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From the 18th to the 21st March 2014, 20 executive MBA students from the Fachhochschule of Bern had the opportunity to come to Boston and dive into the entrepreneurial and business spirit of the US. The very busy schedule organized by the swissnex team enabled the students to connect to experienced and knowledgeable US entrepreneurs and successful business stakeholders. Indeed the program consisted of various visits of companies and institutions and allowed the speakers to share their knowledge. The week was composed of several modules; from presentations focused on the challenges entrepreneurs face these days, to startup visits and networking events. The program organized by swissnex was complemented by lectures and workshops at Babson College, one of the world leading schools in entrepreneurship.

Presentations of experienced entrepreneurs:

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The goal for the students was to better understand the differences between doing businesses in Switzerland and in the US, and to receive an overview of the success factors that make Boston a dynamic ecosystem regarding innovation and technology.

Among the remarkable speakers that swissnex Boston could gather for the program, we can count: Michael Schumann, VP of Sales and Marketing at Salsify, Stephen N. Davis, Managing Director of CXO Advisory Group, Patrick Anquetil, of CEO Portal Instrument, Ankush Chopra, Professor of innovation and author of “The dark side of innovation”.

Loree MacDonald, Senior Support Engineer and Weekend Support Supervisor at HubSpot, Caroline Bone, Senior Strategist at Frog Design and a panel of the business law firm Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C.

From startups to established visits:

Company and Innovation center visits were an integral part of the program and aimed to provide a broader understanding of how the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boston is being shaped. Here are some of the visited companies:

iRobot: Founded in 1990 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists with the vision of making practical robots a reality, iRobot designs and builds robots that make a difference. iRobot’s consumer and military robots feature iRobot Aware® robot intelligence systems, proprietary technology incorporating advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence. iRobot is known by the general public for vacuum cleaning robot “Roomba”.

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CIC:  The Cambridge Innovation Center, situated just next to the MIT campus, is an incredible opportunity for start-ups to set up their business because of the community diversity and more than 400 companies operating in the building. The possibilities generated by the concentration and proximity to such a number of other businesses are endless for a startup willing to grow and find new opportunities. The students were amazed by the importance of the entrepreneurial community and diversity which empowers innovation here in Boston.

Reception at the Swiss Residence

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On the eve of March the 18th 2014 the appointed consul of Switzerland to Boston and director of the swissnex outpost Dr. Felix Moesner and his wife, Mrs. Moesner, had the pleasure of welcoming a diverse group of guests active in business and academia at the Swiss Residence. The group of guests included Students currently enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the Fachhochschule of Bern, members of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (SACC) and a number of alumni from IMD Lausanne.

During the reception the guests had the opportunity to hear inspiring words by Janet Gilmartin, President of the IMD New England Alumni Association, as well as Patrick Ballmer, chairman of SWACC and by Dr. Felix Moesner who emphasized the need to create and maintain a communication channel between academia and the industry, highlighting so the importance of swissnex and its mission.