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The hunt is on to find Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars of 2017 with nominations opening on  Wednesday 22nd March. The ranking, run by advisory firm Mind the Bridge and innovation foundation Nesta, will recognise Europe’s top “startup-friendly” corporates. The scheme takes place under the European Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership initiative.

Judges will award companies that have gone the extra mile to establish mutually-beneficial partnerships with startups – whether through favorable procurement terms, partnerships, accelerators, direct investment, mentoring, intrapreneurship schemes, competitions or other dedicated internal programmes. Nominations will be judged by an expert panel that is chaired by Sherry Coutu, author of The Scale-up Report and angel investor.

In 2016 Cisco was crowned as the most startup friendly corporate in Europe at the Startup Europe Summit in Berlin as a result of its unique approach to partnerships and investments through its Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) corporate venturing programme. Runners up included Rabobank and Unilever.

Nominations close on Wednesday 12th April 2017 with the 25 stars and final ranking revealed in Autumn. Startups, scale-ups, startup supporting organisations, mentors, and those who have witnessed examples of good corporate-startup collaboration will be asked to nominate the corporates that are offering the most effective support. Self-nominations are not considered, but corporates are encouraged to ask their startup network to nominate them. Last year nominations were crowdsourced in a similar way and over 100 nominations were received.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, European Commission, says: "Cooperation between corporates and startups speeds up new business models and innovation. It is a key action to strengthen our ecosystem. Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars is an inspiring European step forward. Celebrate successes, embrace failures; let's speed up the learning curve on a bigger scale."

Alberto Onetti, Chairman of  Mind the Bridge, comments: “Starting new innovative businesses is not enough. We need European startups that are able to scale up in Europe. Corporations are front and central in this process. They can provide business opportunities as well as capital and exits. SEP 25 Corporate Startup Stars is aimed at showcasing best practices and role model how the corporate-startup collaboration might benefit both sides.”

Chris Haley, Head of Startups and New Technology Research at Nesta, comments: “Collaboration between corporates and startups, if done right, can bring tremendous benefit to both. Startups can access invaluable resources and market insight which can help them scale, whilst for established companies, such collaborations offer an important mode of innovation - as well as subtler benefits like cultural change. However, it is hard to get it right. We believe that the organisations doing this well should be recognised as trailblazers, and hope that they inspire others to follow suit.”


Notes to Editors

About Startup Europe Partnership (SEP)

Established by the European Commission in January 2014 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, SEP is the first pan-European platform dedicated to transforming European startups into scaleups by linking them with global corporations. By participating in the SEP program, global companies can help this process via business partnerships and strategic and venture corporate investments, providing them with access to the best technologies and talents through procurement of services or products, corporate acquisition or “acqui-hiring”. SEP is led by Mind the Bridge, a global organization based in Europe and United States, with the support of Nesta (the UK’s innovation foundation), Factory (an acceleration program and campus for tech companies of any stage, originating from Berlin), and Bisite Accelerator (Madrid/Salamanca).

SEP is a Startup Europe initiative. Partners include Telefónica, Orange, BBVA (Founding), and Telecom Italia, Unipol Group, Microsoft, Enel and SKY (SEP Corporate Member), with the institutional support of the European Investment Fund/ European Investment Bank Group, London Stock Exchange Group, EBAN, Cambridge University, IE Business School and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.  | @sep_eu  

About Mind the Bridge

Founded in 2007, Mind the Bridge is a Silicon Valley/European organization dedicated to developing, promoting, and supporting sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world and bridging them to the world’s most innovative center – the Silicon Valley.

Mind the Bridge offers a suite of programs and services (Startup School, Investors Program, Scaleup Mastery Program, Corporate Executive Program, Technology Scouting) with partnerships and operations in Europe, Asia, MENA, and LATAM.

Mind the Bridge has also been chosen by the European Commission to drive “Startup Europe Partnership (SEP)”, the pan-European open innovation platform to connect startups to large corporates. It is also the host of Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV), an intense week of activities in Silicon Valley for top EU scaleups, corporates and policy makers.    


About Nesta

Nesta is a global innovation foundation.  It backs new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, through its knowledge, networks, funding and skills. Nesta works   in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities.  It is a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment.  To find out more visit

Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.

About Startup Europe, European Commission

The Startup Europe Team works for entrepreneurs to be more connected within the European ecosystem, where talent, investment and learning can be easily captured. We believe Europe’s growth is going to be determined by savvy startups, and we want to support this startuppers grow. Startup Europe is based in four pillars:

1. Connecting people through our array of networks, such as investors, accelerators, female entrepreneurs, corporate networks, universities and #EUTechWriters (Startup Europe Partnership, SEP Investors Forum, …).

2. Connecting ecosystem by 5 Projects (Digistart, ePlus Ecosystem, Startup-Scaleup, Twist Digital and WELCOME) and by supporting regional initiatives such as Startup Europe Week or Startup Europe Regions Network.

3. Helping startups to soft-land in other markets such as Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) and India.

4. Celebrating entrepreneurs’ success (Techallstars and Europioneers). | @startupEU

Press contact

Juliet Grant

T: 020 7438 2668

E: [email protected]