Why should every startup join the Accenture Innovation Awards Program? Of course: to win. But even if you don’t win, there are a lot of opportunities to learn from and grow as a business during the year-round Innovation Awards Program. Bas Zeper – founder of startup PlasmaCure and past winner of the Blue Tulip of Health & Wellbeing in 2016 – talks about their biggest advantages during and after winning the Awards.
We work together with large media companies that are knowledgeable in the field of innovation, like RTL Z, Bright, and Emerce. Participants get the opportunity to present their innovative solution to a wider audience. Every week, innovative concepts are brought to the attention by means of interviews.
“Because of the media attention, suddenly you are on the shortlist of known and interesting startups,” says Zeper. “The impact was bigger than we thought: our concept really seemed to matter. Before the Awards, we were very careful with the media – it was still too soon. Now it has a big positive outcome. We are on the radar and investors appreciate this too.”
During the year-round program, startups are involved in several activities and events where connections are established between like-minded partners, peers, and investors. A team of Innovation Scouts is specifically looking for innovative concepts that fit the mission of our clients and partners. During events like the Scale Up Academy and the Innovation Summit, participants get access to a broad network.
“The Innovation Awards opened up a lot of connections for us,” Zeper explains. “For example, I spoke with Erik Gerritsen – who was in the jury that year and is the secretary general of the Ministry of Health. He gave me a great quote to promote our innovation with, which I still use. He is an expert in the field so a quote from him can mean a lot.”
Feedback from the jury
Rome was not built in a day, and neither is an innovative concept. Each innovation theme has a jury consisting of 10 to 15 experienced people that want to help accelerate innovation. They do this by critically assessing applications and providing feedback on pitches.
“We were positively surprised about the quality of the Innovation Awards, in particular about the expertise of the jury members. It increases the feeling your idea really matters,” according to Zeper. “Through the different rounds of the Innovation Awards, you are forced to really detect the core of your innovation.”
WINNING = value
Winning does not only mean that you win an award, there is also a prize package for the winners of the Innovation Awards. Within each theme, the winner will receive the Blue Tulip as a sign of innovativeness and credit for quality and support from consultants and partners in critical areas like development of business plans, development of the right tools and insight into the market. Furthermore, the social voting campaign offers the opportunity to gain visibility and to pitch at the Innovation Summit.
“We chose specifically for the support by Accenture. We wanted to see how you could help us with a business case and investor deck. We had several discussions with consultants which resulted in a great case which gave us insights about our future,” says Zeper. “The most insight we retained was regarding our finances, which also helps while attracting investors.”
After all, winning turns out not to be the most important goal while joining the Accenture Innovation Awards. “Even if you don’t win, there is a lot to learn,” says Zeper. “You have to take the opportunity and really take it serious.”
Got interested? Register now and join the Accenture Innovation Awards 2017!