When most founders think about scaling, we think about doing so through hiring people, raising finance, or maybe going global. But have you considered that you can achieve all the benefits of scale through partnering with a large corporate? Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones shares some advice.

Put your business questions to Emma Jones in a Facebook Live Q&A on 15 November at 12.30pm.

Deals with big corporates allow you to focus on what you do best and your partner surrounds you with talent, capital, and access to new and international markets.

We recently carried out some research with RB, the global consumer health business behind brands such as Strepsils, Durex and Gaviscon, which revealed that 66% of respondents would consider scaling with support from a large corporate but had not yet done so.

'Why?' you may ask. A whopping 86% of respondents said they simply wouldn't know where to start when it comes to looking for a trusted corporate partner with whom to scale.

RB commissioned this research as it was keen to find out what was holding back entrepreneurs from making an approach.

Companies of the size and scope of RB are setting up innovation units, funds, and labs to seek out entrepreneurial talent, yet the full benefits will only be reaped if talent is timely matched with opportunity.

As the entrepreneur, you can’t really go wrong with the large corporate approach. As RB states, in terms of what’s on offer it includes:

    • Global market access and expertise
    • Leading research and development capabilities
    • World class procurement and supply chain
    • Experts in medical, regulatory and consumer science
    • A proven track record in bringing innovation to market at speed

Ideas can be taken to market in as little as 18 months says Dave Challis who is VP of innovation at RB, a previous guest speaker for Enterprise Nation, and a champion for seeing increased levels of big <-> small connections and commercial ventures.

If this route appeals to you, consider the following:

  • Who is your ideal partner? This should be a straightforward exercise of looking at the large corporates who have access to your audience
  • Does that partner have the infrastructure for corporate partnering in place? Over the past five years we've witnessed Telefonica open its highly successful WAYRA accelerator, Unilever launch the Unilever Foundry, L'Oreal plough funds into Founders Factory to develop an innovation pipeline, John Lewis invest in JLab, and IKEA open a Rainmaking Bootcamp. They are all proof of a growing enthusiasm from large corporates to partner with entrepreneurial upstarts and become a channel to scale
  • What’s required as a first point of contact? Most of the programmes ask for a pitch (at this stage you will want to suggest a non-disclosure agreement is in place to protect your intellectual property) and potential application to a timed accelerator. Get the pitch right and who knows where the partnership will lead

Consider large corporates as your route to scale. They are certainly keen to partner with you!

If you're an Enterprise Nation member and you want to ask Emma a business question, email us and she might answer it in a blog post. Not a member? Join today from only £3 a month.

You can also put your business questions to Emma Jones in a Facebook Live Q&A on 15 November at 12.30pm.

Also in the Ask Emma series:

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