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Best Practices for Successful Incubator-Corporation Partnership

Incubators and corporates collaborate for many reasons, not the least of which are funding, expertise, networking and innovation. During this collaboration, many partnerships face challenges that can make or break the relationship. There may be a culture clash, struggle for control or even a search for independence that can distract from the main goal. Fortunately, UBI Global has studied incubation programs around the world and can pass on to you the best practices for successful incubator/corporate partnerships.

What is the function of a business incubator?

An incubation program builds a bridge from startup to corporate that maintains the independence and freedom of the startup while offering their corporate partners innovation they could not otherwise afford on their own. Incubator programs are often directly or indirectly linked to universities, which increases their capacity to deliver services, talent, and resources for both startups and corporates. University-linked incubation programs have stellar reputations and are able to offer long term, intensive support for startups and corporate partners.

What are the best practices for great partnerships?

Obviously, this is not a quick, easy answer but we can outline the major conflicts that occur between startups and corporates during the incubation process. They are:

  • Speed of decision-making process
  • Evolving strategy on both sides
  • Misaligned expectations
  • Set goals

Best Practices for Successful Incubator-Corporation Partnership

To manage these conflicts, it is a best practice for the corporation to set explicit and transparent long-term goals. The corporate should have an overriding consensus within their own company structure on the desired level of collaboration and incubation process and the objectives that must be achieved during incubation. Preferably set before the incubation process begins, this gives a clear set of corporate goals to both the startup and the incubation program. With this set of goals in mind, the three conflicts listed above can be avoided.

Grow the innovation ecosystem

A central objective of many incubation programs is the creation and maintenance of a local innovation ecosystem. The value of the ecosystem is ultimately regarded as an indicator of the incubation program’s success. By merging talent, investment, support, and guidance from corporates with young startups, the incubation program can further nurture the ecosystem to flourish and grow. In turn, the successful ecosystem attracts more corporates and more startups with successful paths to market.

Nurture the partnership

Business incubators and accelerators are facilitators of the fruitful collaboration between startups and corporations. The incubation programs that UBI Global works with are responsible for thousands of startups in over 90 countries around the world. Thanks to today’s technology, partnerships between startups, incubation programs and corporates can happen across the globe just as well as across the street. Incubation programs make sure a mutually beneficial relationship is established between startup and corporate.

Benchmark the Incubator

Through their own benchmarking system, the incubation program monitors key points in the progress of the relationship. What is important for both startups and corporates to remember is to look for incubation programs that offer value and engagement. An incubation program that only offers workspace without mentorship, guidance and resources is not a good value and will not contribute much to the success of the partnership.

Corporates searching for an innovative startup partner need to work with UBI Global. We have done the work of gathering data, compiling benchmark studies and detailing the best practices of the top incubation programs in the world. By matching incubation programs with corporations hungry for innovation, UBI Global has been the catalyst of positive affiliations in almost every country.

If your corporation is ready to lend their visibility and expertise in exchange for new, disruptive technology, UBI Global can guide you into the best incubation program and startup for your partnership in the innovation ecosystem.

For more information, you may contact Ali Amin at [email protected].


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