What happens when startups and corporations join forces?

Published 18 April 2017
​Stora Enso is looking for startups bringing disruptive innovations in digitalisation, IoT, big data, analytics, supply chain, AI, VR or robotics that can help to speed up our transformation as the world-leading renewable materials company.

Stora Enso has recently announced the Accelerator Program Digital Solutions, in partnership with Vertical accelerator and Aalto University Developing Entrepreneurship (Aalto ENT).

As part of the program, six startups will be selected to participate in the accelerator program at Vertical, take part in an executive education program at Aalto ENT and work side-by-side with Stora Enso. Furthermore, the program incorporates executive training aimed at building strategic competencies for Stora Enso participants.

“In Stora Enso’s transformation, digitalisation will highly impact our business going forward – defining and shaping customer demand, new business opportunities, operational models and our portfolio of services and products. By partnering with startups, we can pick up the pace and benefit the company as well as startups,” says Markus Mannström, Chief Technology Officer at Stora Enso. “On a broader scale, this is an opportunity to ignite the potential of renewable materials.”

Malin Bendz, Executive Vice President for Human Resources at Stora Enso, has great expectations in the program to challenge conventional wisdom and focus on possibilities. “Accelerator programs are becoming more common for corporations as a way of connecting with startups to support business development. The corporations gain insight and competence in critical areas, learn more about upcoming technologies and see how startups work with innovation,” she adds. “Overall, the program takes collaboration to a new level for all the participants.”

The focus areas for the Accelerator Program Digital Solutions are smart factories, supply chain track and trace, and customer experience – or any other compelling idea with a clear connection to the renewable materials industry.

Hannu Korhonen, SVP Strategy, adds: “While both the startup and corporation will have their own objectives, goals will be aligned. For the startups, creating a potentially long-term development partner and learning how large companies work in the corporate environment are advantages. The corporation gains out-of-the-box thinking in many aspects, as well as speed.”

“In my opinion, nothing like this has ever been done before”, states Fabian Sepulveda, D.Sc., Senior Advisor at Aalto ENT. “This is also an incredible opportunity for the startups, as they get the chance to work with a world-class corporation that could become a potential customer or future partner.”

Paolo Borella, CEO for Vertical, concurs: “The startups can tap into Stora Enso's executive competence, as well as network, to improve their offering and maximise commercial opportunities."

If you are a startup interested in partnering with Stora Enso, go to:

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