UNIL joins FIT – an active collaboration to support entrepreneurship
In the continuity of the collaboration between PACTT UNIL-CHUV and FIT as well as the launch of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation HUB in 2019, UNIL joined the Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT) in early 2021, with a view of strengthening its support to entrepreneurship and consequently providing innovative solutions to the challenges affecting our society. UNIL becomes a member of the FIT Foundation Board and of the FIT Digital Selection Committee. Similarly, FIT joins the jury of the HUB’s UCreate programmes.
Through the CHUV-UNIL Technology Transfer Office (PACTT) and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation HUB, the University of Lausanne and the CHUV support numerous entrepreneurial projects, some of which benefit from financial backing via the existing collaboration between PACTT and FIT. With the launch of the HUB in June 2019, UNIL is emphasizing its desire to enhance the entrepreneurial spirit and empower its community to contribute in a relevant and meaningful way to our region and in particular that of the Canton of Vaud. “With our UCreate programs, we support ideas and innovative projects that come from our 7 faculties, particularly those that have a social or environmental impact. Whether the ideas come from our researchers or our students, we help them confront their project with reality and provide tools and personalized coaching to challenge and support the teams” explains Anne Headon, Director of the HUB.
Didier Schwarz, Director of FIT Digital, is already a member of the jury of the UCreate activation programmes, proof of the active collaboration between the two institutions. As a continuation of this collaboration, UNIL has become a member of FIT as of the beginning of 2021. Professor Déborah Philippe, vice-rector of UNIL, sits on the Foundation Board and Anne Headon, Director of the HUB, has joined the FIT Digital jury with the intention of facilitating synergies between the two entities and providing financial support in the continuity of the HUB coaching.
“The arrival of UNIL on the FIT Foundation Board demonstrates our desire to collaborate more with all academic institutions. The aim is to extend and encourage support for innovation to other sectors, particularly social entrepreneurship,” highlights Didier Schwarz, Director of FIT Digital. A number of UNIL spin-offs have already benefited from FIT’s support so far: the now well-established fintech start-up Monito, the agritech start-up AgroSustain, the social engagement company Alaya as well as Jawslab, which accelerates the digital transition for scientific studies. “We are delighted with this new chapter in our collaboration with UNIL”, Didier Schwarz adds. “This closer relationship will allow us to proactively align the HUB’s training programmes and FIT’s eligibility criteria, and thereby provide more support for UNIL’s talented entrepreneurs.”
As for UNIL, the cooperation with FIT is an additional means of supporting the emerging entrepreneurial projects of the various faculties. “After passing on the spirit of entrepreneurship to our students, and providing them with the initial tools to build their project, we are counting on our collaboration with FIT to bring additional support, particularly financial support, to these entrepreneurs and changemakers who are building the world of tomorrow,” comments Anne Headon, Director of the HUB.
About the HUB Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the UCreate programmes
Launched in 2019, the HUB has three missions: a) enhance the entrepreneurial spirit among all members of the UNIL community (students, researchers, alumni and employees) with an inclusive, interdisciplinary and contributive vision b) provide them with entrepreneurial skills to help them in their professional life c) support them in the development of their entrepreneurial projects with the UCreate program.
About the Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT)
Founded in the canton of Vaud in 1994, the FIT is a non-profit organisation that encourages entrepreneurship, supports innovation and helps to boost the local economy by providing loans and grants to young companies. The funding is aimed at start-ups in Vaud and French-speaking Switzerland, innovating either by their technological content or by their business model.