Do you want to grow and connect with corporations, but you don't know how? The Korpostart 2021 program connects startup and scaleup companies with corporations, with the aim of faster growth. Lojze Bertoncelj, a consultant, moderator and mentor working at CorpoHub, shared with his experience and advice in the field of connecting startups and corporations. Read more below.
Overcome your reservations and turn them into collaboration
To date, more than 50 corporations have gone through the Korpostart program, and almost 100 startups have gone through the mentoring program. This year, six new startup teams are participating in the program, helping them develop their ambitions, potential and business story through concrete experiences. One of the main goals is to connect the world of corporations and startups. They try to bring the startups one step closer to corporations and vice versa. There is another way to get bigger as quickly as possible. Lojze says the goal of the program is to make startups bigger faster, especially in collaboration with corporations. Startups usually have certain competencies, but they face a lack of machines and technologies, which corporations can offer them. Fears and reservations begin to emerge on both sides. The key task of Korpostart is to overcome these reservations and turn them into cooperation.
Get out of your comfort zone and achieve added value
Lojze pointed out two slogans with a special purpose that appear on their website and they are: 1 + 1 = 3 and get bigger faster. Nowadays, all too many startups unnecessarily stop somewhere comfortable. It is important to keep in mind that that comfortable place means there is no added value. Everything good lies elsewhere. At Korpostart, they try to force both startups and corporations, to get out of their comfort zone, because only in this way can they achieve predominant value and growth.
Cooperation between a startup and a corporation has many benefits for both parties. A startup that may be missing something due to lack of funds can find a strategic partner with the help of the program and achieve greater success. Things like competencies, accesses, and even a brand name that money can’t buy. Corporations are also learn about the concept of lean innovation, which is based on a more efficient increase of new value and not on reducing costs. With the help of the program, both parties gain practical experience and corporations often realize they can learn something from startups too.
Startups also learn about discipline, which is very strong in corporations. Startups usually lack discipline, ambition, experience, so they don't do things that they could. Corporations also offer tremendous acceleration in market insight, have relevant experience and specific knowledge.
A startup must be mature enough
Not every startup is ready to work with a corporation. Interconnection occurs only if the startup team is mature and ready for it. The KorpoStart program checks out every startup team, researches in advance how, who and in what way the connection could take place. They always try to connect the competencies of a startup and a corporation. It must be clear what the unique and special competencies of a startup are - hopefully ones that are hard to come by in the market. The team must have ambition that is not just “nice local business” but is strong and realistic.
A corporation must also be mature to cooperate
To work with a startup, a corporation must meet two conditions:
- Innovation strategy
If we want the cooperation to be successful, the changes must also be supported by the management. The company needs to talk about an innovation strategy. Business plans must be looked at and find out what are the plans for future changes. The company needs to be aware of what it will change in the future, that is, which direction it wants to go.
- Opening Innovation
They need to be open to external resources in the company, so that they do not insist on doing everything themselves and accept help from outside.
A good relationship takes time and patience
Many times, however, there is no collaboration between the startup and the corporation at all. Lojze emphasizes that this is a relationship that requires time and patience. If one of the players is not willing to invest energy in the relationship, nothing will come of it. We need to delve into the relationship and dedicate to it.
Time must be invested in a lean agile way
The time invested is the most important factor of success in Lojze's opinion, but he points out that it must be invested in a lean agile way. This is the basis of everything. Lean means that we work without ballast, that everything we do is done in the direction of value. Value in the beginning is not money, but learning. Agility means we know how to adapt. If something fails, we think of other options and adapt.
Keep in mind that the key metric for any startup is learning speed. We constantly have to wonder what and how much we have learned.
Cooperation with major Slovenian corporations
Lojze emphasized the cooperation with two major corporations in Slovenia, Pošta Slovenije and the insurance company Merkur. With the help of the Korpostart program, they combined the competencies of Pošta Slovenije and the startup team. As it was a logistical solution, they proceeded from the competencies of Pošta Slovenije and discovered a breakthrough business model, which now only needs to find a place in the Pošta Slovenije's strategy. This discovery influenced a small change in the mail process, but the startup with its competencies certainly helped in the progress and the development of the process. Another collaboration was between Merkur and the startup team. The teams faced the challenge of how to automate the vendor. They found one solution and another for which the competencies of the other startup team were more appropriate. They worked in the office, studied, and presented the evidence to the firm that allowed them to take the next step. They will slowly connect the startup team and the corporation and try to establish trust and cooperation between them. As a result, the two teams will find it easier to work together. Lojze also points out that large companies work with large numbers and that even smaller numbers can mean a lot to startups and help them grow.
Join the main event
V okviru programa bo 17. novembra ob 9.00 potekal tudi osrednji dogodek - HITREJE POSTATI VEČJI. KORPORACIJE IN STARTUPI. 1 + 1 = 3. Obstaja veliko razlogov tako za startupe kot korporacije, da se ga udeležijo. Startupi lahko na dogodku spoznajo pomembne kontakte, ki jim bodo pomagali hitro postati večji, medtem ko lahko korporacije stopijo v stik z zanimivimi startupi. Na dogodku bomo pridobili vpogled v določene primere, izkušnje, zgodbe in nauke podjetnikov, ki so v svoji karieri že marsikaj dosegli. Na dogodku se bomo posvetili konceptu odprtega inoviranja, spoznali primere sodelovanja korporacij in startupov v Sloveniji, govorili o aktualnih izzivih korporacij in startup rešitvah ter se mrežili. Udeležba na dogodku je brezplačna.
The main event will take place on November 17 at 9 am - GETTING BIGGER FASTER. CORPORATIONS AND STARTUPI. 1 + 1 = 3. There are many reasons for both startups and corporations to attend. Startups can meet important people that might help them grow, while corporations can get in touch with interesting startups. You will gain insight into experiences, stories and teachings of entrepreneurs who have already achieved a lot in their careers. At the event, we will focus on the concept of open innovation, learn about examples of cooperation between corporations and startups in Slovenia, talk about the current challenges and their solutions, and network. Attendance at the event is free if charge.
The Korpostart 2021 program is implemented by CorpoHub in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Saša inkubator and Start: up Slovenia. The purpose of the KorpoStart program of activities, in a broader sense, is to encourage the cooperation of corporations and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, primarily start-ups and scale-ups), with the aim of creating successful stories. Development is so fast and heterogeneous that even the biggest players can no longer do everything themselves. On the other side, young teams usually lack many different resources and competencies for faster and (globally) successful market penetration. KorpoStart activities promote and introduce a culture of integration with the goal of more successful and faster growth of both corporations and new innovative companies.
Read what Filip Isaković form Greentech has to say about it:
“Together with Lojze, we looked for ideas for a new pivot of our product and business model in a focused way, helping us with his extensive theoretical knowledge as well as rich experience. We then tested the best ideas with customers and actual users, collected their responses and analyzed them, on the basis of which we want to come up with the most useful pivot in practice, accepted by both groups."
Many other Startup Plus programs
The Slovene Enterprise Fund also organizes many other top entrepreneurial programs for portfolio companies, such as the Push2start Acceleration Program, Startup Clinic, SK GROWTH CAMP, NextRound, GROWdigital, KorpoStart, INTL, Nextround, School for Investors, HardwareSTART, CEED Founders Talk and ScaleUPgrade. The content programs effectively complement the financial products P2, SK75 and SI-SK, which provide Slovenian start-up companies with EUR 54,000 to EUR 600,000 in start-up funds.
Content support for recipients of P2, SK75 or SI-SK financial products under the "de minimis" scheme is co-financed from the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. This is implemented on the basis of the Content Support for Funds Recipients (SMEs) Programme in the 2018-2023 period, under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.