Corporate Entrepreneurs

We’ve been watching the new global trend of corporations establishing internal innovation hubs, incubators, or accelerator programs. Many are trying to create what we call Entrepreneur Corporations or Corporate Entrepreneurs.

What’s fascinating is that most of the time these individuals never engage the outside world in the conversations. Based on our experience, we believe engaging some outside minds can make a difference in igniting the spirit of entrepreneurship within a corporation.

We have seen it happen in several different ways around the planet:

By engaging a committee in which people from outside the company — entrepreneurs who have started and grown a business — can participate. There is no one way of doing it, and there is no one way of succeeding in your business. There are multiple paths. The key is engaging several entrepreneurs that have started and grown a business but are not adamant about doing thing their way — you want diversity in thinking. Best practice would be to: 

  1. Ensure they are not all from the same elite school

  2. Ensure they are not all graduates of schools or colleges

  3. Ensure they are all of different ethnicity or background

By engaging an outside incubator, accelerator, hub, or consulting firm that works with incubators. When you take your program to the outside world and launch a different site it can help engage the world and create a new space for employees to have a different interface than what they have every day at your location.

The question then arises: when you are a global company with 5, 20, or 50 locations globally, how do you engage all your employees in the innovation hub you created?

Some corporations create a virtual site that employees can go to and create rooms for sessions they can attend virtually. This can be a weekly, monthly, or quarterly meeting where they go to a conference room in their individual locations and conference in to discuss topics with people from all the other locations. In some instances, they are all flown to one location for a specific topic and or project that needs to move forward.

We’ve also seen that some corporations create internal business plan competitions.

We’re not telling you which way to go, just igniting the idea of establishing an entrepreneurial center within your corporation, no matter how many locations you have.

BEFORE YOU GO

We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.

  1. How can you engage your employees in the entrepreneurial spirit?

  2. What are you currently doing to engage them in an entrepreneurial way?

  3. What other tools or insights do you have in engaging your employees?

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Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.

Faris Alami