Being a board member of a startup company or innovative SME entails special challenges and skills!

Program & Locations

The Startup Board Academy program has been designed for business angels, investors, corporate venture capitalists, startup founders, SME owners, experienced as well as new board members who want to become successful board members of a startup, scale-up or SME.

After the success of the first sessions in 2015, the program grew tremendously! We are proud to offer 5 different course locations in Switzerland with sessions in French and in English. During this four-day education program, we will prepare new and experienced board members to handle specific situations faced while being on a startup board. Based on a highly interactive format and real-life examples, we will discuss duties and responsibilities of board members as well as of the specificities of the Swiss legal environment. Furthermore, we will address the financial management of a company, work on real cases and prepare for crisis management. Finally, participants will have the chance to meet with real companies to work on a due diligence exercise.

Upcoming trainings


September 8, 2021
Session Autumn 2021
Application open


September 14, 2021
Fall Session 2021
Application open


November 2, 2021
Autumn Session 2021
Application open


Paul Watkins
CEO at KÔJNT Masters Accredited Executive Coach

I got a lot from the SBMA sessions. Acting on a Swiss board has some significant differences to other countries. The SBMA sessions made those differences clear and gave a realistic and pragmatic experience of where a Swiss board member’s attention needs to be.

Isabel Hunger - Glaser
Executive Director Swiss Expert Committee For Biosafety

The course was a great experience! ​ Not only did I learn a lot, especially from the shared experiences from the instructors, but we also had the opportunity to talk to other persons with similar interests yet with a completely different background.

Sergio Legrant
Board Member at Atlantik Gesundheit AG

I’ve decided to attend the BA to learn how to mitigate the legal and financial risks that go together with a board membership in Switzerland. To perform well as a BOD there are a couple of things you need

Program Lead

Virginie Verdon

Jacques Hefti

Benedict Stalder


Guillaume Dubray

Julian Foulger

Jacques Bonvin

Michel Jaccard

Karim Maizar

Jean de Wolff

Brigitte Baumann

Christine Calvino

Thomas Rauber

Martin Frey

Benedict Stalder


How it started

The Startup Board Academy program is born from the experience of seasoned board members serving on SME and startup boards. They realised that board members are highly exposed in a small company! The resources are limited and time to make decisions as well. Sitting on a board of a startup or fast-moving SME is like running a Formula 1. Any decision will have a very direct impact on the company. Startup or SME will naturally experiment several crisis in a very short time. In 2015, EPFL Innovation Park and Startup Campus decided to build a tailor-made program for SME and Startup boards.

The Team

We are proud to work with senior board members of SMEs and startup companies, who are serving on boards in Switzerland and in Europe. They share their real-life entrepreneurial and board experience with the participants and make sure they can accelerate their understanding of the specific issues of small companies and avoid typical pitfalls of board assignment of fast-moving organisations.

The community

Over the years we have trained about 500 high-level Board members and advisors on Swiss governance rules and the role and duties of Board members of fast growing, high-potential startups and technology SMEs. We believe our alumni can help accelerate the growth of many of them thanks to experience transfer and a better governance, which should enhance investor confidence.

Contact us