Establishing Swiss Blockchain Connections

On October 17, the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce invited for a Swiss Crypto Valley Cocktail Reception. Over 90 attendees discovered that Switzerland is rapidly becoming one of the global leaders in Blockchain technologies and Crypto Currencies. The event was sold out. Here is a quick summary of the event.

The Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce brought together three unique Blockchain experts: A Swiss government representative, a Swiss legal and tax specialist and a successful local Blockchain entrepreneur.

After an introduction by Peter Schaub, Vice President of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the three speakers gave the audience fresh insights about the challenges of introducing blockchain technologies. The two Swiss speakers were further explaining how Switzerland is quickly becoming a European center for blockchain related companies.

Swiss Blockchain Event - Audience

Swiss Crypto Valley – A Magnet for Blockchain Companies

Lukas Sieber spoke about the birth and growth of the Swiss Crypto Valley, and visions for the future. He asked: “Who has heard of the Swiss Crypto Valley before?” Only a few people raise their hand.

Lukas has been traveling all over North America introducing the Swiss Crypto Valley, presenting the many advantages that Switzerland has to offer to Blockchain companies, such as the decentralized political system, the high level of education and its legal framework. Bitcoin and Ethereum are just two companies that discovered Switzerland as great place to do business.

Switzerland has a great political and legal system for Blockchain companies to florish

That’s where Thomas Linder, the second speaker, stepped in. He is a Tax Partner at MME, one of the largest legal companies in Switzerland and the firm assisting Ethereum to establish itself in Switzerland. He was highlighting one of Switzerland’s biggest advantages: its treatment of bitcoins as a currency. This gave Switzerland a major head start in the blockchain development industry and crypto currencies. From a legal perspective Switzerland has an open regulatory system. In short, it is relatively easy to speak directly with government regulators.

Swiss Blockchain Event - Speakers

“Do you know that they world’s first Bitcoin ATM is in Vancouver?”

The third speaker Guy Halford-Thompson provided the story perspective of the evening – he talked about his experience of creating a successful company in the blockchain space.

He began to work with blockchain technology back in 2011. At that time, you could only buy bitcoins if you knew someone you already has bitcoins and who would exchange them. Halford-Thompson started to buy bitcoins in Canada, sent them to his brother in the UK, who sold them there and sent the money back. They did this for a couple of months until they realized that they could make a business out of this. Quickbitcoin was their first business they set up, their own portal to sell bitcoins. Guy and his brother sold Quickbitcoin in 2015 and at the same time they founded BTL.

The goal was to take the learning from Quickbitcoin and the technology behind it and apply it to traditional industries and infrastructure. They took their technology and worked with banks, helping them to improve their systems and technology. Today, BTL is expanding well beyond the financial sector.

Insight from the Q&A session

In response to the security of Blockchains, Guy Halford-Thompson explained:

“You can build the best safe in the world, but if you leave the door open, someone is going to break in and steal it. Blockchain is not introducing anything new, cryptography wise. Blockchain and bitcoin are built on cryptography that have been around for a while, just applied in a different way.

Generally, when you look at security issues we have in transactions on a day to day base, most of them are down to human errors. The amount of human errors is higher if you have complex systems. So from my view, the majority of the additional security we get from implementing Blockchain technologies is because the systems itself are drastically less complex. It’s not going to eliminate hacking or other security issue but it’s a much simpler system.”

A special Thanks to our Sponsors and the Board of Directors of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Royal Bank of Canada, the Swiss Consulate General in Vancouver, and the Greater Zurich Area Organization, a Public Private Partnership in Switzerland. And finally, this event was the result of the tireless efforts of Nina Bader, our executive secretary, and the board of directors of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

In case you were wondering: The very first bitcoin ATM is at Waves Coffee Shop on Howe and Smithe in Downtown Vancouver.

Previous Blockchain Post: Switzerland and Blockchain – A Marriage Made in Heaven?

Swiss Translation Agency in Vancouver

Diction Ltd is a translation agency with offices in Switzerland and Canada and a member of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Their services include editing, proofreading, translation, and copywriting in almost every language. We had the chance to talk with Patrick Fassbender, CEO of Diction, about the advantages of having an office in Vancouver and the next big thing for Diction.

Translation agency Diction - Logo

Diction is a translation agency with offices in Switzerland and Canada, why did you chose Vancouver and how did you build up your network in this industry in Vancouver?

In 2014, Diction was looking for a way to ensure and expand the 24-hour service it offers its Swiss client base. Vancouver came to mind fairly quickly. We then decided to look at the business environment in Vancouver and found a great partner in the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce. They were instrumental in helping us set up a network to build up our Vancouver branch. Today, we have seven employees and a great network of external experts in the area who allow us to serve our Swiss clients 24/7/365.

You have two offices in Switzerland and one in Vancouver, do you have a different strategic focus here in Vancouver than the offices in Switzerland?

All three offices serve our client base, which is primarily Swiss. As a company specializing in language services, we focus on the following strategic fields: marketing, finance, and legal.

What are the biggest opportunities in BC for a business like Diction?

Currently, we do not actively offer our services to clients in British Columbia. As previously stated, at the moment we are concentrating our business activities on the Swiss market.

What are the biggest challenges in BC for a business like Diction?

The biggest challenge is to find the right employees that satisfy the requirements of our Swiss clients in terms of language skills.

What is the next big thing for Diction?

The next big thing for Diction is the roll-out of our enterprise resource planning system, which we developed in-house, in spring 2018.

 

Media Contact

Diction AG: www.diction.ch

Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce: www.swisscanadianchamber.com

The SCCC would like to thank our members Patrick Fassbender and Karin Reinhold for their time and effort spent for this article.

Vancouver Startup Week 2017

Next Monday is the kickoff for the fourth Vancouver Startup Week (VSW). With about 3000 attendees this is going to be a great opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs, investors and organizations. We had the chance to talk to Vivian Chan, VSW Co-Chair, and Katty Wang, her Co-Chair, about the program and the success of the VSW. 

Logo Vancouver Startup Week

Why is Vancouver an interesting city for Startups?

Vancouver is consistently ranked as a top startup ecosystem in Canada and worldwide. With our close proximity to San Francisco and great US connections, startups are able to easily make international connections. Locally there are also lots of great resources and organizations that available to help startups grow, from the Startup Visa Program to the number of accelerators/incubators in town providing everything from co-working space, programs and mentorship to startups. Vancouver also has world-class universities and educators to promote and encourage innovation, and to support academic research on advanced technologies.

Our city also allows entrepreneurs to find good work life balance – you’ll often find them running or cycling to work, spending their day at coworking spaces and coffee shops and then enjoying activities out on the water or on our mountains.

What are the highlights of this year’s Vancouver Startup Week?

We have over 65 events (with more expecting to be added) over the course of the week and expecting about 3000 attendees.
Featured events include our Vancouver Startup Week Hackathon, Recruitment Fair, Startup Open House

To whom would you recommend to attend the Vancouver Startup Week?

Entrepreneurs, students, educators, investors, support organizations… Vancouver Startup Week brings together everyone in the startup ecosystem!

Which event is on top of your list, which event(s) are you going to attend?

We will be attending all of them! There is something for everyone during the week!

What feedback did you receive after the last Startup Week? Are there any stories of success that started at the Vancouver Startup Week?

Feedback from Startup Week has always been positive. We hear stories of people founding their startups here in Vancouver or end up staying in Vancouver. They are given many opportunities to make connections with investors or highlight their startup to their public through various events or pitch opportunities. We have also had participants from past hackathons deciding to continue with their product and form their startup.

The Vancouver Startup Week is constantly growing, this is the fourth time it takes place. Are there any changes to last year?

We are doing a better job of integrating into the community and seeing more collaboration within the community to support Vancouver Startup Week. As an example, the local incubators and accelerators are coming together to host a Startup Resources event and reception. This is also the first year that Techstars is actively participating in Vancouver Startup Week with their Techstars Presents events.

We look forward to seeing everyone at Vancouver Startup Week! Check out www.vanstartupweek.ca for more information and to purchase passes!

 

Media Contact

Vancouver Startup Week: www.vanstartupweek.ca

Contact Vancouver Startup Week: chair@vanstartupweek.ca

Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce: www.swisscanadianchamber.com

The SCCC would like to thank VSW Co-Chair Vivian Chan and her Co-Chair Katty Wang for her time and effort spent for this article.

Annual Schützenfest at the Swiss Mountain Range

On October 7/8, the Swiss Canadian Mountain Range Association is celebrating their annual Schützenfest at their chalet. A great opportunity to meet other Swiss people and to participate in some shooting competitions.

What is the highlight of the Schützenfest 2017?

The highlight of the event will be the “Absenden” on Sunday after the dinner which is the Medal Presentation and score announcements.

We will have visitors from Edmonton, Calgary and Los Angeles that will be joining us and hopefully many others from nearby areas. This is always a great opportunity to meet fellow Swiss and socialize with them. Maybe even do a “Jass” with them. If we are lucky, we may even see a bear or a deer.

There will be lunches and dinners available (12 noon – 1PM on both days and dinner starting usually around 6PM).

Who can participate in the competitions and shoot different rifles?

Anybody can participate in all the disciplines or select only the ones you would like to do.

What are the disciplines that people can participate in?

The choices are: 300m Rifle (Fullbore), 50m Rifle & Pistol .22 Caliber, 50m Pistol 9mm Caliber, Crossbow and Trap Shooting.

Impressions from the Schützenfest 2016

One thing that Swiss people abroad miss the most is their food – will there be some Swiss food at the Schützenfest?

Our menus are created by the volunteers that are willing to help and sacrifice their time for these events. For that reason, we do not know what kind of food will be served. But it is always good and wholesome. We will have some Swiss style “Weihe” for dessert available this year!

What are other upcoming events of the SCMRA?

  • September 24th: There will be an Open House Day from 1-4PM. This will be an introduction to our club and facilities where people can try a few shoots on all the ranges. View our club and get information on how we conduct our shooting season. Answers to any questions you may have. The purpose of this day is to let Swiss people know, young and old, that we exist and what we do.
  • October 22nd: We will have a “Saushoot”, which is a “members only” event. At the dinner event, the so-called “Metzgete”, we will be joined by the outdoors club. We would be happy to entertain other Swiss that may appreciate a “Blut- oder Leberwurst” (Blood or Liver Sausage).
  • October 29th: “Jass” Tournament. Good way to hone your Swiss style card playing.
  • December 3rd: Santa Claus Party (bring up the kids to meet Santa) only if we have enough participation.

The Schützenfest will be held on Saturday Oct 7th and Sunday Oct 8th from 10am – 12 (Noon) & 1pm – 4pm. The chalet of the Swiss Mountain Range Association is located at 4141 Quarry Road, Coquitlam BC.

 

Media Contact

Swiss Canadian Mountain Range Association: www.scmra.ca

Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce: www.swisscanadianchamber.com

The SCCC would like to thank our member Alain Muhlebach for his time and effort spent for this article.

Switzerland and Blockchain – A Marriage Made in Heaven?

Everyone is talking about blockchain. Big banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan call it “a technology that can change everything, a game changer”. Blockchain can solve the question on how we organize humans, networks, and decision-making processes. But do you actually know what blockchain is?

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), is a decentralized database or ledger that contains a continuously growing list of data records of transactions that once established cannot be changed. This new technology is behind crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ether and Tezos. But its applications are far wider. It potentially could change whole industries from film making to health care.

Major global consulting companies such as Deloitte think that it is not a question of whether Blockchain will establish itself, but more a question of when and in what areas.

How Blockchain connect the World

Photo Credit: www.blockchaintechnologies.com

Blockchain and Switzerland

Blockchain applications will develop tremendously over the next few years. Different participants are experimenting with new applications. The race is on and Switzerland is right at the forefront.

Different factors make Switzerland an excellent place to develop technologies such as blockchain that make decentralization possible. Switzerland has already a decentralized political system, and a strong culture of individual rights. In addition, it is one of the best places in the world to innovate and to operate a company  with global reach. It is stable and business-friendly.

All those factors inspired Johann Gevers to initiate a Swiss Crypto Valley in Zug, Switzerland in 2013. The idea was it to create a global hub for crypto technologies that are based on the blockchain technology. Some of the biggest players in the world such as Bitcoin and Ethereum chose the Swiss Crypto Valley for their head offices and servers.

 

On October 17, 2017 two of the key players of the Swiss Crypto Valley will be in Vancouver and speak at the Blockchain event of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce. In the next newsletter we will introduce them.

Swiss National Day Celebration in Vancouver

Happy Birthday Switzerland! On August 1, Switzerland is celebrating its National Day. The Swiss Canadian Mountain Range Association will organize a day full of festivities on July 29, don’t miss this chance to celebrate with other Swiss Expats./

The Swiss Canadian Mountain Range Association has been the host of the Swiss National Day Celebration in Vancouver for years. Their Swiss Chalet in Coquitlam offers the perfect location to celebrate the birthday of Switzerland.

This year’s festivities will take place on Saturday, July 29 and the doors of the chalet will open at 4pm. There will be a bar, a grill and a beer garden where you can enjoy some local beer kegs.

The entertainment will be provided by the “S-Bahn” Band, an Oktoberfest favorite, and the Vancouver Dorfmusik/Choir. Certainly a great opportunity to put on the dancing feet and to enjoy some classics from Switzerland and Germany.

Later on in the evening, there will be an official ceremony with the National Anthem. After the official part, the children are invited to participate at the Lampion Parade.

For those ones, who do not want to drive back from Coquitlam during the night, there is the possibility to stay overnight, the camping and RV parking is for free. The next day, the Mountain Range Association will provide a Sunday Breakfast for 10 Dollars.

For further information about the Swiss National Day Celebration at the Swiss Chalet, please visit our website or send an email to scmra.president@gmail.com.

Quality Coffee Systems – Where the Proof is in the Cup

Vancouver is one of the best coffee cities in the world – Vancouverites love their coffee shops as much as Londoner love their pubs. Our corporate member Quality Coffee Systems (QCS) entered the coffee business almost 20 years ago and today they have clients such as UBC, Costco or Whistler Blackcomb.

950 coffee shops appear on the review page Yelp when you are looking for coffee and tea places in Vancouver. Every neighborhood has its particular coffee shops, representing the flair of their part of the city. But did you know that a growing number of coffee shops is working with Swiss coffee machines? Our corporate member QCS is providing many places all over the city with Swiss coffee machines mainly Schaerer and Jura, super automatic espresso machines. They also represent the European brands Conti and WMF in Western Canada. We got the chance to talk to Roger Knecht, owner and Fabian Lemann, Sales and Marketing Director at QCS.

The office of Quality Coffee Systems

QCS is an expert for coffee and juice solutions, how did you build up your network in this industry?

QCS was founded as a father/son partnership in January 1998. At the beginning, automatic espresso machines were almost non-existent in North America. The price for our Swiss machines were twice the cost of the traditional Italian machines in the market and it was very hard to find customers.
In 1999, we agreed to an espresso machine test with Costco and they eventually picked us in competition with an Italian manufacturer.
We started to install machines all over Canada and we had to train and set up service vendors everywhere we placed machines. In those days, we were flying all over the place.
In 2000, we introduced our Swiss machines to Starbucks and after a 6 month field test, they decided to replace all 3000 machines in North America with our brand.
In 2001, we hired our first service technician and we are now up to 5. Today we perform equipment service, not only for our own units but also for many other companies like Starbucks, Illy Coffee roasters and Lavazza coffee.
Today, we are the official representative for WMF coffee, Schaerer, CONTI, as well as the BC distributor and official service center for JURA espresso machines (residential and professional).

Presentation of the Jura Coffee Machine

What are the biggest opportunities in BC for a business like QCS?

BC continues to be a Canadian trend setter for specialty coffee and QCS is at the forefront as an equipment supplier. Over the last two years, QCS could grow the business, and sales went up by 15%.

What are the biggest challenges in BC for a business like QCS?

The online explosion invites a lot of competition from elsewhere. Customer are trying to save money buying espresso equipment outside the province. It is a challenge to explain the benefits of a local purchase due to the service support and personal relationship factors.
Furthermore, larger global companies are taking over local companies we have a good relationships with. This leads to a shift of business development decisions and centralizes head-offices to one global location.

You provide commercial coffee machines, which coffee shops in Vancouver produce coffee with your products?

We have clients ranging from small “mum and pap” operations up to large companies like Save on Foods, Costco, UBC, Vancouver Airport, Fairmont, Marriott, Whistler Blackcomb, Nesters Market, and many more.

Presentation of a Vancouver Coffee Shop with a Swiss Coffee Machine

Tim Hortons recently started a new campaign – they equipped over 3,500 restaurants across Canada with new, innovative espresso machines – your Schaerer espresso machines (read more “Tim Hortons franchisees asked to invest $12K in new espresso machine“). Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

In spring 2016, Tim Hortons approached Schaerer and after an initial lab test, Schaerer was chosen as one of two manufacturers to participate in a 6 months field test.
Last fall, the decision was made in Schaerer’s favour and over the past 4 months, 3500 machines were rolled-out and installed across Canada. We are servicing all lower mainland locations.

What is the next big thing for QCS?

We have recently ventured into citrus juice machines made by ZUMEX in Spain. We are the official representative of the brand in Western Canada. The healthy food and beverage industry, as well as the juice scene is expected to grow over the next years.

We are also pursuing the creation of a high quality specialty coffee vending machine which would be a new product on the global market.

 

Media Contact

Quality Coffee Systems: www.qualitycoffeesystems.ca

Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce: www.swisscanadianchamber.com

The SCCC would like to thank our member Roger Knecht and Fabian Lemann for their time and effort spent for this article.

Speaker’s Night: Real Estate and Construction

The last week in May was fully marked by the Green event “Building Lasting Change” organized by the Canada Green Building Council. Delegations from all over the world found their way to Vancouver to talk about actionable solutions to reduce GHG emissions. In the same week, the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) organized a Speaker’s Event with the topic “Real Estate and Construction”.

Three Swiss companies joined the Green Event “Building Lasting Change” in Vancouver. They were accompanied by Markus Reubi, the head of the Swiss Business Hub in Montreal. Therefore, the Speaker’s Event of the Swiss Canadian Chamber was a great opportunity to connect the Swiss Delegation with the local members and friends of the Chamber. More than 40 people followed the invitation and met at the St. Regis Bar&Grill in Downtown Vancouver to discuss about Real Estate and Construction.

Audience Speaker's Night

The main presentation of the evening was hold by Franz Gehriger from SwissReal with a strong focus on their Exchange Project in Downtown Vancouver (Pender and Howe St). The building will be Vancouver’s most advanced and sustainable building – 60% reduction in energy consumption, 35% reduction in energy costs and 85% reduction in CO2 emissions. The focus lies on health and wellness, therefore there will be 100% fresh air throughout the whole building and a radiant heating and cooling system – the first of its kind in North America. The opening of the Exchange Project can be expected in fall 2017.

Reat Estate Presentation Franz Gehriger

After a short discussion with the event participants, Franz Gehriger handed the microphone over to Markus Reubi. He took the chance to talk about Cleantech innovation in Switzerland, the pioneering role of the country and the potential of Swiss technology in new export markets. Markus Reubi introduced the key messages of the Cleantech Report 2017 and emphasized on the fact that cleantech has a longstanding tradition in Switzerland – it is not just a trend.

Presentation Markus Reubi

After the short presentation of Markus Reubi, the different representatives of the Swiss delegation presented their business to the attendees – Eric Nelson for Nelson Architech, Patrice Bulliard for Durable and Josef Mondl for Renggli AG.

Representatives of the Swiss Delegation

CEO Eric Nelson

CEO: Eric Nelson

Company: Nelson Architech

Field: Sustainable Architecture – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies

Website: www.nelsonarchitech.com

 

CEO Patrice Bulliard

CEO: Patrice Bulliard

Company: Durable

Field: Agency for Urban Planning, Financing and Project Development

Website: www.durable-dev.com

 

CEO Max Renggli

CEO: Max Renggli

Company: Renggli AG

Field: Energy Efficient Timber Construction

Website: www.renggli-haus.ch

 

We would like to thank everyone who joined us for that event and a special thank goes to the Swiss Delegation and the Swiss Business Hub for participating at our event.

The Powerpoint Presentation by Franz Gehriger and Markus Reubi can be send out if requested. Please send an email to chamber@swissccc.com

 

Matterhorn Music in Vancouver

When you enter the store Matterhorn Music you see instruments and little tools as far as the eye can see. Right in the middle, David Gsponer is focused on repairing an instrument. “There are not many people around here anymore who are repairing instruments.”
We talked with our newest member David Gsponer about his passion and how he built up his unusual business in British Columbia.

 

What is your business here in British Columbia?

I run a music store in Surrey that is specialized in woodwind and brass repairs and also some guitars.

From where does your passion for musical instruments come from?

I have been involved in music since a young age – my dad was playing in the village band and I went along to rehearsals and festivals. My dad recommended me to become an Instrumentenmacher/reparateur (building and repairing Instruments for a living).

How did you build up your business/network in BC?

I worked for Northwest Music for almost ten years – five of them as the shop manager. I also played in some bands here for example the Pacific Symphonic Windensemble PSWE, Cambie Street Brass and the Vancouver Dorfmusik. Through that I met many band teachers and musicians. That helped me in getting new customers.

What were the biggest challenges when starting your own business in BC?

The biggest challenge is to stay afloat, for the first seven years all the money I made went back into my business, not much was left for my own wage. Finding good people is also very difficult.

What are the biggest opportunities for a business like yours in BC?

One of the biggest opportunities here is that you’re meeting new people all the time.

What is the next big thing for you and your business?

I am trying to grow enough to give lessons out of my store.

What is always in your suitcase when you come back from Switzerland?

Walliser Roggenbrot and Fendant.

 

Media Contact

Matterhorn Music: www.matterhornmusic.ca

Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce: www.swisscanadianchamber.com

The SCCC would like to thank our newest member David Gsponer for his time and effort spent for this interview.

The New Directors of the Swiss Canadian Chamber

Chris Abel and Heiko Riese are the two new directors on the board of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Both of them have been elected by the members during the last Annual General Meeting. We talked with them about their expectations, why they came to Canada and how it is to work for a large Swiss company abroad.

New Directors:  Heiko RieseHeiko Riese is Senior Relationship Manager at the UBS Bank Canada. He studied at the Freie Universität Berlin Islamic Studies and Economics and works for the UBS since 2006. He spent the last couple of years in Saudi Arabia in the UBS Advisory Office Riyadh. Since 2016 he calls Vancouver his new home.

 

New Directors: Chris Abel

 

Chris Abel is Sales Manager at Lindt & Sprüngli (Canada), responsible for the field sales in Western Canada. He completed the Swiss Business Diploma at the Business School in Zurich. He has been working for Lindt & Sprüngli in Kilchberg/Zurich before he got transferred to Vancouver.

 

 

You are the newest director on the SCCC board, what are your expectations for your time on the board? What would you like to contribute to the members of the chamber?

Chris Abel (CA): First off, I am very excited and also honored to be involved at the chamber at a more senior level. My expectations are that I will personally learn more about the different individuals who are members at the chamber, their personal and corporate background and experience and also the companies and sectors that they represent. But equally important, I would like to learn what their expectations are towards the chamber. It would be my wish that I could build some strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the membership at large and the members of the board.

Heiko Riese (HR): First of all, I expect my time on the board to be a great experience and a time of learning. I would like to bring in my strength in networking, which has proven necessary and helpful to settle in in the different countries I have worked before. I will contribute to set up high-profile events in order to meet the expectations of the members of the SCCC: support in their business activities and that we provide useful networking opportunities.

How can you personally benefit from being a member and a director of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce?

CA: Personally, I think developing a vibrant and diverse network of contacts, acquaintances and connections is a big benefit, both personally and also professionally. But equally important for me is maintaining a link to Switzerland and also to Swiss and European expats and professionals who reside in Western Canada and people who share similar interests and experiences.

HR: Personally I expect to benefit from working with the other board members on different topics than my professional occupation. I want to broaden my horizon, and I also hope to get to know the SCCC members better.

What brought you to Vancouver?

CA: A long, long time ago, I had come to Vancouver as an ESL student and quickly fell in love with the city, the culture, the geography and the overall west-coast life-style. It had quickly become a dream of mine to, at one point, manage to move to Canada’s west-coast and gain international work and life experience. Ultimately, I was lucky to transfer from Kilchberg/Zurich to Vancouver for Lindt Chocolates and ended up getting fully established, with starting a family and building a network of friends.

HR: My previous work location for UBS was Saudi Arabia, and after having lived in a desert country for 5 years, my family and I were longing for a more beautiful and richer nature. Canada, and in particular Vancouver, seemed like the perfect location. Until now we have not been disappointed. (I was asked not to mention the weather in this interview.)

You’re working for a Swiss company abroad, what are the differences between the business world in Switzerland and Canada?

CA: When I first started to work in Vancouver in 1999 I noticed a few very obvious differences (as an employee: getting 2 paychecks per month, not getting a 13th salary, having income tax deducted at the source, but more importantly, a different, more direct work and communications culture, a considerably quicker decision making process etc.) as well as many smaller, subtle differences to which one adapts almost subconsciously and step by step. I also had to learn to be less judgmental… there are many ways to get things done… not just the Swiss way. 🙂

HR: I don’t see huge differences in terms of business environment between Switzerland and Canada. In both places people are well structured and organized. Maybe Vancouver is a bit more leisure-oriented, but also here you find hard working people. One obvious difference is the size of the country; meeting clients in other cities requires a different level of planning and time.

What is always in your suitcase when you come back from a trip to Switzerland?

CA: Inevitably, there will always be a few Fuenflibers, Zweifraenklers or Zwaenzgerli’s left – sometimes even a “Zwaenzgernoetli” or two – and inevitably, I will forget to bring them back to Switzerland on the next visit…(I have an envelope with a bunch of them…) But there are also a few items that I always bring back consciously: Appenzeller Baerli Biber, Glarner Ankenziger (although I do NOT declare that at customs) – I also buy Rivella in cans or smaller bottles to bring along sometimes and I always buy a few tubes of toothpaste that isn’t available here… Some habits are hard to shake…. 🙂

HR: Ovomaltine cookies (Ovo-Kekse). The best Swiss invention since the Swiss Army Knife.

 

Media Contact

UBS Bank Canada: www.ubs.ca

Lindt & Sprüngli (Canada): www.lindt.ca

Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce: www.swisscanadianchamber.com

The SCCC would like to thank our directors Heiko Riese and Chris Abel for their time and effort spent for this interview.