Bridging the gap between theory and reality

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Lukonga Lindunda

THE startup industry has become a vibrating ecosystem for the large companies. It is not therefore surprising that more and more corporations are looking to work with start-ups.

The business landscape is changing quickly, making it hard for large firms to innovate quickly enough to thrive in this new context

Large corporations are like big, slow ocean liners: difficult to steer when it comes to innovation at the pace the market requires. 

Standardised processes, bureaucratic management, risk aversion and lack of creativity are some of the reasons for this. 

In contrast, start-ups desire to challenge the status quo, have potential for rapid growth and the capacity for a continuous flow of new ideas. 

Corporate venturing then is a promising solution to source innovation opportunities at speed. 

In exchange for these innovation advantages, corporations can in turn offer startups what they lack: capital, workforce, facilities, network, and so on.

These sentiments are shared by Bongohive, Zambia’s first technology and innovative hub which evolves to assist scalable startups by enhancing skills, accelerating growth, providing a forum for ideas exchange and reducing the barriers to entrepreneurship.

According to the Co-founder, Lukonga Lindunda, large firms should view partnerships with startups as an opportunity to penetrate into new markets.

“Once you see startups growing and gaining momentum in the industry, as a corporate you should see that as an opportunity. If you can partner with them, you can get into new markets.

“A startup will be more agile and they are on the ground and understand the context much better and that will help in creating credibility as a big corporate,” Mr Lindunda said.

Many of the innovative ideas changing our world come from startup companies and the corresponding entrepreneurs behind them. 

Established companies are beginning to recognise this, andare seeking to harness the innovation and creativity of startupsby building internal teams whose objective is to find and partner with startups to solve business challenges.

Driven by the digital revolution, startups were first seen as fierce competitors that corporations have long found hard to face.

Nowadays, this vision has changed, and some major groups have managed to turn this challenge into an asset.

Risk has been transformed into opportunity, and innovation has been set as a goal for each company: It is now firmly integrated into corporate strategies as a major goal for the large firms.

There is a significant offset between the appeal for innovation and the proactivity of companies to implement it in their activities. 

Of course, risk aversion plays a big part, but one cannot ignore the difficulty of establishing a stable relationship.

In order to keep pace with the accelerating rate of innovation, many corporations are investing in, developing partnerships with, and collaborating with startups. 

Startup business collaborations are becoming more and more crucial for the ongoing success of companies of all sized and stages.

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