Australian small start-ups should not be afraid to seek collaborations with big business and international partners to fully realise their potential.
At our medical technology business, we put a collaborative nature at the forefront of everything we do - both internally and in our attempts to develop partnerships around the world.
Participation in discussion and problem solving is promoted by management in an environment where anyone can ask questions and suggest solutions without feeling judged by others in the room.
Our journey from Singapore start-up to an Australian-listed company with global partnerships provides lessons for other emerging businesses.
Collaboration for us includes working directly with companies or finding compatible uses for their products and technologies.
Our goal is to provide maximum value to patients, surgeons and hospital systems through our 3D printed bone healing implants, but we recognise we can't do that alone.
So, what is the key to a successful collaboration when you're a relatively small fish in a big pond?
- Mutual-benefit - collaborating with a bigger company doesn't mean rolling over and allowing yourself to be gobbled up. The partnership should deliver value to both parties, regardless of their individual size and history.
- Enhanced delivery - businesses rarely have all the answers and solutions. One business or organisation may hold one piece of the puzzle, while another has a matching piece. Together they can fill gaps and create better products or services.
The important thing for smaller companies is to back themselves and to be prepared to talk to bigger companies about collaborating.
For us that means actively seek opportunities to work with - and alongside - world-leading companies, complementing their products and specialist equipment with our technology.
Our company's collaborative approach doesn't stop at big business - it extends to working with research institutes and universities.
Sharing collective knowledge and skills allows us to continue to develop world-class medical products that improve the lives of thousands around the world.
Many start-up teams shy away from collaboration with other companies.
Some feel like they have to go it alone to be successful on their own terms or they fear takeover.
But establishing a strong culture of collaboration internally and externally can led to continued growth and success.
Carl Runde is chief financial officer of Osteopore.