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Alp ICT: Powering Business Innovation

The Alp ICT cluster was founded in 2008 to nurture the dynamic growth of ICT  start-ups, SMEs and research institutes based in Western Switzerland. This platform was initiated by the country’s Secretariat of Economy in partnership with the region’s 7 cantons, namely Bern, Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva, Valais and Jura to stimulate the growth and competitiveness of the region’s ICT players both locally and globally. Promoting Western Switzerland’s ICT entrepreneurs

The dynamic Cluster highlights Western Switzerland’s ICT excellence by promoting its visionary entrepreneurs and encouraging synergies amongst them and cutting edge research institutes, thriving multinationals and other experts. The cluster counts over 400 companies encompassing fields as diverse as Security, Cloud Computing, Man-machine Interaction, Social Media and Entertainment, Mobile and Telecommunications, IT Systems and Networks or Green IT. It also includes 40 Research institutes such as the EPFL in Lausanne with its Innovation Square housing leading international groups including Nokia, Cisco or Logitech. Finally it connects with a number of incubators such as Y-Parc, the Science and Technology Parc of Yverdon, the Ark Foundation in the Valais, Creapole in the Jura, the IT valley in Fribourg, or Neode in Neuchatel to name a few.

By mapping and cross-matching the needs of all the critical ICT actors, their current projects, priorities and their innovation objectives, the cluster is able to connect those with complementary fields of work. New knowledge and business opportunities emerge from such synergies. Alp ICT sees great potential for ‘cross-innovation’ and ‘cross-fertilisation’. ‘Take Poken for example www.poken.com.  This start-up developed its solution the poken ‘social business card’ tapping into the expertise of the Research Institutes of Yverdon and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnics (CSEM).

Another encouraging example of the dynamic local ICT ecosystem is Fontself www.fontself.com, a company enabling to create and tailor personal fonts, was created by a team of Lausanne-based designers in collaboration with the Idiap Institute in the Valais and financed in part by Index Ventures Seed Fund as well as a number of leading European angel investors.Dynamic Networking

Through its presence at leading industry events, Alp ICT builds visibility for promising Swiss startups and organizes business meetings with potential partners or investors. Recently the cluster sponsored the presence of 10 Swiss groups at ‘Le Web 2010’ in Paris and supported their participation in the world leading web fair’s start-up competition. The Swiss company Smallrivers with its Paper-li solution http://paper.li/, was shortlisted as one of the 500 companies worldwide to take part in the StartUp Competition. Further events to look out for, which are supported by Alp ICT include Mobile Mondays, the upcoming Technoark in Sierre, www.technoark.ch, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona www.mobileworldcongress.com or the Geneva-based Lift conference http://liftconference.com/ and many more going forward. International Growth

Alp ICT also acts as a catalyst to enable local SMEs to grow and access international markets such as through venture trips to leading technology hubs. For instance, it is during a recent outing to Korea that Pixelux www.pixelux.com the Geneva-based gaming provider met a number of key partners. Alp ICT sees also great opportunity for Swiss ICT companies to shape global markets with their solutions in support of other leading Swiss companies. Take Switzerland’s world-class banking industry for instance. Our country has a legacy of creating world-class banking IT systems in support of its business needs and competitiveness. Alp ICT sees tangible opportunities to replicate this model in further markets such as security.   Spreading News and Best Practices

The Alp ICT cluster also hosts a resourceful website with facebook, twitter and youtube  links to share its latest news, activities and events as well as trends shaping the field. Going forward it plans to post online tutorials and best practices to accelerate startups’ learning curve and encourage further cross-fertilisation and cross-innovation. Alp ICT believes strongly in connecting the members of its ecosystem through a common platform to stimulate innovation. Its website is the central pillar of Alp ICT’s communication and community building efforts. It serves as a ‘go to’ place for all actors interested in what the region is doing and who’s who in the area.To keep abreast of who’s doing what in ICT in Western Switzerland and connect with the members of this vibrant ecosystem, visit www.alpict.com and join the network.

The Alp ICT team

CommitteeChairman Mr Eric Bachmann Commercial Director for SIGVice-chairman Mr Dominique Perruchoud Director of CimArk and Secretary General of The Ark, ValaisMembers Mr Daniel Loeffler Director of the Economic Development Office, Canton of GenevaPr Jean-Dominique Decotignie Head and Professor at CSEM (Neuchâtel) and EPFLPr Antoine Delley Head of the ICT department and professor of communication systems at the HES-SO FribourgMr Yannick Guerdat Founder and Director of Artionet Sàrl, JuraMr Eric Maire Founder and Development & Operation Advisor at econsultant Sàrl and Senior Project Director at Economic Development Agency for Canton VaudMr Pierre-Alain Schnegg Co-founder of Pro-Concept SA and CEO of SolvAxis SA, BernSecretariatExecutive Secretary Mr Didier MesnierExecutive Officer Mrs Barbara Ben HamadiAddressAlp ICT, c/o OPI, Route des Jeunes 9Case postale 1011, 1211 Genève 26Contact Mr Didier Mesnier, Executive SecretaryPhone +41 (0) 22 304 40 40E-mail didier.mesnier@alpict.ch    Web www.alpict.com

By Didier

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