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Corporate Entrepreneurship: How to Foster Innovation in a Growing Company

As companies grow and mature, they often face challenges in maintaining their competitive edge. New competitors enter the market, customer demands change, and technologies evolve. To stay ahead of the curve, companies must foster a culture of corporate entrepreneurship – the process of creating new business ventures within an existing organization.

Corporate entrepreneurship is critical for companies to remain innovative, agile, and responsive to changing market conditions. Here are some strategies to foster corporate entrepreneurship in a growing company:

1. Build a Culture of Innovation

To foster corporate entrepreneurship, it is essential to create a culture of innovation. This means encouraging employees to take risks, experiment with new ideas, and think outside the box. Leaders should also provide the necessary resources and support for employees to pursue their ideas.

One way to build a culture of innovation is to implement an innovation framework, such as the Lean Startup or Design Thinking. These frameworks help companies prioritize and validate new ideas, leading to more successful innovation.

2. Encourage Employee Entrepreneurship

Corporate entrepreneurship doesn't have to come solely from the top. Encouraging employees to be entrepreneurs within the company can lead to new ideas and innovation. This could involve allowing employees to pursue side projects, participate in innovation challenges, or provide incentives for intrapreneurship.

For example, Google's "20% time" policy allows employees to spend 20% of their workweek on side projects that align with Google's goals. This has led to the creation of some of Google's most successful products, such as Gmail and Google News.

3. Invest in Research and Development

Investing in research and development is critical for corporate entrepreneurship. Companies should allocate resources towards discovering new technologies, developing new products, and improving existing products. This requires a long-term view, as the benefits of research and development may not be seen for several years.

For example, IBM invests heavily in research and development, spending over $5 billion annually. This has led to the creation of new products and technologies, such as Watson, the AI-powered supercomputer.

4. Foster Collaboration and Partnerships

Collaboration and partnerships are essential for corporate entrepreneurship. Companies should seek out partnerships with other organizations, both within and outside their industry, to exchange ideas and develop new products and services.

For example, Procter & Gamble has established an open innovation program, which allows external partners to collaborate on product development. This has led to the creation of new products, such as the Tide Pods laundry detergent.

5. Create a Venture Fund or Incubator

Creating a venture fund or incubator is another way to foster corporate entrepreneurship. This involves providing funding, resources, and support for new business ventures within the company. This not only helps drive innovation but also provides a source of future growth for the company.

For example, Intel has established an investment arm, Intel Capital, which invests in startups that align with Intel's strategic objectives. This has helped Intel stay on the cutting edge of technology and drive innovation within the company.


Fostering corporate entrepreneurship is critical for companies to remain innovative and competitive in a rapidly changing business environment. By building a culture of innovation, encouraging employee entrepreneurship, investing in research and development, fostering collaboration and partnerships, and creating a venture fund or incubator, companies can unlock the full potential of their employees and stay ahead of the curve.

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