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Switzerland cultivates an entrepreneurial spirit

A 24 year-old computer expert is demonstrating that Switzerland can be a land of opportunity for young entrepreneurs. Three years after founding his BNS company with a start capital of just SFr2,000, Stefan Buess is creating 140 new jobs in Biel.

This content was published on February 29, 2000 - 07:52

A 24 year-old computer expert is demonstrating that Switzerland, too, can be a land of opportunity for young entrepreneurs. Three years after founding his BNS company with a start capital of just SFr2,000, Stefan Buess is creating 140 new jobs in the town of Biel.

Specialising in technical maintenance and communication, BNS will open its Biel offices on Wednesday. For the help centre, Buess is looking for people with information technology skills to help him solve the problems that computer users have with the Internet.

"I used to be managing-director of an Internet café in Zurich and many people came in asking questions. I wondered why they simply didn't ask their Internet service providers but it seems they didn't have the time. That's why I decided to start my business, BNS, answering questions over the telephone," Buess says.

BNS is coming to Biel for a number of reasons. Most residents are bilingual (German and French) and the town has a renowned engineers' school. Biel's office for economic promotion has also seen the potential, helping to find offices near the railway station.

"We not only offer a help line 24-hours a day all year, but also run help centres for Internet service providers now," says Buess, who wants to expand services rapidly within Europe.

He pays much attention to detail, insisting that staff have one hour's training every day to keep up-to-date with the Internet world. "The Internet is changing rapidly and if something happens with new protocols or services in the United States, our employees need to know that 24 hours later at the maximum, so that they can help our customers," Buess adds.

Staff at BNS all seem to have one particular trait. "Our employees are Internet freaks. They typically go home after work, sit in front of their PCs till three o'clock in the morning and then come to work at seven o'clock. I always say that if they're not Internet freaks when they start work at BNS, they certainly are after one or two months," says Buess.

By Robert Brookes

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