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


October 28, 2019
Autumn Sessions 2019
Application closed


November 18, 2019
Autumn Sessions 2019
Application closed


Spring Sessions 2020
Application closed


February 24, 2020
Spring Sessions 2020
Application open
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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.

Philippe D. Monnier
Board Member at several international startups such as WayRay SA

The Startup Board Members Academy is particularly useful because course leaders are successful practitioners, the content is down-to-earth and participants provide excellent networking opportunities. Highly recommended!

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.

Program Lead

Virgine Verdon

Jacques Hefti


Guillaume Dubray

Julian Foulger

Michel Jaccard

Karim Maizar

Jean de Wolff

Brigitte Baumann

Christine Calvino

Thomas Rauber

Martin Frey


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.


Online Crash Courses by Industry Experts

Two industry experts created this online crash course for active or future startup board members, shareholders, and entrepreneurs. It covers all the fundamentals of building a high performing startup Boards: governance, Board composition and responsibilities, challenges and key success factors.

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