First Innovation Hub in Europe dedicated to hospitality to open in Lausanne - Insights
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First Innovation Hub in Europe dedicated to hospitality to open in Lausanne

The city of Lausanne and EHL Group sign a convention for the development and rehabilitation of the Lausanne neighbourhood of Chalet-à-Gobet, to create the first Innovation Hub dedicated to hospitality in Europe.

EHL Innovation Hub – rendering

Signed for an initial period of 50 years by Natacha Litzistorf, Municipal Councilor and Director of Lodging, Environment and Architecture of the city of Lausanne; André Witschi, Chairman of the Board of Governors of EHL Foundation; Michel Rochat, CEO; and Maxime Medina, Chief Asset Management Officer of EHL Group; the agreement will allow EHL to extend its academic ecosystem to construct a hub dedicated to research and innovation, and in support of entrepreneurship.

On the site of the old Chalet-à-Gobet farm, currently being rehabilitated following a fire in 2007, a hostel as well as other surrounding buildings, this new Innovation Hub will host an incubator and several research projects that combine academic research with the flexibility and audacity of young entrepreneurs. This pivotal meeting place, with a restaurant open to the public, reflects EHL’s position as one of the global centres for technological research, innovation and competitiveness.

Formerly a fragmented neighbourhood that also included a post office, an equestrian centre and a café, the project will be implemented in several phases over a period of two to three years to transform it into a coherent, stimulating and dynamic centre. The Innovation Hub already includes six start-ups and will also host Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC), the advisory branch of EHL Group. With an initial renovation investment of CHF 25 Mio over the first five years, many synergies are expected to make this hub the reference for innovation in the hospitality and wider services industries.

“Our vision of this new Innovation Hub is to build a place where researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, students, artists and visionaries will come together, exchange and create the future of hospitality. We are creating a new micro-culture that will mirror our university. Flexible and dynamic, this new hub will stimulate creativity’, explained Rémi Walbaum, Chief Innovation Officer of EHL Group.

Michel Rochat, CEO of EHL Group, explained as well that “EHL Group, in addition to its university, has a responsibility to maintain open channels between the various actors that will forge the future of hospitality. Lausanne has a long history of interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down the barriers that often divide academic institutions and economic actors. That is the spirit of the new Innovations Hub.”

The Lausanne Municipality looks forward to the development of EHL’s Innovation Hub at the Chalet-à-Gobet site which will add a new component to the research and innovation performed at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

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