Money is not why businesses interact with start-ups

Accelerator programs are a great way to connect businesses and start-ups, but it's not without its problems. Among the key obstacles are challenges in integrating structures, goals and systems of measuring business success.

Those are the results of a new study conducted by OpenAxel, a European Commission project coordinated by Wayra. It involved 60 of Europe´s largest corporations with open innovation programs.

Looking at why businesses choose to interact with start-ups in the first place is mostly to find disruptive and innovative business solutions (83 per cent), to rejuvenate its corporate culture (76 per cent), and to enter new markets (66 per cent).

Earning money, and social responsibility doesn't seem to be that high on the list of priorities, though.

“It is often assumed that corporations that engage with startups are doing so with a profit motivation, seeing the potential for high growth and strong returns on their investment,” says Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK.

"This research study shows that in reality the reasons for investing in start-ups are varied, and often more to do with the positive impact they can have on the business’s own culture and processes,” he said.

“While there has clearly been a great deal of progress made in developing incubator programmes, the priority for businesses operating accelerators must be to closer integrate with their own business to produce more meaningful and measurable results.”

What’s also interesting in this report is the way businesses scout for, and first approach start-ups, in EU. One-off events seem to be the number one choice (69 per cent), followed by shared resources (64 per cent), and investments.

The full report, offering further expert comments and more details, can be found on this link (PDF).