Entrepreneurship Programme

The 7-month entrepreneurship programme is supported by multi-stakeholder engagement across sectors (public, private, non-profit and start-up). Capacity empowers entrepreneurs to develop their ideas through self-sustaining, collaborative frameworks, rather than to reinforce any form of dependency.

  • Duration | Programme running from April to November (Annually)
  • Zero equity taken and CHF 0 cost of participation
  • For individuals/teams, who want to develop a business/socio-cultural initiative and prototype their ideas, and eventually register company or ‘Verein’
  • 1-to-1 Mentoring from selected local experts | 4 hours per month (Minimum Commitment)
  • 2 Start-up weekends taught by thought leaders on each field of expertise
  • 12-15 annual Participant meetings for team-building and collaborative learning (Co-working)
  • 3 Public events for networking: Pre-programme info event, mid-term pitching event, and closing ceremony and pitch party
  • Ongoing support after the programme via Alumni network, and continuing access to corporate partners, advisors, trainers, and the Swiss Entrepreneurship Market

Programme FAQ’s

What is the Capacity entrepreneurship programme?

The Capacity entrepreneurship programme is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and ‘wannapreneurs’ with a migration or refugee background to set up their own business or social/cultural project in Switzerland.

The entrepreneurship programme started because we identified a need to support individuals in creating opportunities for themselves, as many migrants and refugees in Switzerland face considerable hurdles in entering the job market, and many bring creative ideas and lots of energy to developing their own business or project. We want to support this liveliness, and ensure that everyone fulfills their full personal and professional potential.

Where is the programme based?

We are currently based in Zurich and accept participants from the greater Zurich area. If you live outside of the greater Zurich area and would like to participate, please note that we are not able to cover any transport or accommodation costs you may have as a result of the programme.

If you come from outside the greater Zurich area and would like to bring the Capacity programme to your city/canton, please contact us as we’d love to offer our programme more widely.

What does it cost to participate?

In 2016 and 2017, the entrepreneurship programme asked all participants to contribute a 150chf deposit for the duration of the programme (50chf if you receive social benefits). This is returned to the participants at the end of the programme, or the participant can choose to donate it to the programme to support future participants if they wish.

What language does the mentoring programme use?

The entrepreneurship programme takes place in English and German. We expect all our participants to have basic German and either English or German to a high standard (B1-B2 Level). Workshops, co-working sessions and events are primarily in German, with English translation. Mentoring takes place in whatever language the mentor and the mentee agree on.

What can a mentor do for an entrepreneur?

At Capacity, we focus on supporting individuals to achieve their full personal and professional potential through entrepreneurship. Through the entrepreneurship programme, we provide each participant with a mentor who will help them to understand the basic concepts around Lean Start-Up Methods.

Our mentors are individuals with experience in Swiss businesses or start-ups contexts, often both in Switzerland and internationally, and with local networks that they will use to support their mentees.

Typically, a mentor will support a mentee on the following fronts:

  • Ideation: mentors will support mentees to shape your idea into a realistic business model
  • Administrative: mentors may help mentees understand forms (especially if mentee does not speak German and they do)
  • Pitch: mentors typically support their mentees by co-developing a pitch and identify methods to approach potential partners and funders
  • Resource allocation: A mentor may support a mentee in finding the necessary resources to test and launch the start-up idea
  • Network: A mentor can help a mentee by building connections and a network within Zurich and beyond
  • Learn from their mentee: Many of our mentors state that they also learn a lot from their mentees. Mentors will receive a comprehensive training on how to benefit and learn from their mentee’s wealth of experiences

A mentor will NOT:

  • Become a business partner unless both parties are happy with this arrangement
  • Fund or otherwise financially support their mentee’s project
  • Necessarily be an expert in the mentee’s exact same field. Mentees are expected to bring specialist knowledge for their respective fields.
  • Necessarily support their mentee after the end of the Programme
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