NEW YORK—During a time when innovation across the hospitality, food and beverage, event, and travel and tourism sectors is more prevalent and critical than ever before, the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality has launched a new Hospitality Innovation Hub (HI Hub), which will foster entrepreneurship and creative solutions for the industries it serves. HI Hub was funded by a $1 million gift made by Jeffery Yau—CEO of Puyi Optical and Europe Watch Company, based in Hong Kong—to support the Tisch Center in this new endeavor, supporting the vision of Associate Dean Nicolas Graf and the future of the hospitality industry.
“The state-of-the-art facilities of the new HI Hub offer students, start-ups, established industry partners, and investors opportunities to learn, discover, innovate, and invest,” noted Graf. “It is truly a reflection of the Tisch Center’s ability to not only visualize the future of industry, but to influence it as well.”
One of the main features of the HI Hub is its Experiential Learning Lab, a flexible classroom and event space that is equipped with the latest instructional and video conferencing technologies. Here students will master current best practices, critically evaluate them, identify pain points, and develop innovative responses. They will be able to explore and use current industry technologies such as POS (point of sale) systems, PMS (property management systems), and revenue management solutions. Faculty members will contextualize the learning by using these tools to teach and by welcoming global leaders into the classroom as guest speakers. The Lab will ultimately provide students with the opportunity to immediately apply their new knowledge and skills to practice and to develop a competitive advantage by mastering the most current technologies.
The HI Hub also features a Prototyping Space, which is fully equipped with coding and virtual reality equipment. It provides Tisch Center students and start-ups involved in the HI Hub’s entrepreneurship programs with the tools they need to rapid-test their ideas and bring their creative concepts to life.
Finally, the HI Hub includes a co-working lounge, which will serve as a gathering and brainstorming space for students, faculty members, industry guests, and investors.
Three Tisch Center programs will use the HI Hub as their launchpad. The Incubator Program is a three-month mentoring program designed for early-stage start-ups in the hospitality, travel, or event space. Start-ups that are selected for the program will be invited to use the Hub’s co-working space, consult with a wide variety of faculty and industry mentors, and compete for cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. This program will be open to all NYU students. A Venture Capitalists and Early-Stage Investor Club also will be launched, and club members can use the co-working space and attend start-up events. Finally, in its second or third year of operation, the HI Hub is projected to launch an Accelerator Program for late-stage start-ups (typically series C) in collaboration with industry partners and investors. Businesses in the Accelerator Program will support Tisch Center students by offering applied research projects, internships, and employment opportunities.