Tania di Gioia and Michel Safars are pictured with the students and scientists who are working on AI Herd, a sophisticated way of detecting problems with farm animals

Lab2biz takes a permanent role in the Entrepreneurship Specialization

Lab2Biz: a unique bridge between fundamental research and entrepreneurship in the world of Deep Tech. This educational program brings together scientists from the University of Paris-Saclay and MBA students from HEC Paris to work together on a business plan. At the end, they present their work to a panel of investors and experts. By creating a start-up model based upon a real technology, participants gain the experience they need to launch a real business.

After years of informal collaboration between the University of Paris-Saclay and HEC Paris, the two establishments signed a formal a partnership agreement on November 28, 2018. This agreement reaffirms the permanence of their successful collaboration.

Pitching an entrepreneurship project that came together thanks to the HEC/Paris-Saclay partnership

Lab2Biz is an educational initiative with a clear aim: to create innovative and creative start-ups by combining research and business. Since its launch in 2014, 30 project managers and 105 HEC Paris MBA students have taken part through the HEC Entrepreneurship Specialization. A number of start-ups have come to fruition thanks to their joint efforts.

“This is an incredibly rich and diverse program that brings together teachers, researchers, MBA students, engineers, lawyers, business people, doctors and more,” says Tania di Gioia, Director of Innovation and Business Relations at the University of Paris-Saclay. “Participants are addressing a significant challenge: how to turn fundamental research results into innovative start-ups.”

The scientists from Paris-Saclay whose new technologies have the strongest business potential are identified through the university’s Prématuration call for projects. Lab2Biz provides them with the opportunity to evaluate the socio-economic potential of their technology, and test the durability of their start-up projects.

As for the HEC Paris MBA students, they enjoy a unique opportunity to work on a concrete project that involves simulating a business start-up using the technologies developed by Paris-Saclay researchers. 

MBA student Jérémie Zarka pitching an early detection test for blood infections developed by University Paris-Saclay scientist Martin Rottman

“Lab2Biz is a win-win situation for everyone,” says Jérémie Zarka, MBA ’19, a Lab2Biz participant. “The scientists involved can guarantee the viability of their research results, and the MBA students from HEC Paris can put their leadership and entrepreneurial skills into practice.”

The collaboration is particularly worthwhile because the technologies from the Prématuration are genuinely disruptive innovations that require a great deal of additional research before they can hit the market.

“Our international students will be running companies around the world,” says Michel Safars, HEC Paris MBA Professor and coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Specialization. “Lab2Biz provides them with a unique opportunity to assess the potential impact of differentiation factors, entry barriers and a collaboration with the world of research upon an innovative business.”

Photo of Winning Group 2017

The MBA students and scientists working on Idex BC, a way to detect food safety

The program’s learning-by-doing and lean start-up approach is key, as it allows HEC Paris MBA students to appreciate the long-term effect of disruptive innovations, while also making the researchers and professor-researchers aware of the issues involved in business.