UNIL HEC Accelerator: agriculture and sustainability are the hallmarks of the 4th session!
Welcome to the three new teams that are joining the “UNIL HEC Accelerator” business projects accelerator for 5 months of intensive coaching from August to December 2017! As luck would have it, the three selected projects all focus on agriculture in one way or another.
Early in the month of August, Les Légumes Perchés, SwissBiol and Terrabiom moved into the accelerator offices on the University of Lausanne campus to test and trial their product ideas before the market launch.
Agriculture takes pride of place with projects dedicated to growing exotic and wild mushrooms, the installation of intelligent crops on house rooftops in the City of Lausanne and, last but not least, the development of organic pesticides for sustainable agriculture. "Sustainable development, agriculture and the environment are increasingly important topics that are ever more present in the field of innovation and startups. This clearly shows the nature of the challenges confronting us today,” Nadine Reichenthal, head of the UNIL HEC Accelerator program and lecturer at HEC Lausanne comments.
Who is heading up these projects?
The three teams are made up of first degree and PhD students drawn from four of the seven faculties at the University of Lausanne. The project for growing plants on rooftops, Les Légumes Perchés, for example, has been designed and will be led by graduates and students from the Faculties of Business and Economics (HEC Lausanne), Social and Political Sciences (SSP), as well as Geosciences and the Environment (GSE). Its aim? To make forgotten sites fertile through an alliance of agriculture and technology. Two PhDs from the Life Sciences Institute of the Faculty and Biology and Medicine (FBM) for their part have developed SwissBiol to produce innovative natural fungicides. Represented by a PhD student from the same Institute, Terrabiom will use micro-organisms and organic waste to cultivate a new family of healthy mushrooms which respect the environment.
"We welcome the opportunity to host so many projects simultaneously at this 4th session. This is a first which confirms the interest and scope of the business project acceleration program throughout the UNIL community”, Nadine Reichenthal points out.
What feedback from the previous teams, Stethup and Social Energy?
The arrival of the three new teams at the accelerator also marks the departure of the participants in the 3rd session from February to June 2017. They certainly made impressive progress! Stethup is leaving the accelerator with brilliant prospects for the future. Now regarded as a kind of “doctor in a box,” the stethoscope designed by Jeton Ibrahimi (HEC Lausanne) and Pierre Starkov (UNIGE) will enable heart and lung data recordings to be sent via a smartphone application connected to the device to a network of physicians who will then be able to analyze this information before sending a report and storing it in a patient file. During its stay at the accelerator, Stethup won the 6th edition of the START Competition (an entrepreneurship competition organized by students belonging to the START Lausanne association which is affiliated to HEC Lausanne), pocketing a prize worth CHF 30,000 which will enable a prototype to be finalized. The team is powering ahead with the backing of Genilem Vaud for another three years.
Social Energy can also look forward to a promising future. Selected for its basic idea of a solar concentrator, the team is advancing today with a concept based on 4 pillars: clean water, solar energy, permaculture and ecological houses which are now networked to make the populations concerned totally independent in the Colombian jungle or on the plains of Africa. The two founders, Joaquin and Julian Salazar, father and son, one a PhD student in geosciences and the other taking a master’s degree at IDHEAP (the Institute of Higher Studies of Public Administration at UNIL) will be developing their pilot project with the Waiju community of Colombia. This implementation phase already looks very promising for the startup.
A talent pool and a community dedicated to entrepreneurship
Over and above the success of all the business projects that are supported, the accelerator is a rich idea and talent pool as well as a veritable community dedicated to entrepreneurship:
"Our ecosystem is rich in innovative projects; the emphasis is on local projects with an assured future: these factors are conducive to the creation of tomorrow’s job opportunities. We also welcome our contribution to closer ties between present and past UNIL students; this whole community is a near-inexhaustible source of mentors, experts and specialists who are all at the disposal of the present resident beneficiaries and former UNIL HEC Accelerator participants. With this fourth session, synergy has already been established between the participants; the predecessors are contributing to the success of the new projects,” Nadine Reichenthal concludes.
UNIL HEC Accelerator Project
par Myriam Bango (Faculté des HEC)