48 hours to design the start-up businesses for the cities of tomorrow

From March 4 to March 6, 2016, you can take part in Sorbonne University’s Innovation Challenge. The topic is entrepreneurship for the city of tomorrow. Students, are you ready to take on the challenge? Well, welcome to a marathon weekend!

With a reduced impact on the environment, a better quality of life and an increased sense of harmony, the city of tomorrow is yet to be designed. Are you a student at Sorbonne University? Do you have an idea for a new product or service which could contribute to surmounting this challenge and want to realize this by forming a start-up business? Or perhaps you do not have any specific entrepreneurial project but you want to get involved with a similar adventure using your skills?

Come to UPMC between Friday March 4 and Sunday March 6 for the first Sorbonne University Innovation Challenge.


Three awards to be won for the most talented teams

What is the objective? To build a multidisciplinary team for each innovative idea which, over the weekend, is going to work on moving this concept as far forward as possible and proving its viability. The groups will be able to receive help from mentors (entrepreneurs or professionals from the entrepreneurial world) and use UPMC’s FabLab equipment (3D printer, different tools, etc.) to build, for example, a model product. Then, on Sunday evening, each will defend their project in front of a panel of entrepreneurs and professionals who will give one of the three prizes available to the best projects: the Tech Award for the most noteworthy technological innovation, the Social Award for the initiative which has the greatest societal or environmental impact and the Business Award for the project offering the largest market or even the idea with the most unique business plan. Thanks to these awards, funded by sponsors, the three winning teams will receive support to continue their project.


Three student associations familiar with the subject

Supported by Sorbonne University, the event is co-organized by three student associations of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie which are involved in the world of business and innovation. The first of these, PMC Entrepreneurs, was formed in May 2015 to promote entrepreneurship and encourage the creation of start-up businesses at UPMC and, in particular, it organizes exchanges between students and entrepreneurs. Its president, Thomas Jeanneau, a second-year computer science student, is a co-founder of a start-up business himself: Ayni, an online platform enabling exchanges with a foreign correspondent to improve language levels. Created in August 2015, the second student association named Junior UPMC Council, is a junior enterprise: its aim is to offer UPMC students the opportunity to develop their professional skills by providing consultancy services or conducting computing, electronic, chemistry, biology or mechanical engineering projects on behalf of businesses and organizations. The most recent (2013) is the third student association, PMClab, which manages the organization of the UPMC antenna for Sorbonne University’s FabLab.


The need for diverse profiles

Thomas Jeanneau emphasized that ‘the Innovation Challenge is the equivalent of the hackathons organized in the world of new technologies but it is not restricted to technological innovations. Given that they can give rise to a start-up business being created, all ideas are welcome. We have deliberately chosen a general topic - the city of tomorrow - which can open the way for all types of initiatives and inspire students in very different disciplines.’ Marius Bagassien, president of the Junior UPMC Council, added that ‘this challenge is not restricted to science. To develop their projects, the teams need varied skills in communication, law, business, etc. The challenge is to demonstrate the creativity and talent present among Sorbonne University students who, in one weekend, are able to come up with a great deal of innovative ideas. Some of these ideas will perhaps lead to a start-up business being created.’

Ready to take on the challenge? All that is left for you to do is register!

The Innovation Challenge in practice

Who is it for?

  • The competition is open to all Sorbonne University students in all disciplines and in all stages of their education.
  • Register by March 4 on one of the following websites:

Where and when?

  • The first meeting will be on March 4 at 7pm in the Esclangon building on the Jussieu campus of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie to enable students who are already registered to meet, present their projects and to start forming teams.
  • The marathon will begin on Saturday March 5 at 10am in the Esclangon building.



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