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Old 26.06.2011, 21:41
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Starting GmbH - non-EU director, permits, etc


I have read the forums extensively for a few months now and havent seen a post that quite covers what I would like to know, so thought I would ask here. This post is a bit of a crossover between business & permits so wasnt sure where to post.

My soon to be business partner (EU national) and myself (South African national with UK ILR) are both UK resident and investigating starting a business based in either Zurich or Zug (CH for various strategic reasons).

The business will sell online hosting services to clients worldwide, but mainly EU based. We will have a completed business plan and required starting capital before making any applications. We would both want to be living in Switzerland close to the offices, etc.

From what I have read so far:
- We can use startups.ch and a notary to form a GmbH, of which we could both be directors (need one Swiss resident director?).

- It should be quite straight forward for him to become Swiss resident as an EU national (needs to register with local gemeinde).

- I on the other hand will likely have problems as a non-EU national. I would need to apply for either a L or B (short or long term) Work Permit, plus a Residents B Permit.

1. I am wondering if actually getting the required permits for myself will be very unlikely and/or near impossible, granted that this is a startup company with no trading history, etc. What will the authorities be looking for? Also, I take it trying to apply myself would probably be unwise and I should use an agency for this?

2. I have read about some programmes that the banks sponsor for startups (ZKB, etc) and found some angel capital & VC associations, but it would be nice to hear from someone who has done something similar in CH. Is access to capital for tech startups harder to come by in CH than for e.g. in the UK?

Any other general advice or opinions very welcome too


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finance, non eu citizen, permit, startup

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