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Patrick Drahi inaugurates the École Polytechnique Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center

On Tuesday, April 19th, 2016, École Polytechnique inaugurated its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center located on its campus, in the presence of Patrick Drahi, Class of 1983. The Founder and President of Altice Group made an exceptional gift in the amount of 5 million Euros to support the entrepreneurship and innovation programs at l’X.

He had not been on the École Polytechnique campus for "thirty years". Patrick Drahi, Ingénieur Polytechnicien of the 1983 Class and Major Donor, was greeted by a raw of students dressed in École Polytechnique’s “Great Uniform” on Tuesday, April 19th, 2016, on the occasion of the inauguration of the  École Polytechnique new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. It has been almost a year since Patrick Drahi announced his pledge of 5 million Euros to support entrepreneurship at l’X, at the event organized on June, 24th, 2015 by the École Polytechnique Foundation. This pledge has now materialized in "LA FIBRE ENTREPRENEUR - Drahi - X Novation Center", a dedicated building bearing his name.

Visit of the entrepreneurial Ecosystem of l’X

In front of two hundred guests, Jacques Biot, École Polytechnique’s President, thanked Patrick Drahi for his commitment in supporting l’X and for his gift. "The story of the Drahi X - Novation Center will become the story of all the entrepreneurs from École Polytechnique," he said. After paying tribute to his mathematics teacher in preparatory class, thanks to whom he integrated l’X "through hard work," Patrick Drahi said he was "grateful to this wonderful institution", which "is from now on a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship." Eager to pass "knowledge and training to younger generations," the President of Altice said: "l’X is part of France’s history, and part of the future of France."

After the traditional ribbon cutting, Patrick Drahi, accompanied by Jacques Biot, visited the 2,600m² building where he had the opportunity to meet young entrepreneurs. Within the incubation area named "X-Tech", the Major Donor was able to interact with start-ups such as Myndblue, which develops a bracelet to diagnose and monitor depression, Auxivia which designs a connected glass, or SpinalCom which develops a software platform to bring micro-intelligence closer to connected objects. In the acceleration area, called "X-UP", Patrick Drahi discovered VitOnJob, a start-up designing a high-tech and social platform to optimize contacts between employers and people looking for short-term jobs. After a short visit of the experimentation and prototyping area, "X-F4B," the inaugural plaque “LA FIBRE ENTREPRENEUR – Drahi - X Novation Center” was revealed to the public.

Round table with École Polytechnique Students

"Moved" by his meetings with young entrepreneurs, Patrick Drahi continued his campus visit by a conference-debate with École Polytechnique students. In front of a packed lecture hall of nearly eight hundred seats, the President of the Altice Group answered the students questions. "The purpose of my gesture is to encourage students towards entrepreneurship", he said before recalling his student years. "The quality of studies, professors, camaraderie and military service characterized my time at École Polytechnique", Patrick Drahi said, before adding that the military service at l’X had "taught him a lot on how to manage and direct people".

Throughout this discussion, Patrick Drahi also provided advice to the students. "At first, it is best to do everything ourselves: this helps us to learn and therefore be a good business leader afterwards”, he told the students. “The most important in professional life is not the word ‘professional’, but “life”! We must have fun." Finally, Patrick Drahi told future entrepreneurs that "what stops people from moving forward is usually the fear of failure, when in fact failing is extremely instructive!" He concluded by saying: "To be an entrepreneur, you do not necessarily have to invent, but to develop something with courage, service quality and honesty."