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6 February, 2019 - 12:03 By Kate Sweeney

New venture brokers links between Cambridge SMEs and major corporates

Cambridge business and technology entrepreneurs are being handed the chance to link up with multinational companies to develop synergistic trade opportunities in a new venture powered from Down Under.

Australian business broker CoVentured is addressing a masterclass at St John’s Innovation Centre on February 12 to showcase its track record in connecting startups and scale-ups – SMEs – with established large corporates.

The company’s head of UK & EU, Ed Massey is a guest speaker at the event along with Dr Letizia Mortara from the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing.

Massey tells Business Weekly that CoVentured is expanding its global footprint by opening in Singapore next month in addition to its London office and Sydney HQ.

He says: “What we do at CoVentured is provide a platform and service that connects multinationals like Vodafone, Mondolez, Reckitt Benckiser, BDO, Pinsent Masons – and  in the charity sector Mental Health UK – with SMEs that are relevant to the particular business need of the large corporate partner. 

“From there, inevitably a pilot or proof of concept is run between the two, and that often then evolves into a full commercial relationship, and possibly investment, although that is rarer.”

CoVentured is backed by Australia's leading corporate accelerator, Slingshot which runs programmes for some of Australia’s largest organisations including Qantas, Caltex, Lion, HCF and News Corp.

The event is the first in a series of meet-ups for Merlin ICT – an EU funded programme to promote enterprise in the university research community –organised by St John’s Innovation Centre. 

The programme is designed to deliver a hands-on, problem-solving approach for researchers, post-docs and early-stage businesses to explore paths to market for their R & D projects and to create value from them.

Massey added: “Our corporates recognise the value that partnering with agile, tech-first startups can deliver not only to their top-line growth aspirations but also to the efficiency and effectiveness of their internal processes and systems. 

“They also recognise the fact that ideas, technologies and opportunities frequently come from the edges, or often outside, of their current industry and existing network.”

At the Cambridge event Massey and Dr Mortara will share their expertise on innovation and co-venturing ,exploring:-

  • Creating an environment for Open Innovation
  • Implementing Open Innovation Strategy
  • Partnerships between tech start-ups and established firms
  • Technology acquisition and protection
  • How universities and researchers can engage with industry
  • Big fish-little fish culture
  • Why do corporates take part in co-venture projects?
  • Successful co-venture projects
  • Bear traps – pros and cons of co-venture projects

To register interest in the event contact Alex Cleland: acleland [at] stjohns.co.uk or call 01223 421010. Alternatively visit: https://bit.ly/2Hfne41

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