- Strategic Location
- Agrifood sector
- Education and Training
- Labor Market
- Quality of Life
At the center of Switzerland and Europe
The Canton of Fribourg is situated on the main road and rail networks of Switzerland and Europe and is traversed by two motorways. Nearly 20% of the Swiss population (1.5 million people) is within 45 minutes of the Canton. Other urban centers and Switzerland’s main airports (Basle, Berne, Geneva, Zurich) are all accessible within 20 to 90 minutes. Neighboring countries – Germany, France, Italy and Austria – are easily accessible by rail, road and air.
A unique agricultural and food sector
Fribourg is a canton that is both: agriculturally structured with 75,000 hectares of agricultural land and nearly 3,000 farms, and at the same time industrially developed, with a dense network of food producing SMEs and leading national and international companies such as Micarna, Cremo, Nespresso, ELSA and Cailler. Nearly a quarter of Swiss agricultural products are processed in Fribourg! Particularly important for the canton are the domains of milk and cheese, chocolate, coffee and meat as well as the market gardening and vegetable production sectors. Fribourg combines the know-how of craftsmenship and industrial excellency with products recognized and awarded internationally, thereby conveying both values at the same time; regional traditionalism and innovation.
Beyond a strong private agricultural business sector the canton benefits from an institutional framework that is particularly conducive to the emergence, development and support of innovative and sustainable initiatives in the AgriFood sector. Research and training institutions with multidisciplinary vocation and national or even international scope such as Agroscope (the Confederation’s competence center for Agricultural and Food Research) and the Fribourg State Agricultural Institute in Grangeneuve (an education center for professions concerned with the agricultural and food sector) further strengthen the sector's dynamism.
In addition, the presence of the Cluster Food & Nutrition in Fribourg fosters collaborations with the main agricultural experts and professionals in Switzerland, at both the industrial and academic/R&D levels. With nearly 80 members, the Cluster Food & Nutrition has an excellent network and is an important facilitation platform.
With the St-Aubin Innovation Space, Fribourg has the infrastructure and the agricultural land, the office space as well as the premises for experimenting and launching operations that are particularly suitable for hosting the winners of the Agri & Co Challenge.
A range of educational excellence from kindergarten to University
A hub for science, education and professional training, Fribourg has an unusually high density of institutes of higher education as well as a full range of opportunities for basic training and continuing education.
In addition to a cosmopolitan university, there are five technical colleges and institutes in Fribourg including the schools of engineering and architecture, management, social work, health and education. Some offer postgraduate courses leading to masters degrees. In addition, the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, located just one hour away from the city of Fribourg, has also a location in Fribourg.
Specialized institutes of learning are also established in the Canton, providing professional training in trade, agriculture, music, art, multimedia and hospitality. A range of secondary schools and gymnasiums, a vocational training center, a trade school and a business school provide an array of excellent secondary school education and vocational training. Instruction is given in French and German at all levels.
The Canton is home to a large pool of highly skilled personnel, many of whom are fluent in German and French, and who also speak an additional language (e.g. English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.).
Political and social stability and the absence of strikes guarantee the uninterrupted flow in the course of business.
International studies also underline that Swiss workers are among the most productive in the world.
When establishing a business, officials are cooperative and efficient in granting authorizations and permits required for the transfer of management and qualified foreign employees.
Work contracts and labor costs
Labor costs in the Canton of Fribourg are generally 10 – 20% lower in comparison with other major urban centers.
Work contracts are usually set for an indefinite period. The probationary period typically varies from 30 to 90 days during which either party may terminate with seven days’ notice. Regular notice periods vary between one to three months depending on the number of years of service. The duration of a normal full-time work-week is 42 hours per week with certain sectors able to go beyond this level.
Salaries paid by companies are gross amounts, which means that they include social contributions (social security, unemployment insurance and other benefits). paid by both the employer and the employee. The share of payroll taxes paid by the employer represents between 16 and 20% of the gross annual salary.
A multicultural environment on the language border
Thanks to its bilingualism, the Canton of Fribourg is the bridge between the French and German speaking regions of Switzerland. Education is provided in French and German from kindergarten through university; a unique situation in Europe. English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese are also widely spoken. Fribourg’s multilingualism allows companies to access various cultural communities, as well as most major European markets.
The Canton of Fribourg offers tax conditions that are among the most interesting in Switzerland for companies operating in the country, as well as for holdings and companies whose activities are oriented abroad.
Companies that are newly founded or established in the Canton may obtain a partial or total tax exemption on Cantonal and municipal levels for a period of up to ten years.
Fribourg, an extraordinary place
Everyone agrees that living in the Canton of Fribourg has its many advantages, with a pristine natural environment, a wide range of recreational and cultural offerings, as well as a cosmopolitan and multicultural ambiance. In Fribourg, the historical and contemporary, the traditional and modern, as well as dynamic cities and picturesque countryside are interwoven.
The city of Fribourg was ranked first in Western Switzerland in a study on the quality of life in 104 major Swiss cities.