A partnership agreement has been signed between the new Air Liquide i-Lab group laboratory and Paris Région Innovation Lab (Paris Incubateurs) to create an incubator of innovative young businesses dedicated to ‘Breathing in the City’.

Based in Paris, France, the iLab is Air Liquide’s new laboratory for new ideas and innovation, unveiled in December (2013) to help accelerate the pace of innovation and explore new markets.

The laboratory is both a Think Tank and a venue for experimentation in new ideas that will benefit the group, and receives support from all of the group’s R&D sites, notably in Europe, the US and Asia.

The agreement with Paris Incubateurs was signed in the same month and focuses on designing and developing solutions for a healthier environment of tomorrow.

Against a backdrop of growing urbanisation, higher air pollution, and an increasing number of people with respiratory problems, cities must provide their inhabitants with a sustainable future and offer them a healthy environment. ‘Breathing in the City’ is, therefore, a legitimate expectation and a major issue.

A call for proposals is open until 28th February (2014), to identify the businesses that will take part in the ‘Breathing in the City’ incubator.

Successful start-ups will benefit from a privileged environment that combines Paris Incubateurs’ know-how and the Air Liquide Group’s skills. With a 300-start-up network, Paris Incubateurs will bring its expertise and a wide range of services (accommodation, meeting rooms and recreational rooms) and support to these innovative young businesses (methodological coaching, networking, and access to both public and private funds, and training).

Air Liquide’s i-Lab will make group experts available to support and guide them, and will organise dedicated training workshops. The creation of this incubator will enable the group to design jointly with innovative young businesses the products and services of tomorrow on a key issue. Through this partnership, Air Liquide’s i-Lab aims to strengthen its links with start-ups, to identify innovative technologies, and to set up new partnerships.

Grégory Olocco, Director of the i-Lab, added, “We are delighted to enter into this partnership which gives us the opportunity to reinforce our links with the innovation ecosystem of the City of Paris. Paris Incubateurs provides us with a tremendous opportunity enabling us to experiment new solutions on ‘Breathing in the City’.”