As part of its Global Entrepreneur Week, IBM hosted an all-day Global Entrepreneur Day, billed as Connecting Companies with Capital in its new Cambridge-based Innovation Center on Tuesday, February 4th. The event was just one of many events IBM hosted worldwide to connect startups with industry experts and mentors. Among the topics of discussion on Tuesday was building strategic partnerships, a key to growth for any startup.
Through its many global innovation centers, IBM partners with early stage startup companies through its IBM Global Entrepreneur program to provide access to the benefits and resources those companies need. CEO of Findability Sciences, Anand Mahurkar, is one such startup founder who has benefited from this partnership. Mahurkar and IBM’s Joe Perry, who manages the innovation ecosystem across the North American Eastern Region & Canada, discussed the benefits of their strategic partnership. Findability Sciences is a Big Data Ecosystem Partner of IBM and is using IBM’s Big Data technology products in its Findability Platform. To learn more about IBM’s Innovation Centers and Global Entrepreneur program, click here.
American Airlines is another company with a local presence committed to supporting entrepreneurs. Through Business ExtrAA, American’s loyalty program for startups, small and mid-sized businesses, companies can earn points while their employees continue to earn miles. American supports select companies in a variety of ways through the Innovators Initiatives, including travel grants, marketing support, sourcing of products / services and fostering connections that enable growth. American has partnered locally with MassChallenge, Techstars and Mass Innovation Nights to help build those partnerships. Boston-based startup Artaic, a 2011 MassChallenge winner, is an example of one company that reaped the benefits of a strategic partnership with American. According to Artaic CEO Ted Acworth and American’s Strategic Partnership Manager Paul Swartz, Artaic received in-kind travel benefits and was featured online and in American’s in-flight magazine, both of which provided outstanding value to the company. You can view Artaic’s innovators spotlight here and learn more about American’s program here.
Waltham-based Constant Contact is seeking to help entrepreneurs build strategic partnerships though its new Small Business Innovation Loft designed to support entrepreneurs. As a part of the program, startups will receive residence at the new SMB InnoLoft center at the Constant Contact headquarters. There, they will be mentored by Constant Contact experts, as well as investors, to help build their early-stage solutions. The program is four months long and scheduled to begin in the summer. Ahead of the launch of this new program, Constant Contact brought in a few “test” companies including MassEcon 2013 Corporate Welcome honoree, MarketMeSuite. According to Tammy Kahn Fennell, MarketMeSuite CEO, and Andy Miller, Chief Innovation Architect at Constant Contact, the partnership proved to be incredibility beneficial for the startup, providing them access to invaluable advice and mentorship from key executives including Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman. To learn more about the new SMB InnoLoft, click here.
There are numerous local opportunities for startups and small businesses to build strategic partnerships in order to foster growth. If you haven’t already taken advantage of some or all of the above mentioned opportunities, you might want to start, as Findability Sciences, Artaic, & MarketMeSuite all benefited significantly from these partnerships.