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the innovation dilemma known as seeds versus weeds refers to

The aim of the article is to explore the driving factors behind corporate start-up accelerators and to identify the benefits and challenges associated with this business model innovation. Based on five in-depth interviews and a focus group interview (FGI) with corporate representatives this study focuses on identifying the core dimensions (motives, challenges and benefits) of collaboration between corporations and start-ups carried out by corporate accelerators. This study increases the scope of both the theoretical and practical body of knowledge on corporate entrepreneurship and innovation acceleration through cross-sectoral collaboration.

Challenges associated with corporate accelerators. Source: Own study

Introduction

internal corporate accelerators (Hochberg 2016; Kohler 2016; Weiblen and Chesbrough 2015),

Further, the results show that the challenges inherent in the acceleration process can be associated with the collision of these two distinct business model logics. Identified challenges refer to the planning orientation, management practices and human resources skills. Noteworthy contributions also emerge from the analysis of the benefits of corporate accelerators. The study established that the strategic long-term benefits stemming from the accelerator activities are the most important. These include new knowledge acquisition, human capital development and organizational learning. All these benefits have a multiplying effect. They initiate changes at different levels of the company, such as organizational structure, culture, new venture practices, faster feedback and agile decision-making, potentially resulting in reconfigurations of the existing business model.

The goal of this study was, on the one hand, to identify the motives that drive corporations in seeking collaborations with start-ups and, on the other hand, to explore the challenges and benefits that are associated with this entrepreneurial process. The study focused on corporate accelerators operating in Poland that demonstrate exploratory and exploitative business model logics. Based on the triangulation of data and methods, the research analysis revealed a wide array of corporate motives in attempting to collaborate effectively with start-ups. Both push and pull factors were identified within and outside organizations. The results show that corporate accelerators operating with an exploratory business model logic are dominated by external pull motives, while accelerators with an exploitative business model logic expose a strong saturation of internal push motives. This expands on existing research and systematizes its practical significance.

School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

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