Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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Corporate collaboration checklist

Three quarters of scaleups primarily sell to other businesses or government (B2B), with large corporates representing their largest client base. However only 39% are selling to or supplying national or local government entities.  When analysing the procurment activity of government with our visible scaleup population the picture becomes even more stark – only 3.5% of all contracts issued by the public sector were awarded to scaleups and they continue to make up only 2.3% of suppliers to government (see the ScaleUp Procurement Index 2022 for more details). 

Scaleups are focused on building these key marketplaces though and are seeking to significantly increase their activities with a desire to triple their ability to sell into Government and double their collaboration. 3 in 10 are also seeking to work more with large corporates. 

However the system has too much friction in it which needs addressing, scaleup leaders cite complex procurement processes, the time it takes to win a contract and finding opportunities to bid for as barriers to working both with Government and corporates. 

To make access easier across the public and private sector: 7 in 10 want access to key decision makers and a dedicated account manager; 6 in 10 want more “Meet the buyer” style events; and, 5 in 10 are seeking Showcase opportunities. 

Ten Key Dos for Collaborating with Scaleups: 

  1. Create a dedicated Open Innovation Unit with direct reporting to the CEO, CIO or Chief Digital Officer.
  2. Run some form of Accelerator or Hub.
  3. Implement a fast-track procurement process.
  4. Offer co-working spaces
  5. Use competition tools.
  6. Share resources for free.
  7. Fund proof-of-concept and co-development programmes.
  8. Use challenge-based approaches to solve specific problems, more usually framed as a tightly-specified goal rather than a broad area of interest. 
  9. Connect businesses with end-user customers to enable them to test, improve and promote their goods and services. 
  10. Build internal entrepreneurship schemes into an open innovation process; these include creating spinouts, generating new ideas for exploitation and providing opportunities for talented staff to remain within the organisation.

Features of a Fast-track Procurement Process: 

  1. Reduce the time taken to register as a new supplier.
  2. Pay suppliers promptly (always within three months and in some cases within one week).
  3. Avoid asking for ISO certification or financial indemnities because of the burdens these impose.
  4. Establish dedicated legal teams or fast-track processes for start-ups and early stage growth companies, potentially including template agreements, tailored due diligence processes and technical upskilling programmes.
  5. Create mechanisms for scouting firms.
  6. Recognise that most barriers to open innovation are internal and work to find a balance between corporate culture and short-termism in decision-making.
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