Because of its importance to a dynamic development of the economy, the formation of new firms has been viewed with rapidly increasing interest from the perspectives of practical economic policy at the national, regional and local levels and from the perspectives of private business associations, formal and informal networks. According to statements of the Swiss Federal Office for Vocational Education and Technology (BBT, Bern), there are more than 200 initiatives that aim at encouraging the formation of new firms in Switzerland. However, an accompanying scientific study of these initiatives is lacking. Serious knowledge gaps exist. The present research project attempts to make a contribution, in a systematic way, to fill some of these gaps. It is based on a systematic study of 20 case studies and of a large survey conducted in 1999 of 745 newly founded firms in Switzerland. In this paper the resutls of 9 case studies are presented concerning the following areas: (1) Portrait of firm founders. (2) Success indicators of firm formation. (3) Factors affecting success of firm formation. (4) Relationships between success and success factors.