Setting up your business in Geneva - Steps and Rates

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Setting up a company (sole proprietorship, SA or Sàrl) at CHF 1,300 with notary validation of articles of association

Setting up a company is costly because of the strict procedures involved. We offer you a complete package at CHF 1,300, including validation of the articles of association by a notary.

What's included in the CHF 1,300 price?

For the sake of transparency, we'll explain step by step what our price includes:


The 6 stages of setting up a company in Switzerland

Setting up a company in Switzerland can be divided into 6 stages:

1. Finding a business idea

Every business starts with an idea. It may be a unique product or service you want to offer, or a new approach to an existing concept. 

2. Studying the market

Once you have a business idea, it's essential to study the market. This involves understanding who your potential customers are, what their needs are, and how you can meet those needs in a unique and effective way.  Remember to look at the competition, to see what's out there.

3. Financing

Calculate the funds required to set up your business, including product development, rental of premises, marketing, etc. Your financing can come from personal savings, a bank loan, private investors, grants and participatory financing.

4. Choice of legal form

The options in Switzerland are: sole proprietorship, SA (Société Anonyme) and Sàrl (Société à Responsabilité Limitée). 

5. Entry in the Commercial Register

The registration process involves submitting various documents, such as the company's articles of association, and paying the registration fee.

6. AVS registration

All companies in Switzerland must be registered with AVS (Assurance Vieillesse et Survivants), the Swiss social security system. This ensures that the company and its employees are covered in the event of old age, death or disability.


What's the difference between a SA and a Sàrl?

Two of the most common legal options are the Société Anonyme (SA) and the Société à Responsabilité Limitée (Sàrl). Although they are both distinct legal entities, there are several important differences between them.

1. Initial capital :

SA: The minimum capital required to create a SA is CHF 100,000, of which at least 50% (i.e. CHF 50,000) must be paid up at the time of foundation.

Sàrl: The minimum capital required to create a Sàrl is much lower, at CHF 20,000, which must be fully paid up at the time of foundation.

2. Ownership :

SA: Ownership of an SA is divided into shares, which can be easily transferred or sold. This can facilitate fund-raising and business growth.

Sàrl: Ownership of a Sàrl is divided into shares, whose transfer is more restrictive, which can make it more difficult to attract investors.

3. Management :

SA: A SA must have a board of directors, which is responsible for managing the company. Shareholders are not responsible for day-to-day management, unless they are also members of the Board of Directors.

Sàrl: In a Sàrl, associates have a more active role in the management of the company, and can participate directly in decision-making.

4. Liability :

In both types of company, owners' liability is limited to their capital contribution. However, in certain circumstances, such as fraud, owners may be personally liable.

5. Public perception :

SA: Because of its higher initial capital, an SA may be perceived as more prestigious or stable, which can be beneficial in certain industries or markets.

Sàrl: A Sàrl may be perceived as a smaller, more personal company, which may be preferable in certain situations.


Who can set up a company in Switzerland?

Setting up a business in Switzerland is open to a wide range of individuals, including Swiss citizens, permanent residents and, under certain conditions, citizens of the European Union. 

However, there are two particularities to bear in mind:

European nationals

Thanks to the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union, European nationals can set up or take over a business on Swiss soil, and provide services there. This applies to all EU nationals, with the exception of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

Work permits

Non-Swiss residents wishing to set up or take over a business in Switzerland must apply for a work permit (permit G) from the relevant cantonal agency. This application must be accompanied by a complete dossier presenting the project.