Relations between corporation and startup. How to build them?

What do Procter & Gamble and startups have in common? It turns out that there is quite a lot. P&G as a mature organization is aware of the importance of innovation in business. For this reason, the global giant establishes cooperation with small companies, which are the forges of innovative solutions. Together they are able to create solutions on a global scale. Additionally, startups gain the opportunity to develop their own business skills.

This year, Procter & Gamble for the third time became involved in ABSL Startup Challenge, which is a competition organized by Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL), a leading organization representing the modern business service sector in Poland. From the company’s point of view, the competition is a natural way to look for new business partners, especially in the area of system, product and process innovations. Once again, P&G is the main partner and sponsor of a special award for a start-up whose solution was found to be particularly interesting.

ABSL Start-Up Challenge Roundtable is a meeting of the competition winners from recent years with representatives of companies that support the competition. It took place in Spark complex in Warsaw. This place seems to have been chosen not accidentally to organize this event: Spark is the most modern office building in this part of Europe. A number of innovative and modern solutions make this complex timeless and adaptable to rapidly changing conditions. Authorial system Connected by Skanska, Daylight Control system, Activity Based Parking or visual identification using Braille. These are only some of the innovations that will be present in all the buildings of the complex, and now they can be tested in the building where the participants of the event met.

Discussions and speeches during the ABSL Start-Up Challenge Roundtable focused on two key issues related to the collaboration between global brands and start-ups:

– How to scale your business from start-up to scale-up?

– How to talk to big companies and overcome barriers between corporations and start-ups?

– The foundation for building such relationships should be a change in mindset – when presenting your ideas to a potential partner, don’t just focus on what you’ve done, how you are, but show what you can give to the other side. For this to happen, we need to take our business partner under a microscope and try to find out what he expects from us, what problems he is facing and what we can do to make his work easier – argued Marcin Półchłopek, marketing director at Procter & Gamble in Central Europe, during his presentation.

One of the biggest pains of start-ups is finding the person who, at the end of the day, decides in a corporation about implementing a project or establishing cooperation. This is because many projects require experience, knowledge, analysis and expertise from different corporate departments. In addition, it is extremely important to establish specific terms of cooperation between the start-up and the corporation. In this way, disappointments at subsequent stages of activities will be avoided. P&G already has a special group of people – Digital Innovation Hub- whose task is to look for start-ups and enter into cooperation with them. DIH can directly influence management decisions, which undoubtedly facilitates communication with start-ups and speeds up the whole process of starting cooperation.

P&G has already achieved a lot of successes in terms of cooperation with startups. These include such projects as a gamification platform for Old Spice or Baby Box Club. The Baby Box Club project was created in cooperation between P&G and the Subscription Club startup as part of the Startup SPARK acceleration program run by the Lodz Special Economic Zone.

– What is unique about it is that it is the first platform in Poland where consumers can buy diapers on a subscription basis. The main idea of the project was to facilitate consumers’ decision making by providing them with clear information about products and customized purchase options, says Marcin Półchłopek.

After registration on the platform and determining the age of the child, the system will suggest the optimal diaper size. Over time, the system will suggest that it is time to change the product size. The packages are designed so that the consumer does not run out of diapers throughout the month. The user can choose a subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months, but can also change it at any time. On the first order, the consumer selects the date of the first delivery, and inventory in subsequent months will be set to automatically deliver every four weeks. Each time, a shipment of products goes directly to the consumer’s door.

– In cooperation with start-ups, we also create tools for communication with consumers – an example is the gamification platform created for the Old Spice brand. We also have large amounts of data at our disposal, so if we can find solutions that allow us to extract information from them, this is also an area where innovative solutions from start-ups can come in handy,” adds Małgorzata Mejer, Corporate Communication Manager for Central Europe at P&G.

The Polish P&G IT center employs over 300 people. It is the second largest P&G IT center in the world after Cincinnati. At P&G Global Business Services Center in Warsaw, the latest technologies such as machine learning, process automation and robotics are used every day to create innovations for Europe and the world in the areas of business analytics, marketing and supply chain planning.

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