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THE startup industry has become a vibrating ecosystem for the large companies. It is not therefore surprising that more and more corpora-tions 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 Bongo Hive, 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.
In June, Scale Up Africa podcast hosted the BongoHive founders – Lukonga Lindunda, Silumesii Maboshe and Simunza Muyangana, who spoke up entrepreneurship, tech, COVID19 and so much more. It is jam-packed with so many insights and lessons.
According to Bongo Hive 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 cor-porate,” Mr Lindunda said.
Recently Bongo Hive announced 15 finalists of the Future Trends programme that had seen over 400 applications received.
Bongo Hive in partnership with Prospero and Village Capital, have launched the call for applications for the first cohort of Thrive Investment Readi-ness Accelerator for growth-oriented businesses
A selection will be made of 10 start-ups operating from within Lusaka that are tackling the largest challenges in one or more of the critical sectors such as education (Edtech), tourism, Financial inclusion (FinTech), clean energy, agriculture and mining services.
The programme includes a series of workshops – these are typically four-day engagements – that provide our entrepreneurs with training to develop their business models, financials, pitches, sales pipelines, and other aspects. Entrepreneurs will also have one-on-one time with mentors, industry ex-perts, investors, top local business leaders, and potential customers.
Selected start-ups are required to have two team members to attend virtual workshops.
At the end of the programme, ventures will be selected by BongoHive and the Advisory Board to pitch their businesses to potential investors in order to receive investment.
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, and are seeking to harness the innovation and creativity of startups by 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 strate-gies 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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