Nominate your corporate start-up star!

Who are the best corporations for start-up businesses to work with? Tell us what you think in the first ever ranking of Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars

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Which corporation do you think works best with start-ups? Today marks the launch of a Europe-wide quest to identify and rank the best global companies to work with – and we want start-up business owners like you to nominate your ‘start-up stars’.

At Startups, we frequently share news about the launches of corporate-backed accelerators, start-up investments made by corporations or even acquisitions, and know many of our readers pride themselves on winning blue-chip customers.

But never before, has the start-up community had a clear idea of which corporations might be best to approach and work with. Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars is an exclusive ranking that will change that and offer invaluable insight for start-ups looking to scale.

That’s why we’re excited at to be the official media partner of this significant EU-backed research project.

Led by the UK’s innovation foundation Nesta and the Startup Europe Partnership, an EU initiative to help start-ups scale, Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars will rate corporations on the volume and quality of their activities with the start-up community.

You have until Thursday March 31 to nominate the global company you think is doing the best job, with the ranking due to be revealed in June.

These exemplars of big businesses working with fledgling companies will be judged on:

  • The level of business support they provide via accelerators or incubators
  • The types of partnerships they form with start-ups
  • Their procurement of products and services from small businesses
  • Any corporate venturing investments or acquisitions they’ve made
  • Their sharing of resources and tools, such as co-work spaces
  • And the events and competitions they host directed at young ventures.

The nominees will be judged by an outstanding panel, which includes: Sherry Coutu, highly active angel investor and author of the government-commissioned The Scale-up Report; Edward Wray, the angel investor and co-founder of Betfair; and Bart Clarysse, entrepreneur and chair in entrepreneurship at Imperial College, London.

Completing the panel are:

  • Candace Johnson, entrepreneur behind SES, Loral Teleport Europe and Europe Online
  • Andy McCartney, former CEO-in-residence at Microsoft and Founding Partner of Whitespace Ventures
  • Alberto Onetti, entrepreneur and Director of the Startup Europe Partnership
  • Dolf Wittkamper, Head of EIT Digital’s Accelerator
  • Ian Wallis, editorial director of
  • Neelie Kroes, former European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda and Special Envoy NL

Head of startup and new technology research at Nesta Chris Haley told he hopes Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars will shine the light on corporate-start-up collaboration and result in long-term benefits:

“Many corporates are already actively pursuing ways of working with smaller firms, as a mechanism for innovation or cultural change,” he said. “Startups, too, realise that larger firms offer valuable resources like market knowledge and routes to market. However, we think there is the potential for more. These ranking will celebrate those who are collaborating successfully and hopefully persuade yet more firms to embark on collaborative programmes of their own.”


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Image courtesy of SVC2UK CEO Summit 2015.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644104.

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