Corporate entrepreneurship and creativity in large firms: the practice of start-up contests

Par Véronique Schaeffer

The organization of start-ups contests by large mature firms appears as a growing practice to stimulate corporate entrepreneurship. We explore this phenomenon to characterize the mutual benefits for large firms and start-ups. We show the influence of two factors on the nature of the relationship between large mature firms and start-ups. The first is the product oriented or service oriented innovation processes of large firms. The second is the distance between the core technological fields of large firms and start-up. Based on these two factors we propose a categorization of start-ups contests in four types: early co-development, co-development close to market, acceleration and outsourcing. The cases we study show the strong influence of the technologies linked to Internet in the development of the start-ups contests. Accelerating programs that accompany the practice of start-ups contests rely on the creation of private accelerators that play an important role as boundary spanners and gatekeepers.
JEL Codes: M13


  • corporate entrepreneurship
  • start-up contest
  • accelerator
  • web 3.0
  • mature firms
  • open innovation
  • services
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