This week, Startups @ McMillan joined an energized crowd for the Vancouver Entrepreneur Forum‘s next installation in its series on the Cycle of a Startup. After discussing growth in the cannabis space last month, VEF dove into the question of what large enterprise corporations are doing to disrupt and innovate from within. And it turns out, they are doing a lot!
The discussion was moderated by Lauren Robinson, who has seen the likes of many successful ventures, Eric Hopkins (Chief Strategic Venture Officer at BCAA), Justin MacCarthy (Dir. New Ventures – Strategy at Lululemon Athletica), and Jennifer Hamilton (Sr. Dir. New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson). Each panelist spoke of their focus on innovation within and from outside their respective companies, in each case to a much broader array of verticals then one would assume. You don’t need to be a textile startup to attract the attention of Lululemon’s strategic arm, nor an online insurance platform disruptor for BCAA, so get your thinking caps on to step out of those boxes.
The panelists discussed what they are looking for from entrepreneurs looking to partner or sell their innovation to enterprise corporations. Since all of these companies (and many others) have teams dedicated to reviewing the market, one suggestion was to focus less on selling what the problem is and more on proactively proving what your product or service can do to alleviate that pain point. Another hint is to keep on pushing. If the product is not a fit for that company’s here and now, they may know of other places is may work out or have other visions as to where your product or service could make an impact. As always it seems, hard work and timing are an entrepreneur’s playbook.
Aside from the panel, we had some great conversations with new and promising startups like Calendher and look forward to seeing them grow. The last two VEF events of the year are focussed on talent acquisition and exits. We will post more on those closer to the events but hope to see you there!