Fusion Labs launches inaugural Startup Friendly Awards to recognise corporates collaborating with entrepreneurs

- December 18, 2015 2 MIN READ

Innovation has become the buzzword du jour for companies – and governments – around Australia as of late, but whether they’re actually working productively to institute a culture of innovation internally is debatable; in fact, a report released yesterday found that many companies don’t even have a proper grasp of what innovation actually is.

Fusion Labs, an organisation helping corporates learn how to innovate, has launched the Startup Friendly Awards, designed to recognise large businesses that work with entrepreneurs to innovate and foster the development of the wider entrepreneurial community.

The awards will aim to promote and accelerate partnerships between the corporate and startup ecosystems, and recognise those who “exhibit excellence in proactive, respectful, and responsible collaboration” with startups.

Awards will be given across eight categories, with the first going to the most startup friendly corporate with the best demonstrable use of open innovation to get a product to market in the financial services, ICT and media, post, retail, or healthcare sectors, and the second to a corporate in the utilities, mining, manufacturing, recruitment, government services, arts and recreation, or accommodation industries.

Other categories include ‘most open and transparent’, to be judged on criteria including access to data and APIs and openness about challenges and pain points, ‘delivering on promises’, ‘respect for entrepreneurs’, ‘building and supporting the startup ecosystem’, and ‘intrapreneur friendly’, with a people’s choice award also to be given.

Patrick Crooks, CEO of Fusion Labs, said that the awards aim to solve the problem of how to engage in key areas.

“When trying to collaborate, many startups and corporates grapple with issues such as culture fit, IP ownership, procurement, transparency and having a mandate to truly follow through,” he said.

“This year saw a rapid growth in corporate venture funds, the number of hackathons and contests in the industry, and many companies and government departments opening up data and API’s to external developers. We want to see that momentum continue – if corporates don’t disrupt their industry, someone else will.”

Fusion Labs will also be establishing the Australian Open Innovation Registry in conjunction with the awards, which will collate information about open innovation initiatives from large corporates and governments for startups.

Entries for the Startup Friendly Awards will open in early 2016, with winners to be announced mid-year.