French connection for Adelaide-based business incubator

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The University of Adelaide will run a business incubator in France using South Australian expertise for the next five years thanks to an agreement with the French city of Châlons-en-Champagne, in the heartland of the champagne wine region.

Known as ThincLab Châlons, the incubator is aimed at supporting excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship, and is based on the University of Adelaide's successful ThincLab business incubator model.

The University's Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) will run ThincLab Châlons to support innovation and assist local entrepreneurs – including students – to accelerate their business ideas.

A formal memorandum of understanding was signed today (overnight Adelaide time) by the University of Adelaide's Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic), Professor Pascale Quester, and the Mayor of Châlons-en-Champagne, Mr Benoist Apparu.

"We are excited about this partnership, which will bring entrepreneurial expertise from the University of Adelaide directly into France, creating a dynamic incubator and business accelerator facility. This will be the first business incubator of its kind in the city of Châlons-en-Champagne," says Professor Quester.

"Through the University of Adelaide's work in the region, this incubator will promote economic development, attract investment in entrepreneurial ideas, and provide a structured, supported launch pad for new ventures.

"While it is yet another example of the University of Adelaide demonstrating its expertise on a global level, this collaboration with Châlons is a further opportunity to develop strong, innovative links between South Australia and France," Professor Quester says.

"Our work in Châlons-en-Champagne will provide the basis for University of Adelaide alumni, research students and staff to commercialise their research innovations in France. Students from the University of Adelaide as well as from French universities will also be able to undertake internships in entrepreneurial start-up businesses, where they can experience as well as learn about entrepreneurship in action," she says.

Mr Apparu says the partnership enables Châlons-en-Champagne to "put forward our territory with daring, as (Georges) Danton said in 1792".

"We have many assets to sell, and the French way of life is important to our city. We understand we must innovate and collaborate, and the University of Adelaide will provide the impetus for that," he says.

ThincLab Châlons will officially start in September this year.

The University of Adelaide will also (on Thursday 26 May) hold the finals of its very first Australian eChallenge France competition in Châlons-en-Champagne. Eleven teams from across France, including students from French universities and business schools, are vying for a share of a total prize pool of more than $97,000.

The eChallenge event is based on the highly successful Australian eChallenge, which has been run in Adelaide for the past 15 years. Australia's premier student entrepreneurial competition, the eChallenge gives participants the opportunity to showcase their creative business ventures, and to earn the attention of potential business investors.


Contact Details

Ms Zrinka Tokic
eChallenge Program Manager
Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC)
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7422
Mobile: +61 (0)401 976 207

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762