The technology ideas of small start-up companies are often attractive to large multi-nationals. Companies such as Google and Apple having made taking over such companies to exploit their innovative ideas part of their business model. Another approach is incubators or accelerators such as the UK government backed Catapult centres or the European Space Agency's business incubator centre in which SMEs can gain access to specialist business support and favourable rates.
However, BMW are trialling a new approach in which they are setting up their own "Innovation Lab" accelerator in which they are providing support to a number of start-ups to develop their ideas in the car finance sector. While, on the face of it, this may appear to be altruistic, BMW will surely be benefiting from this, e.g. through first access to new innovations.
Launched by the financial services arm of BMW, the Innovation Lab will give five start-ups the chance to develop their ideas, receive mentoring from senior executives, free office space at its Farnborough HQ, and get support to “drive innovation” in the car finance space over a 10 week period.