4 Steps to Develop a Startup – Corporate Accelerator Collaboration

Corporate accelerators are a link between corporations and startup companies that provide benefits to both sides. Corporations who participate in business accelerators gain new, exciting innovation, growth within their market, new market opportunities and a rejuvenation of their company culture thanks to the startup collaboration. Startups, in turn, receive resources to drive their company forward, credibility from being associated with a large, well known brand and the invaluable networking and supply chain resources that the corporation brings to the collaboration. The upsides for both startup and corporation are endless if a good strategy is employed for structuring the collaboration program.


A corporation must decide to take advantage of the merits associated with beginning an accelerator initiative and has had the benefit of working with UBI Global on a hackathon or other event to find suitable candidates to collaborate with. UBI Global has an intimate understanding of business startups as well as corporate cultures and goals, and our team excels at matching corporations with suitable startups for successful collaborative efforts. In this informative article, we will discuss the four steps the corporation must outline for the collaboration to be successful.


1. Define

By defining the program, the corporation creates a framework for the relationship between startup and company. The number one goal in creating the framework is to consider value for both sides. By answering the following questions, the corporation will have a clearer view of the framework to proceed on to the next step:


2. Design

Once the program is defined and a framework is created, the next step is to design the rest of the innovation cycle, from beginning to graduation. A three-month time span should be the goal, as UBI Global has found this period is the most successful for both startup and corporation. Short time spans increase the focus and concentrate the company resources, leading to faster growth and success.

After the time span has been decided, a complete curriculum should be structured following a process that both corporation and startup can work with. This curriculum should be loose enough to allow for creativity yet sufficient enough to satisfy the corporation’s current process and agenda. It is critical to meet the startup’s needs to keep the focus on innovation, however, so the curriculum should keep this as a goal.

Training is the next step in the program design, with considerable time spent focusing on market validation for the product or services being developed during the collaboration. The goal is to train the teams involved in the program what the phases of the program are, i.e. the curriculum and goals.


3. Populate

The now fleshed-out framework is ready for some manpower; it’s time to involve the right people from both inside and outside the company. This will combine the fresh perspective of the startup with the tried-and-true business knowledge possessed by the corporation. Mentoring and education of startups by corporations during the program’s various phases are critical to success.

It is also of vital importance to have executive buy-in for the accelerator collaboration. A CEO’s involvement increases internal support for the program and gets other executives involved, keeping conflicts to a minimum.


4. Nurture

Regular assessments of the program’s progress should be scheduled and face-to-face meetings between the different teams should be held on a regular basis for progress reports, any concerns or any successes. While startups thrive in autonomous environments, it’s absolutely necessary to involve the corporation resources and credibility for a successful program graduation.

Toward the end of the successful business accelerator program, an alumni program should be developed to continue the collaboration and create a positive group dynamic.


Effective corporate collaboration with startup companies foster innovation for the corporation while offering support and value to startups. UBI Global has many successful years matching corporate goals and objectives with startup ventures, creating a solid foundation for a successful collaboration program. Our staff is ready to guide you on the first steps toward a successful partnership.



Need for New Ideas

One thing about the business landscape that has proven to always be true is that it is an ever-changing, dynamic set of rules that gets re-written often. The consumer wants and needs to grow and evolve, with technology and innovation rising up to meet the requirements.

When working with a startup, either in an accelerator or incubator program, there can be challenges to consider. UBI Global’s professional staff is here to advise startup and corporations alike on how to maximize the collaboration and embrace the changes. Big corporations like Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Google have, for years, embraced the need to innovate by working with startup companies, however, collaboration with startups isn’t just for big business; medium-sized and small firms are also discovering the benefits of collaboration.

Sourcing Ideas Via Startups

Using external ideas as well as internal ideas isn’t foreign to many businesses. Thanks to product reviews, surveys, and real-time data, companies are tuned in to the thoughts and preferences of their customers. Savvy corporations use this data and feedback to improve themselves, grow their market and bolster their brand.

Startup companies bring something completely new to the table; an innovation partner with entrepreneurial power. Nearly one-third of business accelerators in Europe are supported or run by a corporate partner; a number which is rapidly growing. This is just the tip of the iceberg; forward-thinking corporations of all sizes are turning to startups for their innovation and growth benefits.

Corporations of all sizes across the world are eager to begin working with startups; many don’t know where to start. This is where UBI Global is particularly helpful; in finding a perfect match between corporation and startup. Our experienced staff will guide your business into considering the ultimate goal of the collaboration as well as what success metrics should be in place for a true strategic alignment during the collaboration.

Take-away lessons

  1. Design your program well; consider goals and objectives and the programs that best deliver them.
  2. Secure support and buy-in from the top.
  3. Metrics are important; capture data, cultivate feedback and measure your progress.
  4. Involve the right people when implementing your program; give decision making power to a leader and develop a single access point to resources for the startup and make it easy.
  5. Work with the best startup using the best technology; UBI Global can help you facilitate a perfect match anywhere in the world.



On February 22, 2018, in Toronto, Canada at the World Incubation Summit, we at UBI Global will reveal the world rankings based on the world’s most comprehensive benchmark study of university-linked business incubators and accelerators. With 1370 programs assessed worldwide, 822 were qualified, following the application of 435, and finally, 259 university-linked incubation program benchmarked, the following recognition categories have been set:


UBI World Rankings of University-linked Business Incubators & Accelerators 17/18

A top-ranked university-linked incubation program is a Business Incubator or Business Accelerator that is directly managed by, formally affiliated with, or closely collaborating with one or multiple universities that efficiently and effectively generate exceptional value for its innovation ecosystem, its client startups, and for the incubation program itself.

Ranking Categories

  • World Top Business Incubator – Managed by University
  • World Top Business Incubator – Affiliated with University
  • World Top Business Incubator – Collaborating with University
  • World Top Business Accelerator – Linked to University

Other Recognition Categories 

Top Challenger 2017 – 2018
University-linked incubation programs that stand out from their peers with regard to a particular characteristic across all program types and university-relationship setups. 

Most Promising 2017 – 2018
University-linked business incubator or accelerator that stands out from its peers due to its impressive overall achievements relative to its young age or with regard to a particularly relevant socio-economic impact metric.

High Impact Champion 2017 – 2018
University-linked business incubator or accelerator that stands out from its peers due to its exceptional results with regards to a particularly relevant impact metric.

You are welcome to sign-up to our newsletter (in the footer) to stay updated on the latest insights and news from the UBI Global community. We are continuously providing exclusive incubation analysis and information to our subscribers.

Any questions on the rankings? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our research team at [email protected].

                                 We look forward sharing the results on February 22, 2018,
                                                                                                              Stay tuned!

Over the past few blogs, we’ve spoken of the benefits to both startup and corporation on working together. UBI Global has forged many business incubation/acceleration partnerships over the years and our experience has brought major success over many different countries and industries.

Big growth and big opportunities come with challenges and obstacles, no question. Let’s focus on what we’ve observed as far as hurdles that may arise and how to overcome them.

Innovation type, does it meet the hype?

Corporations aren’t always welcome to the type of innovation that startups bring to the organization. Startup innovations can be disruptive to the incumbent technology that the company employs and render their existing processes and goals obsolete. It’s not unusual or out of line for a corporation to prefer slow and steady growth to rapid change that a startup can bring. In fact, 85-90 percent of company innovations are of an incremental nature. Profits, however, are shown to be larger with the dynamic growth phase that a startup can offer.

Method to the madness?

The method of innovation required to work with a startup is perceived as high risk by the corporation, also a reasonable concern. Opening the company to external innovation can involve higher cost and new risks to the internal structure plus the return on investment is sometimes intangible or long term. Corporations may also fear their reputations if the collaboration goes sour.

Startups can be slow to collaborate

Some startup companies that turned down the offer of company collaboration did so because they didn’t want to be involved in a process that might stifle their creativity. A majority, however, just didn’t know how to forge the relationship or couldn’t find any interest in investment in their new idea.

Marathon not sprint

All the hurdles and barriers are understandable on both sides. Fortunately, our experience tells us that these can be overcome once any asymmetry between the corporation and the startup is lessened. For example, over the years the geographical challenge of two companies collaborating when they were located on different continents has lessened to the extent that it’s barely mentioned. Digital sharing of information is almost taken for granted these days.

Differences in company structure and culture, however, are a real concern as is the disruptive energy that collaboration with a new partner can bring. UBI Global recognizes this from both sides and works to outline how the collaboration will work on both sides, building a foundation of trust and a common set of goals. A solid outline of information, expectations, terms and conditions help speed up the decision making process and eliminate any power imbalances between the two parties.

Collaboration between startups and corporations is increasingly important for innovation and new revenue creation. UBI Global’s message here is that, although collaboration isn’t always easy, it is worth it to minimize the risk of your competition doing all the innovation and ignoring the opportunity for yourself. As for the startups, understanding the corporate concerns and working to address them can provide a path to success that is much smoother than going it alone. Let us find you the right collaborator to launch your startup right.


Source: Scaling Together: overcoming barriers in corporate-startup collaborations