Geneva is one of the world’s most international cities and is home to many leading global organisations, including the Red Cross, which was founded there in the 19th century. In addition, expatriates make up almost half of Geneva’s population.
According to François Longchamp, President of the State Council for the canton of Geneva and State Councillor for Solidarity and Employment, Geneva’s guiding principles include respect for human rights, openness to all types of individuals, and support for people’s efforts to achieve financial security. “For more than 500 years, the accumulation and management of wealth have been clustered in this region,” he says.
The canton of Geneva is well known for its very pro business environment, strategic European location, history of innovation, and high standard of living, factors which have attracted major multinationals as well as thriving smaller companies to set up operations there. “Through multiple bilateral agreements there is lack of bureaucracy when it comes to jobs, laws and corporate operations here in Geneva, and the city’s high standard of living and central location make it easy for companies to attract talented human resources,” François Longchamp points out.
In addition, Geneva has a very diverse business sector which includes fi nancial services (especially private banking and wealth management), watchmaking and international headquarters. Geneva is proactive in maintaining growth in every segment of its economy, and is increasingly becoming known as a hub for hedge funds and commodities trading.
Flexible, efficient and reliable business culture
François Longchamp explains that one of Geneva’s biggest assets is that its culture and business environment are not only flexible but also reliable and efficient. He adds, “We are also the only canton in Switzerland that created more jobs in 2009 than in 2008. The government has an open dialogue with the business community, and Geneva has a long standing tradition of quality.”
As for the future, Geneva is making major investments in its infrastructure, including more than 1.04 billion over four years to build an underground railway passing beneath Lake Geneva, and €278.8 million to expand the canton’s international airport, already one of Europe’s busiest. Building more housing is another goal.
Geneva’s economic strategy, according to François Longchamp, takes into account the canton’s limited space. He says, “We will focus on core sectors and industries where we can provide expertise, and then build those strategically. Geneva’s unique mixture of qualities will continue to support and enhance innovation and productivity.”