part VI


About this book

This open access book focuses on Switzerland-based medium-sized companies with a longstanding export tradition and a proven dominance in global niche markets. Based upon in-depth documentation and analysis of 36 Swiss companies over their entire history, an expert team of authors presents several parallels in the pathways and success factors which allowed these firms to become dominant and operate from a high-cost location such as Switzerland. 
The book enhances these insights by providing detailed company profiles documenting the company history, development, and how their relevant global niche positions were reached. Readers will benefit from these profiles as they compile a diverse selection of industries, mainly active within the B2B sector, with mostly mature companies (60 years to older than 100 years since founding) and different types of ownership structures including family firms.  

‘Masterpieces of Swiss Entrepreneurship’ brings unique learning opportunities to owners and leaders of SMEs in Switzerland and elsewhere. Findings are based on detailed bottom-up research of 36 companies -- without any preconceived notions. The book is both conceptual and practical. It fosters understanding for different choices in development pathways and management practices.

Matti Alahuhta, Chairman DevCo Partners, ex-CEO Kone, Board member of several global listed companies, Helsinki, Finland

Start-up entrepreneurs need proven models from industry which demonstrate the various paths to success. “Masterpieces of Swiss Entrepreneurship” provides deep insights highlighting these models and the important trade-offs entrepreneurial teams must consider when choosing the path of high growth or of maximum control, as they are often mutually exclusive.

Gina Domanig, Managing Partner, Emerald Technology Ventures, Zurich

Authors and Affiliations

  • IMD, International Institute for Management, Lausanne, Switzerland

    Jean-Pierre Jeannet

  • Department General Management, ZHAW School of Management and Law, Winterthur, Switzerland

    Thierry Volery

  • KMU-HSG, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland

    Heiko Bergmann

  • University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland

    Cornelia Amstutz

About the authors

​​​​​Jean-Pierre Jeannet is Professor Emeritus of both Babson College (Wellesley, US) and IMD Institute (Lausanne, Switzerland). He was the F.W. Olin Chairholder of Global Business at Babson College and had an active teaching career in global marketing and global strategy. He has authored and co-authored the books 'Managing with a Global Mindset' (FT Press, 2000), 'From Coal to Biotech' (Springer, 2015), and 'Leading a Surgical Revolution' (Springer, 2019).

Thierry Volery is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Management Department at ZHAW School of Management and Law, in Winterthur. He is concurrently Visiting Professor at the University of St Gallen and at the University of Western Australia. His teaching and research interests include start-up process, entrepreneurship behaviour, entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial leadership, and innovation management. He is author of several books and has published in leading journals, including Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Journal of Small Business Management, and International Small Business Journal.

Heiko Bergmann is Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, where he conducts and leads research projects at the Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. His research focus is on issues of entrepreneurship, business emergence, and SME management.

Cornelia Amstutz is a research assistant at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, Faculty of Law, and the Steering Committee on Internationalization. Previously, she studied media communication and history and has worked as a consultant in the private sector.   

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Masterpieces of Swiss Entrepreneurship

  • Book Subtitle: Swiss SMEs Competing in Global Markets

  • Authors: Jean-Pierre Jeannet, Thierry Volery, Heiko Bergmann, Cornelia Amstutz

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Business and Management, Business and Management (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-65286-9Due: 17 May 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-65289-0Published: 19 March 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-65287-6Published: 21 April 2021

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXXIV, 561

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations, 44 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Business Strategy/Leadership, Family Business, International Business

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