SDA Professor of Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management
Corporate entrepreneurship is a rising issue among executives. An increasing number of multinational companies are sponsoring “hackathon”-like events, screening potential investments in start ups or setting up corporate incubators to engage internal and external entrepreneurs. Moreover, the participation of corporations in venture capital funds – of their own or as limited partners – has recently experienced a sharp increase. For instance, the percentage of corporate venture capital on the total VC market in the U.S. has gone from 7% in 2008 to 13% in 2015. Yes, corporate entrepreneurship is a “hot” new thing.
Except for the fact that it is not really new. Since the 90s, companies have regularly engaged in various forms of interaction with start up communities and internal entrepreneurs, with varying degrees of success. One recurring fact in these past efforts, however, is how little they seem to last. For instance, the average life of a corporate venture capital unit is below two years. Similarly, corporate incubators and idea contests are announced with great fanfare only to be quietly downscaled or shut down relatively soon after, when the company’s cash becomes a bit more scarce or someone asks the question: “Why are we spending money on this?”. Often, it turns out they were doing it just for immediate media visibility, without any clear strategic objective. What is it that makes these efforts so unstable? Why can’t corporations be more consistent and patient in their approach to identifying and developing entrepreneurial ideas inside and outside their organizations?
In this article, I begin outlining the contours of a more comprehensive map of corporate entrepreneurship programs, their outcomes and the measures that might lead to a more effective method to evaluate and improve corporate entrepreneurship initiatives.Leggi tutto →