Do What You Love is a series that showcases the entrepreneurs behind emerging companies. In this edition, we sat down with Pierre Dorsaz, senior project manager at Swissnex Boston. Here’s what he shared:
I consider myself very lucky to be born in Switzerland. It’s the size of Massachusetts but surrounded by many countries, so it’s a country of many different cultures and four languages. It’s independent with its own identity but also open to the world. There’s also easy access to education. If you’re smart enough to study, you can study. You don’t think twice about it.
The Swiss are hardworking, innovative people. It’s something we have similar with the United States. We have many companies and startups, like HouseTrip, that drive innovation in industries like biotech, electronics and engineering. Like the U.S., Switzerland rewards business success. More and more, the government and the universities are trying to enhance startup creation to make entrepreneurship a real career option for talented graduating students.
Swissnex plays the role of an ambassador of Switzerland. We work as an embassy, raising the visibility of Swiss universities and connecting them with global counterparts. We also host talented startups in our offices, which are all over the world–San Francisco, India, China, Singapore and Boston, where I was for a few years. Now I’m running the new one in New York City, and it’s like my own startup.
I define myself as a facilitator. I’m here to help talented entrepreneurs move forward with their business, be it by connecting them with the right people, hosting them in our space or organizing events. It’s rewarding to be the door-opener for them. And if they go back to Switzerland with a feeling of achievement, I would be happy to have contributed to that–it’s fulfilling to help people make milestones.
We’re all pulling at the same rope when it comes to creating value. I think why the U.S. and Switzerland are successful is because of three ingredients: diverse cultures, hardworking people, and a good education system. We’re more risk-averse than the U.S., so one thing that Switzerland can learn is to reward failures as well as successes. And something the U.S. can take from us is our mindset of doing things with precision and great detail.
My goal was to stay in the U.S. for only 4 months, but it’s been four years. After spending a few years in Boston, I thought I knew everything about the states. But then I moved to New York, where everything is bigger and everything has already been done. If you want to be heard and have an impact here, you have to be more innovative.
I have an exciting task ahead for me, so I’m not thinking of going back to Switzerland soon.