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List of case studies


Academic year: 2023

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This research study seeks to reveal the different ways in which companies design and implement their cooperation with SGBs and intermediaries by analyzing several current and past corporate-SGB and corporate-intermediary-cases. Companies must therefore innovatively structure their engagements and achieve a balance that aligns their motives for cooperation with the needs of SGBs and participating intermediaries.

Market functioning and the need for innovation

Globalization, fragmented supply chains and the renewed push to focus on strategic activities by divesting non-core businesses have driven large companies to partner with outside entities using a range of different business models. Business involvement in SGBs is driven by two main factors: the need for innovation and the need to be ahead of the market in understanding future disruption.

Corporates and entrepreneurs: needs and expectations and the potential for synergies

These types of start-ups and social enterprises can also be called small and growing businesses (SBL), which the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) defines as 'commercially viable businesses, with between 5 and 250 employees, that have strong potential for growth and therefore for creating social and economic benefits in the community and the economy'. The need to go beyond providing financing support and focus on building management skills is increasingly recognized as an important aspect of capacity building.

India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and corporates

There is a strong bias in technology, e-commerce and mobile technologies at 80%. The private sector has its own advantage as it has sectoral expertise, particularly in providing non-funded support.

Figure  2. Factors influencing the
Figure 2. Factors influencing the

Need for this study

2 Structured deep-dive into corporate–

SGB and corporate–intermediary engagement models

Shortlisted engagement examples – an overview

The role of intermediaries and partners Another important criterion concerns the structure of the engagement model. External entities play a key role in facilitating and ensuring the proper functioning of the engagement.

Figure 6. Sectoral classification of corporates
Figure 6. Sectoral classification of corporates

Engagement categorisation/profiling When assessing the nature of the engagements

To identify the key factors and drivers of the shortlisted engagements and understand how the engagements fit into India's current entrepreneurial ecosystem, it was first necessary to identify the parameters to use when. A framework for analysis was developed to guide the overall structure of the analysis and included identifying the parameters that determine each engagement path – from inputs to results – and measuring each stage in multiple dimensions.

  • Corporate–SGB (direct) engagement model
  • Corporate–intermediaries (indirect) engagement model
  • Hybrid engagement model
  • Introduction to analysis

Channeling its CSR funds through Villgro, Mahindra Finance provides funding and non-funding support to innovative social enterprises in the agriculture sector. The use of non-funding support in the form of access to technology and industry mentors and expertise.

Table 1. Engagement models used by the  corporates that feature in the case studies considered herein were sorted into five broad categories.7
Table 1. Engagement models used by the corporates that feature in the case studies considered herein were sorted into five broad categories.7


The rating depends on the number of engagements undertaken by the corporation or incubator that have been successful in meeting stakeholder objectives. The level of involvement (determining whether the level of corporate involvement was high or low) – this is assessed based on the parameters) for each engagement work related to the production of outputs or outcomes of interest as defined by the E3C framework.

Figure 11. Output coding
Figure 11. Output coding

Success factors for medium- to high-level of output

Analysis of outcomes – drivers for synergistic partnership

When the sector focus is niche and the company's primary form of support is access to resources (in the form of mentors and sector experts), a high degree of involvement is required. When the company's motivation is to create social impact, and the primary form of support is provided in the form of resources, at least a medium level of involvement is necessary. When the company's motivation is to create social impact and the primary form of support is in the form of financial support with a medium level of involvement, the involvement of an intermediary will lead to a high level result.

Table 7. Success factors for medium to high level outcomes4.3.2 Results
Table 7. Success factors for medium to high level outcomes4.3.2 Results

Sustainability analysis

In terms of program structure, it is mainly in non-business aligned engagements that the presence of an intermediary proves to make a difference. Conversely, in business-aligned engagements, program structure is not found to make a significant difference to outcomes. Scale-Up has supported SGBs across various sectors, such as Saral Designs and Microspin Machine Works, and it adopts a pan-India approach.

Key Parameters for a sustainable outcome

Impact analysis

Impact typically refers to the long-term changes experienced by actors and stakeholders and in the ecosystem that are directly attributable to the engagements. An engagement between a firm and a SGB that enables the SGB to leverage access to the firm's body of knowledge and institutional memory is undoubtedly a hugely beneficial interaction for the SGBs involved. DBS provided funding support to the social entrepreneurs at TISS's Incubation Center and TISS provided the relevant non-funding support (see the relevant case study in Chapter 6).

5 Recommendations for corporates seeking to kick-start an engagement

  • Key learning
  • Ready reckoner guide for corporates Based on the detailed assessment of different
  • Nature of focus
  • Expected social
  • What is the
    • Conclusion

The same core beliefs and expertise that define a company's culture must be reflected in its efforts to engage with SGBs and intermediaries. Determining the company's motivation to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is of fundamental importance: at the broadest level, it will be either business or non-business aligned. Once the company's motivation is broadly determined and the above questions are answered, the next decision is to identify the appropriate attributes of the collaboration model.

6 Detailed case studies

BASF: Powering clean water for communities

Performance assessment • Monthly evaluation of checks and audits carried out on water quality, maintenance and service Criteria for success • Sequential impact on community access to clean water, which is sufficient to improve. The engagement serves as a proof of concept for alternative ways of giving SGBs access to CSR funds. This CSR-oriented model leverages BASF's strengths – particularly its ability to provide technological support and access to suitable local communities – to improve community well-being.

Airbus: Helping start-ups have a successful flight 15

Adopting a hybrid approach means that interactions with start-ups are more efficient and, at the same time, there is more scope for internal employees to acquire entrepreneurial traits. Additionally, exposure to the latest ideas, technologies and work cultures in the aerospace and non-aerospace sectors enriches the learning for both Airbus employees and participating start-ups. The Airbus BizLab program provides these start-ups with an understanding of the intricacies of the aerospace sector and the demands of large aerospace corporations.


Criteria for success • The successful creation of relevant technology-based product or service solutions and the identification of new customers in the aerospace and aviation sectors. Provision of support to SBLs seeking to promote products in the aviation sector through market access and business opportunities. SBLs: Since the SBLs are either early-stage start-ups or operating in the non-aeronautical domain, the benefits of participating in this engagement are significant in terms of increasing their learning.

Marico Innovation Foundation: Sustaining the spark of innovative entrepreneurs

In the future: Saral Designs will receive further support from the Scale-Up Program to ensure that the scale-up runs smoothly. SGBs benefit from the Scale-Up Program's tailored approach to identify and address knowledge gaps. The SGB's participation in the Scale-Up program does not emphasize funding support or equity dilution.

Federal Bank: One-stop shop for support

Program Structure and Chain of Impact The Launchpad platform consists of retail outlets within Federal Bank premises that function as one-stop shops, offering a variety of paid services to start-ups. Fulfilling the corporate vision: Federal Bank is fulfilling its purpose of enhancing the startup ecosystem and driving innovation across a range of diverse industries. Launchpad Centers are outlets located on Federal Bank premises that act as one-stop shops, offering start-ups and entrepreneurs a variety of services (for a fee, depending on the nature of the service).

Bosch: Boosting scaling-up for innovative tech start-ups

The program's focus is on providing engineering expertise and technology-driven support designed to accelerate SGB scaling. The collaboration model adopted by Bosch emphasizes the need to balance the company's ability to support expansion with SGB's agility. Accordingly, the model must emphasize providing support for the non-technical aspects of scale-up.

Tata Elxsi: Helping the ecosystem gear up

Tata Elxsi Group


Tata Elxsi: Ability to leverage in-house expertise to alleviate the lack of entrepreneurial ideas in product platform design and related solutions in the Indian ecosystem. SGBs benefit from Tata Elxsi's niche expertise and experience in the technology space for product and service design. Access to mentors originating either internally (Tata Elxsi employees) or externally (serial entrepreneurs, domain and technical experts, consultants).

Mahindra Finance: Unearthing value by supporting agribusinesses

The following chart outlines the roles of Mahindra Finance and the SGB (Flybird), the nature of the support provided and the intended objectives of the engagement. Ltd (active in CSR and sustainability), in line with Mahindra Finance's CSR and corporate vision, provided input for structuring the engagement model. Program structure and impact chain The following table contains information on Mahindra Finance's CSR commitment that was.

Pfizer: Supporting innovation and IP creation in the pharmaceutical sector

In this engagement model, the respective strengths of industry (industry expertise, resources and network) and academia can be leveraged to support innovators and start-ups and drive innovation in biotechnology and healthcare. In the fields of biotechnology and healthcare, both of which are highly regulated, turning ideas into IP and viable business opportunities is inherently effort and cost intensive. In this example, after identifying the need to improve the generation of intellectual property in the biotechnology and healthcare sectors, the partnership between companies and incubators developed a collaborative program aimed at providing IP-related support.

DBS: Helping budding social entrepreneurs bloom

In addition, engagements between companies and academic institutions to support the scale-up of social ventures have certain unique features that have also been detailed. DBS has a global CSR policy to leverage internal expertise and resources to support social ventures worldwide. Social ventures are provided with financial and non-financial support in a way that benefits all stakeholders.

IBM India: Big Blue helps start-ups navigating the chaotic waters of entrepreneurship

IBM's partnership with ICICI Bank aimed to attract and then support entrepreneurs operating in the banking application space. Program structure and chain of impact for IBM's involvement in accelerators (eg with RTBI for a hackathon). These types of platforms provide start-ups with excellent opportunities for the program structure and chain of impact for IBM's partnership with ICICI Bank to create a .

Bajaj Electricals: Growing together – vendors, start-ups and communities

Bajaj Electricals' efforts to improve component suppliers' business operations and practices result in mutual benefits and a positive impact on the bottom line. Through its supplier development efforts, Bajaj Electricals becomes a key stakeholder in the growth and increased profitability of the suppliers from which it purchases. ONergy Solar secured funding and non-funding support from Bajaj Electricals and received mentorship from IIM-A CIIE, which helped it scale up faster than expected.

Microsoft: Opening new windows of opportunity

Corporate Microsoft Accelerator strives to partner with potentially disruptive technology start-ups to build strategic partnerships for the future. Startups have gained access to critical resources that have enabled them to build their capacity to scale. Startups have had access to critical resources to build their capacity to scale.



  • The E3C model of assessment used for each case study
  • Tools used for analysis
  • Framework for analysis
  • Input and result variables for analysis

However, depending on the evaluation context, the tool can be a great asset to those undertaking a holistic evaluation process. In this study, QCA has helped to identify the causal relationships that emerge in the detailed case studies. Results Layer: This mainly involves understanding the potential to influence the performance of the SGB, the levels of satisfaction achieved by each stakeholder and how these aspects contributed to the success or failure of engagements in terms of outputs, outcomes, sustainability and impact.

Figure 15. E3C model of assessment
Figure 15. E3C model of assessment




Figure 1. The need for innovation – the driver  for engagement with SGBs
Figure  2. Factors influencing the
Figure 5. The process for shortlisting corporate–SGB and corporate–intermediary examples
Figure 7. Share of models focused on  achieving social impacts (total of 17  engagements)


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