Swiss Innovation Has Enabled the Success of Solar Impulse

August 23, 2015

8:00 am

By now, most have heard about the groundbreaking work being done by Solar Impulse to show what clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve:  the team has already recorded the longest solo flight ever without fuel – 117 hours and 52 minutes, more than five days over the open ocean using only solar energy. The journey began in March in Abu Dhabi, and made stops including India and China on the way to its current location, Hawaii.Solar_Impulse_2 Nagoya to Hawaii

After an epic journey across the Pacific, the flight is on hold until April 2016 when the weather breaks and maintenance is done, after which they expect to fly on to Arizona, New York, and then across the Atlantic and onward to complete their journey around the world.  The voyage will mark a new chapter in aviation history while inspiring entrepreneurial ingenuity and bringing much needed attention to clean technologies.

The story of Solar Impulse has gone global and their fame has reached across country borders, but how did they get started?  The story behind this huge news phenomenon has a lot to do with their country of origin.

The founders of Solar Impulse are Swiss, the company is located in Switzerland, the four engines of the plane are Swiss, and the entrepreneurial spirit is definitely 100 percent Swiss.

And it makes sense that a company like Solar Impulse would originate in Switzerland, because the country itself is ranked as the most innovative country in the world, having secured the top spot for the past four years running in the Innovation Union Scoreboard and the Global Innovation Index, and for the past six years in the WEF Global Competitiveness Report.

As an example of how Solar Impulse leverages the strength of its country, the project has been successful in receiving strong support from the Swiss Confederation with various resources, taking a leading role in promoting clean technology for a better environment. Many leading Swiss companies have also signed on to fund the project, and have lent their expertise and technical innovations to help make this project happen.

The Swiss view their support not only as helping an individual company, but as helping the world by taking a leadership role in clean technology in line with its broad policy of sustainable use of the limited natural resources available, such as water protection, wide-spread waste recycling and innovative sustainable architectural concepts.

Not all companies can make grand achievements like Solar Impulse.  But as your company looks to make its mark in business and the world, it is important to consider how the right country can take an active role in helping you achieve more, grow faster, and make your dreams come true.


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Daniel Bangser is the Director of U.S. Investment Promotion for the Swiss government’s trade and investment agency Switzerland Global Enterprise. You can find him on LinkedIn.

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