The FIT seed loan is granted when the new target company begins operations (normally when the limited company or limited liability company is between 0-12 months old) in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, when the product is still in the prototype and technical development phase.
The project must be set up in collaboration with or emanate from an institute or university (i.e. EPFL, HES, HEIG-VD, Unil, CHUV…) based in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
FIT offers FIT seed loans at a maximum of one hundred thousand Swiss francs (CHF 100,000.-) that can represent, at most, half of the total project budget, the balance of which is to be covered by direct and indirect contributions of the candidate. The loans are under personal guarantee, which means that several persons of the company stand surety of the loan given by the FIT, meaning that the company itself is responsible.
It is a question of a personal joint guarantee. This implies that, in theory, it is possible to come after the total amount of the guarantee, which means not only a part of the debt. The FIT will turn towards the persons that stand bail if the company is not able to reimburse the loan, and this at 100% up until the maximum of the amount due. In case of bankruptcy, the FIT agrees to give up 50% of the loan. Furthermore, the loans are without interest and last 8 years. The loan will then be reimbursed after the third year.
The Seed loans are accompanied by a coaching committee/entity that is in charge of the preparation, the follow-up and the overseeing of the demands for loans up until the presentation of the project in front of the FIT committee. The coaches are issued by the EPFL Innovation Park and assigned by the FIT.
In 2017, 13 Seed loans were granted by the FIT, adding up to a total amount of 1.3 million Swiss francs.