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These Corporates Are Partnering With Startups To Up the Tech Game Samsung, Suzuki, Mondelez, Google and Microsoft are among the latest large corporations to launch initiatives aimed at boosting the startup ecosystem

By Soumya Duggal

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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this month urged India Inc to partner with startups to benefit from their technology solutions as well as boost investments in their products. It appears that many industry leaders, such as Samsung, Suzuki, Mondelez and more, agree with the minister's suggestion and have already jumped onto the bandwagon of corporate-startup collaborations.

Automobile giant Suzuki Motor Corporation, for instance, has announced a partnership with T-Hub, an innovation hub and ecosystem enabler, to mentor and support Indian entrepreneurs and startups to access Japan's ecosystem. Suzuki Innovation Center (SIC), an open innovation platform, will provide growth opportunities to T-Hub incubated startups. Similarly, global FMCG company Mondelez International has launched CoLab in India, an early-stage startup engagement programme—its first one outside the US—which will provide funding, education and mentorship to up to seven startups in the snacking segment. The initiative will be a 12-week programme and the selected startups will be provided access to Mondelēz leadership and its partner network as well as a $20,000 grant.

Another large corporate to announce an initiative to boost the Indian startup ecosystem this February is a celebrated South Korean tech conglomerate: Samsung R&D India has launched the Startup Incubation Program 2023 to collaborate with tech startups in the country through a six-month Samsung Mobile Advance 2023, which is an open call for project proposals from Indian companies. The winning ideas will receive up to $50,000 in grant funding from Samsung, along with limited technical and project support and loan devices to enable the winning project ideas to be developed. After the program's completion, the developed Proof of Concept projects will be evaluated and considered by Samsung Mobile for further partnership opportunities.

Although these are just the latest announcements in support of Indian startups to come from leading corporates in the country, such initiatives have only been growing in recent time. While Microsoft joined forced with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in January 2023 to empower Indian spacetech startups with technology tools and platforms, go-to-market support and mentoring to help them scale and become enterprise-ready, Google chief executive officer Sundar Pichai announced in December 2022 the tech giant's plans to invest a quarter of its $300 million India Digitisation fund in women-led startups. Evidently, these are welcome initiatives to foster the much-needed mutually beneficial corporate-startup partnership for accelerating economic activity in the country.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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