Institute Small and Medium Entreprises (SME)



The Institute Small and Medium Entreprises (SME) organises its activities around the four core principles of interest.

The first is the Entrepreneurial Process when creating a company. What factors encourage entrepreneurial activities in a region? What training measures are needed to mobilise entrepreneurial potential in students? What is the profile of entrepreneurs and SMEs in our region? What are their needs, their strengths and their weaknesses? We are interested not only in entrepreneurs with strong growth potential, but also in senior entrepreneurs, as well as in social and  female entrepreneurship.

But entrepreneurship does not limit itself to the creation of a company; how a company manages its growth is equally as important. This other domain, «Growth & SMEs Internationalisation», involves  successful internationalization strategies and new directions for SMEs.  How do entrepreneurs organise sustainable business growth? Also, what are working conditions for entrepreneurs like, and what is the impact of these conditions on their health?

A third line of research is based on the heterogeneous nature of SMEs and addresses the issues of Family Business and succession. According to a recent study, 25% of Swiss SMEs will have to arrange their succession in the next five years.  Research must look into this problem and offer solutions, such as platforms reaching out to entrepreneurs and potential successors.

A final field covers innovations, notably how innovations can be initiated and implemented in large companies and public organisations – Corporate Entrepreneurship. Social innovation is included in this field, notably through the study and implementation of business networks to promote female entrepreneurial careers.



The Institute Small and Medium Entreprises (SME) offers mandates and services in the following domains:

  • Occupational health, analysis and prevention of risks, psycho-social risks and stress analysis, satisfaction studies.

  • Human resources, evaluation, management and appraisal of skills, coaching, recruitment assistance.

  • Strategy, strategic plans, business plans and models.

  • Market studies, plan marketing.



The research projects of our Institute are financed through public or private funds. They are aimed at gathering scientific findings and practical recommendations, mainly for entrepreneurs and SMEs.


Several Key Projects in Progress:

Amarok Observatory, Swiss Observatory overseeing the health of entrepreneurs, SME heads, and independents
This observatory aims at studying and documenting the working conditions of this special category of workers, that is, entrepreneurs, SME heads, and independents.  A further objective is prevention: through our actions, we would like to help heads better live their activity.

The GEM Project (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) -
The GEM Project explores entrepreneurial activity in Switzerland. It is an international research project launched jointly in the 90s by the London Business School in England and Babson College in the United States. The global GEM report compares results obtained in 54 countries, while the Swiss report focusses on results in our country, and compares them with those of similar countries. Our Institute is responsible for carrying out the study for Switzerland each year and for drawing up the report.

SIES Swiss International Entrepreneurship Survey -
An annual study on the internationalization of SMEs in Switzerland



Summer School

A Summer School is organised for two weeks every summer, with a view to building international and cultural ties in entrepreneurship and innovation among master students here and elsewhere, through intensive courses and visits with innovative companies in Switzerland.

Ad-hoc Courses in different domains, on request:  
  • Occupational Health and Prevention

  • Marketing and selling

  • Property Management



The Institute regularly organises breakfast and evening conferences on themes related to entrepreneurship. The Successful Entrepreneur and Entrepreneurs and their Health are the current favourites. For more information, see the calendar of events.



Institute Small and Medium Entreprises (SME)
School of Management Fribourg
Room 425 (4th floor)
Ch. du Musée 4
CH-1700 Fribourg

Head of institute
Dr. Jean-Marie Ayer
T: +41 26 429 63 77
Haute école de gestion | Ch. du Musée 4 | 1700 Fribourg | T : +41 26 429 63 70 | F : +41 26 429 63 75 | |
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