Expertise Center Business Design & Innovation

A question? I can help you

The Art of Corporate Venturing

Research project on the value of collaborations between corporates and start-ups.

Type project: Research project

Project partners: PricewaterhouseCoopers and PwC Lawsquare. Also interested in joining us as a partner? Contact us.

Duration: May 01, 2018 - May 01, 2021

Contact person: Vincent Molly

From exploration and selection to implementation and governance

Corporate Venturing is on the rise. A growing number of corporations recognize the value of collaborating with start-ups to enhance their innovation powers. However, an important question remains: how to do this in the best possible way to make the cooperation a success for both the corporate and the start-up? This research aims to get insight into best practices and guidelines in order to better organize and drive external corporate venturing projects.

In today’s era of entrepreneurship our economy is characterized by creativity, disruption, new technology and drastically changing business models, where a lot of credit is owed to the many start-ups founded daily. Their focus often lies on disruptive innovation and they excel at exploring the right customer/product mix that will hopefully turn into a scalable business model.

However, today’s economy still largely depends on established companies, of which the majority worldwide can be identified as family-owned firms. Some were created centuries ago, and have turned into flagships through incremental innovation and through exploiting a business model which allowed them to become a dominant player in their market.  

External corporate venturing as a solution to disruptive challenges

The biggest challenge for start-ups today lies in finding the right resources and developing a customer base allowing them to turn into a viable company. For family businesses, it becomes clear that the current revolution requires much more than just gradual innovation, which strongly challenges the knowledge and expertise available within the company. Currently, the importance and relevance of external corporate venturing is growing rapidly, and could offer extra value to the challenges and future of both ventures. 


In-depth research and tool development to increase uniqueness and strengths

We will work in 3 phases: First, we will study the state-of-the-art knowledge regarding external corporate venturing in (family) businesses, in close collaboration with our founding partners. Key elements of success will be identified through in-depth interviews of leading success stories in the start-up and corporate world. In the second phase, we will analyze the whole process of corporate venturing in close collaboration with corporates and start-ups.

This will give us real-life insights into the dynamics that are at play in reaching and supporting a successful cooperation. In the third phase, we will develop tools to assist corporates as well as start-ups to mutually benefit from the uniqueness and strengths of both ventures.

Special attention will go to family businesses, which form the backbone of our economy. Almost 80% of the corporate world in Belgium are family firms. They are responsible for 45% of national employment and make a contribution to our GDP of more than 100 billion euros.

This project will be developed in close collaboration with several network partners. Interested in participating in this project as a (family) business? Contact us.

Read more on Corporate Venturing


This research project is being realized with the cooperation of our project partner:

Our network partners: Agoria, The Birdhouse, imec, Limburg Startup, Netwerk Ondernemen, Port of Antwerp, Start it @ KBC, Startup Factory, VOKA

Click here for the press release about the start of the project.

How can I help you?

Vincent Molly, Professor Family Business

A question?
I can help you