Startup-corporate partnerships 3/3: 6 success stories

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In our series on startup-corporate partnerships we've looked at the logic behind the relationships, and why there are not more of them. In our third and final piece we'll take a look at six successful examples of mastering the partnership. 

Two recent Wamda articles spoke about the benefits and challenges of securing mutually beneficial partnerships between startups and large corporations (read Part I and Part II). In spite of the challenges, a substantial number of large companies in the region have committed resources to working with their early-stage counterparts. Some have created direct investment facilities while others provide service or incubation support. This article reviews who they are and what they’ve done.

Aramex: Founded by Wamda Chairman Fadi Ghandour, Aramex is the region’s leading logistics company. It’s used its position to help startups gain access to preferential rates on shipping among other services. Moreover, the company supports entrepreneurs through mentorship, incubation, and intrapreneurship opportunities. 

Zain: The Kuwaiti telecom has also taken a leading role in working with small businesses and startups. Zain’s Jordan branch has created a Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER) program in conjunction with Wamda in addition to launching ZINC, a coworking space in Amman.

The Zubair Corporation: For entrepreneurs in Oman, The Zubair Corporation – a large conglomerate specializing in energy, logistics, engineering, and construction – launched an incubation center aimed at cultivating new enterprises. Read more about its services here.

DP World: You’ve probably heard of the Turn8 accelerator in Dubai, created by executives at DP World. The Emirati marine terminal operator launched the accelerator in an attempt to enhance entrepreneurship in the Emirates. So far 23 companies have benefited from Turn8's services.

Vodafone Egypt: Like other corporates in the region – most notably Saudi telecom STC and the Middle East Broadcasting Company – Vodafone created an investment fund in Egypt designed to take equity stakes in promising startups. Unlike STC and MBC, however, the Vodafone fund is dedicated to investments in mobile and telephone ventures. Presumably, the investments are made with a mind to eventual acquisition of technology or talent.

Cisco: The American company has partnered with AMIDEAST to provide training programs to entrepreneurs. The Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute is active in Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Oman, and Palestine.

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