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ELEPHANTS IN THE STARTUP STORE: WHY CORPORATIONS HELP TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES

The technology race does not leave large corporations and entire states aside, creating unpredictability in predicting the future. New models of company development and innovation ecosystems were discussed by the speakers of the session "Big Little Innovation. How Small Startups Participate in the Life of Large Corporations".

Very often we see how a large company buys a startup and then absorbs it, and the entrepreneur simply leaves the business he created, noted the discussion moderator, member of the Board of Directors of the Skolkovo Foundation Pekka Viljakainen. But this is not the only scenario: he cited Nokia as an example, which at some point left the mobile phone market and began cooperating with startups in a niche, which was then new for it. "As a result, corporations obtain new technologies and grow even faster, and startups, by joining a large company, can also further grow and develop," said Pekka Viljakainen.

Ekaterina Frolovicheva, Head of VTB New Technologies Testing Department, said that the bank provided an opportunity to develop new products through joint ventures and pilot projects: "We are such a big elephant who entered a small store with startups in need of fresh air and space. If something is wrong in the market, it is very important for this business to respond quickly. The necessary resources must be provided in a timely manner. "In 2020 alone, VTB selected 32 companies to implement pilot projects. In total, about 1,500 startups have passed through the bank's accelerator, many of them are Skolkovo residents, said Ekaterina Frolovicheva.

Russian Post got the opportunity to test new ideas and products within the company in order to create an ecosystem of services and offer it to customers, said PochtaTech Director Vladimir Urbansky. "We have developed a mobile application and website for users, which are a platform for both individuals and corporate clients. Russian Post has signed contracts with four startups, which have the opportunity to interact with our customers online and offline in all regions of Russia," he said.

Rector of the University of the National Technology Initiative 2035 Nina Yanykina spoke on how educational institutions help students start working as entrepreneurs: "We have universities that aim to provide not only professional knowledge. About 4.7 million students are already working on their projects, launching their own companies.

Universities are becoming very important partners in the long term, said Ali Al-Suwaidi, Senior Innovation and Partnership Manager at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). His company provides infrastructure, financial support, and patent assistance to startups from around the world.

"We attract startups that help solve problems around the world. In particular, we participate in an open program, where we are a partner of other companies in the housing sector," Ali Al-Suwaidi said, adding that in 2020 DEWA signed agreements with a total of 10 startups that meet the necessary criteria for reaching a new level of development.

The session was also attended by Tramayne Monaghan, Chief Innovation Officer at Tencent Africa, and Valery Prunier, Innovation Director Europe and Middle East at EDF. The experts noted that the online format expanded cooperation in the field of breakthrough technologies and developments. It's easier for small startups to enter the world of large corporations.