Entrepreneurship and Appropriate Technology

Entrepreneurship and Appropriate Technology is an applied R&D programme run by the HES-SO Rector's Office in conjunction with French-speaking countries in the developing world.

The partner countries are: Burkina Faso, Haiti, Lebanon, Morocco, Senegal and Vietnam.

Appropriate technology is often wrongly thought to refer to simplified technology or, worse still, the use of second-hand or obsolete equipment that industrialised countries hand over to less advanced ones.

Yet for the past 10 or 15 years, developing countries have demonstrated that they can create innovative technologies that are adapted to their local needs and to the human and financial resources available.

“Appropriate technology” is therefore technology that is more functional and adapted to the needs of a local population. It is also less expensive to buy, maintain and repair and is better suited to local environments, which can be very different from those in developed countries such as Switzerland.

Aims and objectives

This programme promotes innovative business projects that are co-run by HES-SO schools and partner universities in French-speaking developing countries. The aim is to help young people kick-start their careers by applying their knowledge and developing technologies that are appropriate for their local economies.

This initiative helps to expand HES-SO's international reach, particularly in French-speaking countries. It also dovetails with Switzerland's economic foreign policy priorities, one of which is to enhance scientific and technological collaboration in order to contribute to emerging countries' sustainable development.

The programme seeks to tap into the diverse skill set available within HES-SO schools and to benefit from the close ties that our schools have with the businesses and organisations in their cantons, particularly social and professional associations and SMEs.

How the programme works

Each year, a call is made for applied R&D projects involving HES-SO schools and training and research institutions in French-speaking developing countries.

The projects are selected by an international academic committee. They must be professionally oriented and involve businesses – especially SMEs – as operators and vectors of cooperation in the development of appropriate technologies.

During the 2016–2020 period, the calls for applied R&D projects focused on three areas:

  • Sustainable development
  • Human health and social work
  • Food security

In 2021-204, the programme will consider research topics in relation with durability.