Aargau Services Economic Promotion: Why Aargau tempts tech firms

Annelise Alig Anderhalden of Aargau Services Economic Promotion discusses with FDE the factors that make the Swiss Canton of Aargau such an attractive destination for high-tech businesses.

What makes Aargau a perfect canton for a company in the high-tech sector?

Annelise Alig Anderhalden: Aargau is among the leading destinations for high-tech companies across a number of industries. The canton is the hot spot of the Swiss electrotechnical cluster, but it is also a leading location for other high-tech industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, machinery, ICT (information and communication technology) and plastics.

The Government of Aargau places great stock in research and development as well as the know-how transfer to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). As the location of a number of high-ranking technical universities, plus Switzerland's largest research centre for natural and engineering sciences, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), companies are certain to find strong R&D partners and well-qualified, multilingual employees.

The state government also offers a research fund that can be tapped to spur the development of new technologies. Further reasons to establish a business in the canton include:

  • political stability, legal security, liberal working legislation, business-friendly government
  • moderate taxes, wages and real estate costs
  • centrally located within Switzerland and Europe
  • high quality of life.

The Cantonal Executive Council has launched the 'Hightech Aargau' initiative. Enterprises in the canton benefit from excellent framework conditions and services in the fields of promotion of innovation and technology transfer, so that they can increase their capacity to perform and compete. Hightech Aargau promotes exchanges and collaboration between SMEs, universities and research institutes, as well as large international concerns.

In this way, the appeal of the canton's location for innovative companies will be further enhanced. Hightech Aargau is intended to ensure that over the coming years a qualitative growth in the economy in Aargau can take place by creating added value, while keeping consumption of resources at the lowest possible level.

What are the latest, most exciting technologies being manufactured in Aargau?

There are several:
Hybrid-pixel X-ray detector systems - Dectris's hybrid-pixel X-ray detector systems operate in single-photon-counting mode. This new technology features a very high dynamic range, a short readout time and an excellent signal-noise ratio. These properties significantly improve measurement quality and throughput. They can be used in various different areas, such as synchrotron light sources, laboratory diffraction systems or industrial and medical applications.

Germanium emitting laser light - PSI researchers have investigated the mechanisms necessary for enabling the semiconductor germanium to emit laser light. As a laser material, germanium together with silicon could provide the basis for innovative computer chips in which information would be transferred partially in the form of light. This technology would revolutionise data streaming within chips and give a boost to the performance of electronics.

Deep drill precision technology - The deep drill precision technology from Tiefbohrbär can be used for materials such as titanium, inconel, hastelloy, chromium, steel, tool steel, tempering steel, light metal, non-ferrous heavy metal, structural steel, wood, plastic and precious metals. The range of precision deep drilling varies from 0.5-200mm and in depths up to 6m. The company's customers manufacture high-tech products for the medical device, chemistry, aeronautics and astronautics, mechanical engineering, microtechnology and solar energy industries, among others.

How can Aargau Services Economic Promotion deliver value to organisations wishing to invest in the region?

When establishing your company we can advise on issues regarding tax and labour law, legal forms, work permits, and social security; arrange contacts with authorities, experts, research institutions, banks, associations and companies; find suitable real-estate and properties, and inform you about economic and location issues, as well as forms of financial support in Aargau.

To help companies and their employees settle, Aargau Services Economic Promotion provides a valuable network of potential customers, suppliers or partners. The organisation also acts as a direct link to both cantonal and federal authorities, easing the administrative burden of moving to a new location. There are teams to deal with migration, tax and trade registry, as well as consulting partners such as lawyers and tax advisers. Aargau Services Economic Promotion supports companies in finding the right site, and it helps individuals and their families with official procedures. We enable entrepreneurs to concentrate on their daily business.

Case study: AppRiver opens EMEA base

US software company AppRiver opened its EMEA headquarters in Lupfig in Aargau in April. A total of 30 developers and IT support specialists will eventually work from new office space located at ICT service provider Green.ch's Innovation Tower, serving customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

"AppRiver fits extremely well into the technologically driven corporate landscape of Aargau."

Green.ch and Aargau Services Economic Promotion combined forces to promote the successful establishment of AppRiver. "This collaboration is very opportune, as we have created high-quality jobs as the result of the establishment of AppRiver," says Annelise Alig Anderhalden, director of Aargau Services Economic Promotion. "At the same time, Green.ch has successfully acquired a client and strengthened its previous client/supplier relations. That represents a win-win situation for all partners."

AppRiver will store its data in the Green.ch computing centre.

"We are absolutely delighted that with AppRiver we have succeeded in attracting an innovative and leading company to Aargau", says Urs Hofmann, councillor of the cantonal government of Aargau. "As director of the department of economy, I want to create the best possible conditions for research and innovation. With our high-tech initiative, we will increase value creation in our canton in the long term, with the result that more companies such as AppRiver will be attracted to the region."

"I'm delighted by AppRiver's decision to establish its EMEA headquarters in Lupfig," says Franz Grüter, CEO of Green.ch. "It means that an additional company will be moving into the greenDatacenter, and new jobs are being created for highly qualified specialists in Aargau. This represents a further important step towards establishing the Lupfig business zone as Aargau's IT cluster."

AppRiver was founded in April 2002 with its headquarters in Florida, US. The company is a market leader for virus and spam protection as well as for encryption services on the internet.

"AppRiver fits extremely well into the technologically driven corporate landscape of Aargau," concludes Alig Anderhalden.


Annelise Alig Anderhalden of Aargau Services Economic Promotion.
The Hallwilersee lake in the Canton of Aargau.
Aargau contains one of Switzerland’s largest scientific research centres.
The canton is home to manufacturers of leading-edge technologies.