Encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit

CSEM supports entrepreneurship and actively promotes this mindset through our innovation platforms and awards. As part of the ACCELERATE platform, our Innogrant program moves forward start-ups internal development, while our Booster Grant program encourages Swiss entrepreneurs to incorporate our technologies into their innovative ventures.

PULSAR EU-project paving the way towards the autonomous assembly of next-gen structures in orbit© CSEM / Antal Thoma

In 2022, ACCLERATE supported MATIS on its path to national success. The start-up's crowning achievement came in October, when it won the 2022 BCN Innovation Award from the Neuchâtel Cantonal Bank (BCN). MATIS was founded by Marie Didier and draws on CSEM’s expertise in artificial intelligence and image processing. Thanks to support from the ACCELERATE program, Didier has developed a robust and cost-effective multispectral imaging system that optimizes the way experts evaluate an artwork’s authenticity.

“MATIS' user-friendly multispectral camera and algorithms, both traditional image processing and machine learning, were designed at CSEM," says Marie Didier. "The system reduces the cost of art appraisals by over 50%, by simplifying access to, and increasing the efficiency of, data-driven image analyzes. These can cost up to 3,000 Swiss francs. Our goal is to make MATIS available to the 85 billion dollar market for art forgery detection by 2023,” Didier says.

Another 2022 highlight: manufacturer DIXI Polytool SA was awarded the CSEM Digital Journey Award. This prize is significant in the Swiss innovation landscape because it explicitly supports SMEs whose ability to find innovation funding is limited. This year’s winner, which will receive 100,000 Swiss francs in technical support from CSEM, hopes to advance an Industry 4.0 idea to improve its productivity and ensure its competitiveness at the European level.

Dixi Polytool's success is preceded by the winner of CSEM’s Digital Journey 2019, Federnfabrik Schmid AG. It launched the i-Spring® this year, a ‘smart’ spring that bridges the gap between mechanical springs and the digital age. Optimized for industrial Internet of Things applications using CSEM know-how, i-Spring's ‘health data’ is analyzed by an online assessment tool. It is hoped that the quality of i-Spring®’s predictive maintenance abilities will improve business uptime by reducing downtime caused by missed maintenance.

CSEM’s awards and programs help entrepreneurs overcome the “valley of death” between developing a working technology solution and a reliable, profitable product or service. In doing so, these start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) stimulate the Swiss economy and provide innovative solutions to industry challenges.