Swiss sustainable companies: Unlocking the potential of Technology Fund loan guarantees
Navigating the complex world of intangible products demands deep customer understanding in general. But how can innovative financial solutions for sustainability be tailored to different types of companies in particular? This thesis focuses on an interesting case that addresses this very challenge.
Marion Nussberger, 2023
Bachelor Thesis, Technology Fund
Betreuende Dozierende: Barbara Therese Miller
Keywords: loan guarantee, segmentation, targeting, positioning, persona, buying center, marketing concept
The Technology Fund was established by the Swiss Confederation (FOEN/SFOE). After a thorough due diligence check, it grants loan guarantees to Swiss companies that measurably reduce CO2 emissions with their innovative products or services. At present, Technology Fund's customer portfolio consists of 90% of startups, but businesses of other sizes would also be eligible for these guarantees. The exact reason for the low interest from SMEs is unknown, and therefore the aim of this bachelor thesis is to identify a new segment for Technology Fund and to develop suggestions for a marketing approach.
As part of this bachelor thesis, 4 qualitative interviews were conducted with current and potential customers of the Technology Fund to better understand their exact financial needs and the process of how they currently finance new sustainable developments. In addition, an expert interview was conducted with a corporate client advisor from a Swiss financial institution to verify some of the findings obtained from the customer interviews. A structured literature review on the topics of financial sources, buying center and the buyer persona served as the theoretical foundation of this thesis.
From the literature review, clear definitions for the different categories of possible target companies were developed and included scale-up, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. From the interviews, it was learned that in particular micro and small businesses lack sufficient security and would need loan guarantees as offered by the Technology Fund. One further result of the thesis was to understand the importance of the different buying center roles within SMEs such as decision-maker, gatekeeper, and influencer. Based on the insights from the interviews, a CEO buyer persona was created, with some key pain points being extensive paperwork and a lack of company growth knowledge. One way to address these pain points is by offering coaching sessions to these CEOs. Further, brand awareness within this target segment can be reached through hosting roundtables with thought leaders who have extensive networks. LinkedIn Message Ads can hereby be a helpful tool as it enables creating highly personalized messages. In addition, the value proposition needs to be adapted to appeal to the new target segment by clearly showing them the benefits of external versus internal funding.
Studiengang: Business Administration International Management (Bachelor)
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