Interview mit Hans-Peter Portmann
Im Dezember wurde unser Gründerteam von Advanon von Herrn Hans-Peter Portmann für einen Gedankenaustausch über Unternehmertum und die aktuelle Lage der Schweiz nach Bern eingeladen. Herr Portmann ist im Nationalrat für die FDP und Mitglied der Kommission für Wissenschaft Bildung und Kultur WBK.
Dieses Interview wurde auf Englisch geführt, da das gesamte Gründerteam bei dem Gespräch anwesend war.
Advanon: The general Swiss public did not vote according to the agenda of the trade associations lately. Do you have an explanation for those results?
Hans-Peter Portmann: Well, you can only assume what the reason is. But I guess it has to do with the wealth in Switzerland and the generation changes. The new generation shifts its focus due to the unlimited existing possibilities. They have a stronger focus on life quality, nature, private life rather than an economic development or having a 24/7 job. In my opinion with such wealth standards and without growing up during a financial crisis, the risk to become lazy is higher. On the other hand the older generation has a stronger focus on economy and sometimes forget about the real needs of the population such as data security, privacy life and nature. Due to this discrepancy the voice of the economic associations has been weakened lately.
Advanon: Do you consider those results as a threat for the Swiss competitiveness?
Hans-Peter Portmann.: In my opinion the perception to win all competition with the “Swiss label” and quality endangers the competitiveness of Switzerland. I often hear voices from economic leaders saying “Everyone is willing to pay the Swiss prices because it is made in Switzerland and we simply provide the best quality”. I think that this is not the case in the future. For example let’s take Dubai – a lot of international corporates go to Dubai and put their production there. They get engineering workforce from India for a salary that is 10% of the salary paid here. To be honest, I do not think that the Swiss products are rocket science. Anyone who wants to reproduce, is able to reproduce. Let’s take watches as an example: A watch is a luxury product and it goes with other attributes than only high quality – that is the reason why people buy this product from Switzerland. But if people do not have a need for this, then the Swiss products are not better. For example the automotive parts that are coming from Swiss suppliers. People do not care if the parts of their cars are from Switzerland or not. If they are produced elsewhere and they pay half of the price for the same car, they will likely choose the cheaper one. Quality should not be the sole argument for products from Switzerland. As a conclusion to your question I consider a trade-off of prices and given quality as essential for Switzerland to stay ahead of the competition – meaning that we need to produce “Swiss” products abroad for half of the prices.
Advanon: Advanon was founded by a Swede, a Dutch and me (Swiss) – Which are the convincing values that Switzerland can provide?
H.-P.P.: For the moment I would say it’s the life quality. I am sure that a generation is coming that wants to make money and have success and come up with innovative products. They want to live in a liberal country – a good public transportation. nature, ….Right now it’s the living quality. Improve: administration of start-ups. Laws with special parts for start-ups. Also capitalization – we are a country that always need security, There we are behind other countries. For the moment it’s only the the living quality.
Advanon: Lately we experienced great improvements with FINMA. Unfortunately we still see inefficient processes and a lot of burocracy while working with other governmental institutions. Is this on your agenda?
H.-P.P.: Yes, this is absolutely on the political agenda – also in the parliament. We have two comity meetings focusing on this topic. We are aware of this and it is unacceptable how it is. We have to cut the burocrcy – we are on the way.
Advanon: Do you have an advise for young entrepreneurs?
H.-P.P.: It’s an advise that I have for almost everything in life. You are an entrepreneur now in your economy life but you should also be in your personal and private life an entrepreneur: Never put yourself in a situation where you can not step out again because your own life depends on that.
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