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Charlotte Hochman
Founding Director (associate at Wow!Labs)

Charlotte is at the origin of PLACE and heads its development and the operational team. Her passion lies in working alongside partners to develop and reach a common vision, designing the labs, and interacting with PLACE Innovators to further develop the project based on short feedback loops.

Charlotte has spent the last 10 years building capacity for social innovation in civil society, the private and the public sectors. Her expertise is in challenge-driven innovation: developing tools and projects to catalyze people’s capacity to innovate and create start-ups in response to global challenges.

Wow!Labs, an innovation and design agency she co-founded in 2013, collaborates all over the world with governments, universities, the private sector and the third sector to create incubators, programs and events to nurture and accelerate social innovation and entrepreneurship in a variety of contexts. Clients and collaborators range from the US State Department (under the Obama administration) developing entrepreneurship to reinforce democracy, to real estate promoters (both private and public) experimenting innovative approaches to urban regeneration in capitals, and include higher education institutions (INSEAD, Babson College, French “grandes écoles”).

In 2007, Charlotte created the Beehive (“La Ruche”), an incubator for social innovation in central Paris which has served over a thousand people since its creation, and which she directed until 2012. The model has been widely visited, researched (Columbia University, ESSEC, INSEAD, ESCP-Europe, Ecole Polytechnique) and presented, to be replicated elsewhere.

Charlotte graduated with a First from Oxford University (Philosophy), where she wrote a thesis on Spinoza, and gained a Masters with Distinction from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (Law and Development), where she wrote a thesis on the role of empowerment in legal and development processes.

She is a member of several juries, including the City of Paris Innovation Awards, the U.S. Embassy in France Awards on Diversity, Ashoka on Social Entrepreneurship, and the Falling Walls Venture in Berlin. She is a Fulbright grantee for 2017-2018 in San Francisco.

She presented the model of the Beehive at Barack Obama’s Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in 2010 in Washington, and has been Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD since 2011.

Brought up between cultures – French and English, Charlotte now lives in between the many cultures that constitute her. Raised in Paris, she studied in the UK and has called many places home including Italy, India, Brazil, Ireland and Malaysia.

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