Scale-Up Programmes

Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars

Corporate collaboration makes a significant contribution to helping businesses scale and it is increasing as large companies recognise working with fast-growing businesses as a mechanism to promote innovation, solve business problems, support strategic investment and promote internal change.

Corporate and Scaleup Collaboration Exemplars

Corporate collaboration makes a significant contribution to helping businesses scale and it is increasing as large companies recognise working with fast-growing businesses as a mechanism to promote innovation, solve business problems, support strategic investment and promote internal change.

Both sides can benefit from such collaboration but significant hurdles remain which can make these relationships difficult to initiate, manage and bring to fruition.

In order to highlight and overcome these barriers the Scaleup Institute joined with NESTA, to give practical guidance on corporate/scaleup collaboration and to highlight exemplars of best practice.  Our joint Scaling Together report distils the learning and understanding of the barriers scaleups face with corporates when engaging on a collaborative or procurement programme  Based on examples of success it provides practical guidance to corporates, large public procurers and scaleup leaders.

As part of this project, Nesta carried out a detailed assessment of corporations seeking to collaborate and support businesses scaling up. Those which had ‘gone the extra mile’ to establish mutually-beneficial partnerships have been evaluated by a panel of leading entrepreneurial experts and named as 25 ‘Europe’s Corporate Stars’ for 2016. Fourteen of these first 25 either have significant headquarters or major operations in the UK.

Crucial elements reflected in each of the Corporate Stars’ behaviours leading to successful scaleup partnerships are:  senior board level engagement; coherent leadership and entrepreneurial culture; adaptive procedures; mentoring for the scaleup; champions across business departments who are charged with making sure their division supports the fledgling relationship in its practices and procedures; speed and ease of access; transparency and clear guidelines.

 

Corporates demonstrated this in the following ways:   

Technology giant Cisco UK was selected for its effective partnerships with scaleups through its ‘Entrepreneurs in Residence’ programme. Across Cisco, business unit executives are involved in sponsoring, mentoring and partnering with scaleups, and senior executives take part in all decisions relating to investment. This ensures commitment from the wider organisation as well as a strong incentive structure to work with scaling companies. We encourage other companies to consider adopting Cisco’s successful ABC (Agility, Business Model, Continuity) model, which is built on close relationships with business unit executives.  

Virgin is recognised for its entrepreneurial culture. Senior management commitment to entrepreneurship “enables a culture of innovation, both in-house and from external suppliers and freelancers”.  Another important insight for corporates is that Virgin is clear about the likelihood of procurement from the start of any relationship and this helps manage expectations.

The UnileverFoundry’ is seen as an effective tool for major companies to solve their business problems by working with young scaling businesses. Its focus is on helping businesses to scale-up which it does by inviting innovative marketing and advertising tech companies to solve problems experienced by Unilever brands through their Pitcher Pilot Partner process. The head of the Unilever Foundry is assisted by a core team of eight people, who themselves support a global network of over 50 ‘Foundry Champions.’ The involvement of a strong and connected team championing early stage growing businesses across an organisation leads to effective internal buy-in.

Other practical insights gained from the UK-based corporate collaborators include:

  • KPMG’s Tech Growth has 17 full-time employees working with scaleups out of co-working spaces in Shoreditch and Camden. It is “an effective way of drawing fresh talent into a business” while the opportunity given to experienced staff to use their skills and knowledge to mentor early-stage businesses creates strong results.
  • Telefonica’s use of an ‘internal champion’ within innovation teams ensures scaleups are fully integrated in the company; its investment in a corporate accelerator programme in different countries attracts talent and innovation from across the world.
  • Microsoft has hired entrepreneurs to run accelerator programmes helping drive success and ensuring everyone is ‘speaking the same language.’
  • EDF has demonstrated that PR and communications tools alongside financial support are important to scaleups and can be provided as part of an awards initiative.
  • The commitment in Diageo’s senior management to working with scaleups results in fast decision making and cuts out bureaucracy.
  • PWC’s networked organisation with opportunities for different regions and territories to manage their own initiatives allows for both large-scale impact and a tailor-made approach.

 

Clear lessons can be drawn from the approach of the Corporate Stars. On the following pages, we have incorporated the insights from these exemplars and provided a checklist for large corporates and public bodies.  Using this checklist should enable assessment of current practices, signal practical steps for improvement and allow Board members to use it to consider the company’s strategic approach and how effective it is.  Our work in 2018 will further assess what ‘good looks like’ and further exemplar methods.

 

The full list of the 14 located UK Corporate Stars is: Cisco, Unilever, Telefonica, Virgin, KPMG, RBS, WPP, MSD, Microsoft, Sky, Accenture, EDF, Diageo, PWC

See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/europes-corporate-startup-stars

If you know any national or local scaleup programmes that you want to recommend as a potential case study for the Institute to consider please do get in touch: info@scaleupinstitute.org.uk

Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars

Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter and we'll let you knowabout scale-up activity and developments.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Weekly Subscription

Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter and we'll let you knowabout scale-up activity and developments.

You have Successfully Subscribed!