In a world where innovation is the key to progress, the symbiotic relationship between startups and corporations has never been more crucial. John Keells X’s Innovate program is a crucial facilitator of this collaborative approach, offering a unique opportunity for startups to leverage corporate resources and market access. At the same time, corporations benefit from the fresh perspectives and agile solutions that startups bring to the table. This mutual exchange not only accelerates growth and efficiency while fostering a culture of co-creation, where the combined strengths of both entities drive superior outcomes and sustainable success. As the program returns this year, here’s what you can expect from JKX Innovate 2.0: a renewed commitment to bridging the gap between visionary startups and the established corporations of John Keells Holdings.
What is JKX Innovate?
JKX Innovate is a key pillar of John Keells X’s open innovation platform, designed to foster collaboration between startups or scale-ups and the corporations under John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH). As the largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange, JKH oversees a network of over 70 companies across 8 distinct industry sectors. This expansive corporate landscape offers unparalleled opportunities for both startups and scale-ups. To facilitate this collaboration, JKX Innovate offers applicants a supportive environment where they can interact and work alongside the 70+ companies of JKH while receiving the necessary support to adapt and refine their solutions.
Who is JKX Innovate 2.0 for? Practically any startup or scale-up
JKX Innovate 2.0 extends its invitation to startups and scale-ups that have developed a product or service with a solidified customer base. JKH, comprising over 70 companies, is a leader across various industries including consumer foods, IT and research, plantations, banking and finance, property, travel and tourism, transportation, and retail. The program’s primary objective is to facilitate meaningful connections between startups or scale-ups possessing solutions that can address specific challenges or create new value for any business unit within JKH.
What’s new with JKX Innovate 2.0 and how does it work?
In alignment with its goals, this year, JKX Innovate 2.0 introduces a new dimension to its program. It focuses on open innovation that encourages startups to delve deep into the operations of JKH’s various sectors and Business Units. Offering them complete freedom of operation, the program invites startups and scale-ups to think creatively and present their solutions to challenges faced by the business units of JKH, with no limitations on their approach.
With applications now open, the program will proceed through the following stages:
- Applications Stage (January 8th, 2024, to February 8th, 2024): Entrepreneurs interested in joining JKX Innovate 2.0 can submit their applications by visiting this link.
- Initial Shortlisting (By March 1st, 2024): Following the application period, an initial shortlisting process will be concluded by March 1st, 2024.
- Open Day (March 7th, 2024): Shortlisted startups and scale-ups will be invited to participate in the JKX Innovate Open Day, where they’ll engage with the leaders of various Business Units of the John Keells Group to explore potential partnership opportunities.
- Deepening Phase (From March 11th 2024 to April 21st 2024: Subsequently, the selected startups and scale-ups will enter a series of weekly design sprints, where they’ll receive feedback to refine their products or services to align with the needs of the respective Business Unit.
- Throughout this phase, the JKX team will facilitate access to comprehensive support, including access to mentors, data, APIs, sandbox environments, and other resources essential for these collaborative ventures to succeed.
- Official Partnership Initiation (April 30th 2024): The culmination of the program will be a ceremony where the startups and scale-ups, chosen by the Business Units of the John Keells Group, will officially mark the initiation of their business partnerships.
The benefits of JKX Innovate 2.0 for startups and scale-ups
Participating in JKX Innovate 2.0 provides startups and scale-ups with a myriad of invaluable benefits. Leveraging the domain knowledge and expertise of established industry leaders within JKH, participants gain a unique opportunity to refine their solutions and build their companies under expert guidance. Access to a dedicated test bed environment, complete with sandbox environments and APIs, highlights the conglomerate’s commitment to the initiative. This collaborative environment not only fosters innovation but also widens the commercial application of the proposed solutions.
Further, the companies selected for the program will enjoy the prospect of a paid partnership with a JKH BusinessUnit, marking a significant milestone in their journey towards growth and success. Beyond tangible benefits, the program also affords startups and scale-ups the chance to build credibility and showcase their capabilities as innovators, ultimately enhancing their standing in the broader business landscape. Thus, JKX Innovate 2.0 emerges as a catalyst for transformative partnerships, providing a nurturing ecosystem for participants to thrive, innovate, and realize their full potential.