As a university specialized in both business and the service industry, EHL Hospitality Business School encourages the creative spirit of young people who wish to start their own business during their studies. Many students dream of creating their own start-up to carry out their projects after graduating from high school. But why wait until graduation, why not become an entrepreneur while studying?
The Student Entrepreneurial Journey
This is quite a possible venture, as proven by the success of many start-ups created by students with the support of EHL. Combining strong innovative initiatives, industry relationships, business management training and a faculty that supports and coaches its students, EHL has created the best possible conditions for young, committed entrepreneurs. The motto is "Student Entrepreneurial Journey", which means that students have the opportunity of being supported in the first steps of their business creation, and even to carry out an internship in their own company during their studies.
The Bachelor in Management and Hospitality imparts high-level academic and practical knowledge. In particular, it offers the opportunity to study in Switzerland and Singapore to acquire valuable practical experience (such as in the Michelin-starred restaurant on the Lausanne campus), and to put into practice theoretical knowledge during several internships. Students looking for a suitable internship position benefit from EHL's extensive global network and have the opportunity to pursue their own entrepreneurial ideas. An internship does not necessarily have to take place in an external company; anyone with a brilliant business idea can present it to a committee of experts and do their internship in their own company or that of a fellow student. Students benefit from the support and specialized guidance of EHL to create their own business, which helps them transform their initial idea into a solid business plan and then into a convincing business model.
From idea to reality
Various interesting projects have thus emerged in recent years, and some of them are now promising companies. One of them is the start-up NexSwiss Sàrl created by Joël Iunius. This final year bachelor student at EHL campus Lausanne is developing web solutions with his company that can be used in public transport to function as a city guide. It is not even necessary to download an application on a smartphone to use them, just scan the QR code to start the audio guide. Iunius had this idea while visiting London: "I was sitting on a double-decker bus, looking out of the window and thinking to myself that it was a shame not to learn anything about the buildings and sights that paraded past me."
This is how the then 22-year-old student created his company NexSwiss Sàrl as part of the Student Entrepreneurial Journey. Currently, the application is already used in several cities in French-speaking Switzerland, including Vevey, Montreux and Lausanne. Iunius is in the process of rallying towns in German-speaking Switzerland to his idea. When the young entrepreneur successfully completes his studies at EHL next February, not only will he have a Bachelor's degree in International Hotel Management in his pocket, but he will be CEO of a booming company that already employs several people.
Free rein given to innovation
Students who wish to create their own start-up during their bachelor studies must submit an application and present their idea to a jury made up of EHL professors and experts. If the project is accepted, the start-up is supported by the EHL incubator where it benefits from a dynamic environment and community.
The EHL Innovation Center benefits from the support of strategic partners such as Hotellerie Suisse, Nestlé, Casino Barrière and Marriott International through the FIE.
“This incubator has been welcoming promising start-ups in hotel and restaurant sectors since 2009. It's a place where researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, students and visionaries come together to discuss and give free rein to their spirit of innovation."
Winnaretta Zina Singer, Head of Innovation Pole and Director of the EHL Innovation Foundation (FIE)