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Actualités France Suisse

Canton de Genève


Canton of Geneva


Doing business in Geneva: excellence, innovation and lifestyle


Member of:

Geneva, an exceptional business environment


With over 140 headquarters of multinational companies and 36 international organizations, over 240 diplomatic missions and consulates, Geneva is the most international business location in the heart of Europe. Truly cosmopolitan, with a polyglot, highly qualified and productive workforce, Geneva relies on the most extensive and efficient infrastructures.


Geneva offers 44 private schools and has Europe's greatest number of international schools per 100.000 inhabitants. It is not only a favorite EMEA/global headquarters location for leading companies, but also a major center for technical excellence and innovation.


www.whygeneva.ch;  https://ge.ch/ecoguichetpmepmi


Key facts


Population: 466,918


Surface: 282,5 square kilometers


Official languages: French


GNP/inhabitants: CHF 95'997


Cantonal capital: Geneva (191,964 inhabitants)


Other major cities: Vernier (33,855 inhabitants), Lancy (28,820 inhabitants),
Meyrin (22,077 inhabitants)


An unparalleled quality of life


Geneva ranks No 1 in terms of quality of life. A blend of historical city, lake, mountains and countryside sets the frame for an unequalled range of activities. It offers a vibrant cultural life to locals and the lively international community www.geneve-tourisme.ch.


© Geneva Tourism



Finance and Trading


A world reference in wealth management and private banking, Geneva is Europe's strongest trade finance center with 40% of global transactions. Over 36'000 people are employed in the financial sector with 8'000 people directly employed in the international trading sector.


Around 400 international trading companies have set up operations in Geneva with 8'000 people directly employed in the international trading sector. They rely on a large network of service companies satisfying their needs: banks, insurance companies, law firms, fiduciary, forwarding agents, inspection and verification companies, ship-brokers, and consultants.


Geneva ranks No 1 in commodity trading. 1/3 of world crude oil and products is traded in Geneva. It is also No 1 worldwide in grains and oil seeds, No 1 in Europe in sugar, No 1 (tied with London) in cotton, No 1 worldwide in the finance of commodity trading, No 1 worldwide in inspection and certification. In terms of shipping, 22% of global movement of commodities take place in Geneva.


Flagship Swiss companies:
Finance: Crédit Suisse; LODH; Pictet & Cie; Syz & Co; Union Bancaire Privée; UBS.
Trading: Cotecna Inspection; Mercuria Energy Trading; SGS.


Flagship foreign companies:
Finance: Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild; Barclays Bank; BNP Paribas; Crédit Agricole; Deutsche Bank; Highland Capital Partners; HSBC; ING; Jabre Capital Partners;
JP Morgan; Lloyds Bank; Royal Bank of Canada.
Trading: Addax Petroleum; Bunge; Cargill; GMT Management (Suisse) SA;
Koch Supply & Trading; Louis Dreyfus; Litasco; MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company; Neste Oil; Olam Intl; Totsa Total Oil Trading; Trafigura Beheer; Viterra; Noble.


Main related academic & research institutions:
Finance: Extensive choice of institutions and training programs such as compliance officer, financial planner, portfolio manager, relationship manager in trade finance, risk management officer
www.edubank.ch. Highly specialized trainings provided by the Geneva Financial Center (Swiss advanced certificate in trust management, training in "estate planning" for relationship managers, training for specialists in documentary credits).
Trading: University of Geneva (Master of Arts in International Trading, Commodity Finance and Shipping, Diploma of Advanced Studies in Commodities); GTSA (Operator Program).


Cluster organization: Geneva Financial Center; Geneva Trading & Shipping Association (GTSA); Propeller Club.


Testimonial: "Geneva offers us the presence of the other major players as well as the entire range of services we require, such as banks specialized in trade finance and SGS, the world's largest surveillance company. The offices of all the services we need are literally around the corner!" Christian Joerg, Viterra Vice-President and EMEA Managing Director

Information and Telecommunication Technology


Geneva has become a hub in IT expertise, with over 1'000 companies engaged in researching, developing and marketing advanced new products in software, electronics, logistics, semi-conductors, telecommunication, Internet, computers and peripherals. It hosts the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as well as international standard-setting organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Geneva is also home to major R&D laboratories such as Hewlett Packard Invent Center, IBM Center for Telecom Applications and STMicroelectronics Design Center.


Flagship Swiss companies: id Quantique; Lem; PHT Corporation; SafeHost; Sensometrix; SIB (Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics); Wisekey.


Flagship foreign companies: Diebold; Electronic Arts; Elpida Memory; Hewlett Packard; IBM; Reuters; STMicroelectronics; Verisign.


Main related academic & research institutions: Faculty of Sciences of the University of Geneva (Bachelor and Master in Computer Sciences); hepia Geneva – Technology, Architecture and Landscape (ICT Bachelors and Master of Science HES-SO in Engineering); EPFL; CERN.


Cluster organization: AlpICT


Tech transfer office, technology park: Unitec, Fongit.


Testimonial: "When we looked at where our business is, we realized that Geneva made sense. Our business is predominantly in France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland, so, being here puts us in a more central location for our customers." "We are particularly happy with the new efficiency we’ve achieved here. It is quite refreshing to walk into Geneva International Airport and be checked-in in five minutes! Geneva has a small airport, but it is easy to get to anywhere in our EMEA market." Douglas Scott, Diebold VP and CFO


Life Sciences (Biopharma and Medical Technologies)


Geneva benefits from a network of cutting-edge competencies and infrastructure for basic and translational biomedical research. It offers synergy opportunities in pharmaceuticals, chemistry, biotechnology, microtechnology, precision instruments, and medical devices through the regional availability of clinical centers, technology centers, academic centers, and industrial centers.


Geneva is the base of both established pharmaceutical companies and innovative start-ups. It is also home to major international organizations and NGOs: the WHO, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufactures and Associations, Medicines for Malaria Ventures, The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, UNAIDS, etc.


Flagship Swiss companies: Addex Pharmaceuticals; Anteis; Endosense; Firmenich; GeneBio; GenKyoTex; Givaudan; Novimmune; Preglem; Selexis; Spineart; Unilabs;
Vifor Pharma.


Flagship foreign companies: Alcon Management; BioMérieux; Bracco Suisse; Covance; Eli Lilly; Genomic Health International; Sanofi-Aventis; Solae Europe; Stryker Trauma SA; Zimmer Surgical.


Main related academic & research institutions: University of Geneva; University Hospitals of Geneva; School of Pharmacy Geneva-Lausanne - EPGL (Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Master in Pharmacy, PhD); hepia Geneva - Technology, Architecture and Landscape (Master of Science HES-SO in Life Sciences); EPFL; Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB); Battelle Memorial Institute.


Cluster organization: BioAlps; AIGSV - Association industrielle genevoise des sciences de la vie.


Tech transfer office, technology parks: Unitec; Eclosion (biopharma); Fongit (medtech).


Testimonial: "Geneva is a powerful city, not only in terms of medicine and health, but also in terms of intellectual life and culture. We are very pleased to have facilities in Geneva as it is an easier place to attract people than is Paris or some other big cities in Europe. For me, Geneva is a great little city of the world with all the positive aspects of a major capital, without the downsides." Dr. Jean-Marc Leroux, Covance VP Global Laboratory Services and Geneva Site Director.




Geneva is a hub of research, lobbying and planning concerning the environment and sustainability-related issues. In addition to top research universities and labs, key players and innovative companies, international organizations, NGOs and innovation/trade actors such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the World Meteorological Organization (a key player in defining international policies against global warming), the World Trade Organization, the International Emissions Trading Association (working to develop an active, global greenhouse gas market), and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development all have headquarters or major offices in Geneva.


Flagship Swiss companies: ABB Sécheron; ABCD; Aqua+ Tech Specialties; Befreetec; Fluid Automation Systems; Lem; Sécheron; Serbeco; SES Société d'Energie Solaire; SIG; SRB Energy Research; Sunwatt Bio Energie; TVP Solar; Volotek.


Flagship foreign companies: CGC Dalkia; DuPont de Nemours International; Hach Lange; Johnson Controls; SunPower Systems; Veolia; Vertical UK.


Main related academic & research institutions: University of Geneva (Bachelor in Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies, Certificate of specialization in geomatics); Institute of Environmental Sciences (ISE) of the University of Geneva (Master in Environmental Sciences, PhD level programs, executive training courses); The Forel Institute (the University of Geneva's Energy Group); the Leman School of Earth Sciences (Master degree in Geology, joint program of the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne); hepia Geneva - Technology, Architecture and Landscape (Bachelor in Life Sciences, Master of Science HES-SO in Life Sciences); EPFL; CERN.


Cluster organization: CleantechAlps


Tech transfer office, technology park: Unitec; Fongit; Cleantech incubator/OPI.


Testimonial: " SunPower’s reasons for choosing Geneva are split between serving customers and hiring the right people. Our interest in Geneva was related to the opportunity to stay close to different European markets. From a logistical point of view, Geneva is close to Italy, Germany, France and the UK. We also knew that we could get access to qualified resources already here through cooperation with leading institutions. For example, we have hired IMD graduates and high-level technicians in electrical engineering and design with experience at CERN. Geneva is also a place where we can attract people, because it is known to have a good range of services for them and their families." Mario Riello, EMEA Sales Director for SunPower Utility and Power Plants Division




Watchmaking and Luxury


Geneva’s image – elegance, prestige and excellence – reinforces the brands of luxury goods and services based in Geneva. In turn, these luxury companies contribute to the Geneva’s renown. They represent the essence of the luxury industry; exceptional expertise is at the core of their brands. They also contribute to Geneva in a more fundamental way: the luxury industry is Geneva’s third largest employer-sector and represents 60% of the Canton’s exports.


Flagship Swiss companies: Chopard; De Grisogono; Harry Winston; Patek Philippe; Piaget; Rolex; Vacheron Constantin;.


Flagship foreign companies: Kempinski Hotels; Mauboussin; Polo Ralph Lauren; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Richemont Group.


Main related academic & research institutions: University of Geneva (Multidisciplinary continuing education in "Luxury products and artistic professions", Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences); Geneva School of Business Administration (HEG) (Master of advanced Studies in Luxury Management); Geneva University of Art and Design (Degrees in fashion and Jewelry Design); University of Art and Design Lausanne (Masters in Science in Luxury and Design); Geneva Watchmaking School.


Cluster organization: Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie; Timelab (the Geneva Laboratory of Horolgy and Microengineering).


Key events: Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH); Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève; annual auctions by Sotheby’s and Christie's.


Testimonial: "I moved the head office here form Frankfurt to Geneva because it is much easier to find multilingual, multicultural staff here. Geneva is the biggest international village in the world. It also has an incredible infrastructure and culture comparable to that of a city of several million inhabitants - except that the population of Greater Geneva is less than half a million". Reto Wittwer, Kempinski Hotels President and CEO.


Nos partenaires



Crédit Suisse

Swiss Re