As a youth growing up in Switzerland’s Fribourg region Mike Baur dreamed of a career in banking and financial services. By the time he was 20 years old, he had completed an MBA at New York’s University of Rochester as well as attended the University of Berne were he earned an Executive MBA. He then spent the next 20 years working in the banking industry in Switzerland. Baur began as a UBS commercial apprentice and by the time he retired in 2014 at age 39, he had worked with Clariden Leu and was on a large private Swiss bank’s executive board. He then turned his attention to business and entrepreneurship.
He began by getting together with two friends, Max Meister and Oliver Walzer, to co-found a new business incubator called Swiss Startup Factory. The company selects several businesses each year and puts them through an intensive training program that prepares them to handle the challenges they will face as they build their businesses. Swiss Startup Factory runs several 3 month long accelerator training sessions. Each session has a number of new businesspeople in it. In the training sessions the young entrepreneurs are provided with financing, office space, mentoring, coaching and a wide range of other services.
Once the entrepreneur completes the 3 month accelerator program they are given access to a large international network of entrepreneurs and investors that can help them get connected to global business opportunities. The privately financed program is very successful and is now rated as Switzerland’s top ICT startup accelerator. Many of the entrepreneurs that have completed the program have gone on to be wildly successful. This has helped to increase the profile of the Swiss Startup Factory and attracted many more young business people to the program.
Mike Baur is intimately involved in many aspects of the work the company does. He provides both financial support and mentorship. He’s also in charge of the Swiss Startup Factory’s fund raising efforts. Baur also spends a great deal of time supporting a number of other business accelerator programs for Swiss youth entrepreneurs. They include being a member of the University of St Gallen’s START Summiteer and the Swiss Startup Association’s co-founder and director. He also works with CTI Invest, Goldbach Group and Fintech Fusion to help to support a growing number of young entrepreneurs.