Corporation-Startup Collaborations

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Corporation-Startup Collaborations

(Source: pakwired.com)

If you were to analyse today’s market carefully, you would find that innovation is increasingly led by startups. Despite the infrastructure large-scale corporation have and their access to knowledge, resources and networks, startups are creating their own place in the market because they are innovative both by nature and necessity. That’s because startup companies are better prepared to harness technology to recalibrate their existing business models and to invent new ones.

Globally, corporations across different  verticals have been shocked by what has happened in the entertainment, media, financial services, education and the tourism sectors, and they are certain that industry disruption is coming to their sectors too. Some established corporations view startups as an existential threat, but the fact of the matter is that they are not. Startups can in fact make for great value addition to corporations.

Some established corporations view startups as an existential threat, but the fact of the matter is that they are not. Startups can in fact make for great value addition to corporations.

That’s why leading global corporations like Nike, Microsoft, American Express, PepsiCo, Dell, Virgin, TATA and Reliance have built incubators, accelerators, investment funds and other entrepreneurship promotion programmes. These companies have understood the potential of startups and know they can work with them to find new ideas early. That is why they support startup entrepreneurs and partner with them. As for the new companies, these corporate initiatives provide platforms for accessing abundant resources, investment, R&D facilities and spread-out networks through which to build relationships with potential clients.

Here is how big companies in Nepal can build valuable partnerships with startups.

 

Building innovation centres

(Source: www.merckgroup.com)

In today’s digital economy, big companies have the opportunity to diversify their products by working with innovative startups to jointly create new products and services. However, if they refrain from innovating when the time comes, the companies can get left behind—as happened with global giants Kodak, Nokia and Yahoo. Thus, corporations need to set up in-house innovation centres, preferably with a startup, to conduct timely research and development.

In today’s digital economy, big companies have the opportunity to diversify their products by working with innovative startups to jointly create new products and services. However, if they refrain from innovating when the time comes, the companies can get left behind—as happened with global giants Kodak, Nokia and Yahoo.

 

Partnering with incubators and accelerators

(Source: international.ventures)

Nike has teamed up with TechStars, one of the leading startup accelerators in the world, to create a three month programme to mentor 10 startups that are building technologies for Nike’s activity-tracking devices, like its FuelBand. Through the programme, selected startups get seed funds and the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors and to Nike at the end of every session. Similarly, Pepsi’s PepsiCo10 is a digital incubator programme that selects 10 tech startups in entertainment, mobile and retail sectors and provides them with funding and connections with PepsiCo brands for mentoring and pilot campaigns. Big companies in Nepal can also partner with rising startup incubators and accelerator programmes to get the best startups during their early stages.

 

Engaging with startups through startup media

(Source: wpengine.netdna-cdn.com)

Engagement with startups provides big companies opportunities to showcase thought leadership in the business and startup community. For corporate innovators, reading startup media and providing expert commentary are effective ways to engage with  startups. Entrepreneurs in Nepal are already drawn to media outlets suchas startupsnepal.com, techlekh.com and startoped.com, among others. They can also get information about startups through startup community sites. When engaging with such media entities, the companies can either regularly contribute articles, or sponsor some sections of startup sites and community portals to maintain their presence in these platforms.

 

Sponsoring startup events

 

(Source: get2growth.com)

Almost every entrepreneurship programme and startup event has strong corporate associations and is often sponsored by leading global companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, TATA, Pearson and so on. Programmes like Startup Weekend, Startup Next and Startup Grind have built a global presence with support from their global partners  and local sponsors. In Nepal too, we have a number of entrepreneurship programmes like Entrepreneurs’ Talk (E-Talk), Udhyami Bhetghat, Last Thursdays with Entrepreneurs, Venture Blend, Startup Grind, and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, among others. Big companies in Nepal can sponsor these events to ensure that the next generation of entrepreneurs know about the companies. The event will also eventually contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

*First Published on M&S VMAG

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Guest Sunday, 26 June 2022