LafargeHolcim launched a plan to scale up its access to innovative construction solutions through collaborating with entrepreneurs. The Start-Up Accelerator will offer young companies on-site accommodation and the use of the facilities at the Group’s Research & Development Center in Lyon, France, to develop, test, and market their solutions in construction and urban planning. The project is building on LafargeHolcim’s existing experience of working with start-ups in areas that include sustainability, innovative construction systems or digital and its extensive partnerships with customers, end-users, and research facilities worldwide.
Gérard Kuperfarb, Group Head of Growth & Innovation at LafargeHolcim said: "With the Start-up Accelerator we are making a commitment to support young companies specializing in construction materials and construction solutions. We can offer them a sophisticated laboratory environment and access to years of experience in creating and applying building materials in thousands of projects and challenging environments around the world. In return, we believe that the start-ups will bring new ideas and new solutions that will change the face of construction in the coming years. We are committed to looking for new solutions for our customers so having the opportunity to bring new ideas together with our own R&D will be invaluable."
The Start-Up Accelerator will be open to entrepreneurs from around the world and will not only offer them access to offices, laboratory equipment and testing facilities at the industry’s leading R&D Center. They will also benefit from the Group’s network of technical experts and its commercial and market experience across all continents. As part of the project, LafargeHolcim is also planning to partner with other companies to extend innovation projects along the construction value chain. The first young companies are expected to join the facility in mid-2017.
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LafargeHolcim has been collaborating with start-up companies and scientists for several years. With Solidia, a US start-up, the Group is working on new cement and concrete technology that could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70 percent. LafargeHolcim has also teamed up with the French start-up XtreeE in an alliance that has made it possible, to market a concrete structural element created using a 3D printer for the first time in Europe.
LafargeHolcim also partners with renowned universities such as the ENPC (Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées) and the ESPCI (Ecole Supérieure de Physique Chimie Industrielle de la ville de Paris) in France and the EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), and ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) in Switzerland. The company also sponsors the Chair of Sustainable Construction at the ETH and has an extensive network of leading architects through its LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.
With a well-balanced presence in 90 countries and a focus on cement, aggregates and concrete, LafargeHolcim (SIX Swiss Exchange, Euronext Paris: LHN) is the world leader in the building materials industry. The Group has 100,000 employees around the world and combined net sales of CHF 29.5 billion in 2015. LafargeHolcim is the industry benchmark in R&D and serves from the individual homebuilder to the largest and most complex project with the widest range of value-adding products, innovative services and comprehensive building solutions. With a commitment to drive sustainable solutions for better building and infrastructure and to contribute to a higher quality of life, the Group is best positioned to meet the challenges of increasing urbanization.