Intrapreneurship can bring new energy to mindset of big businesses

29 May 2017 Consultancy.uk

The way big businesses discover and implement innovation is shifting, with the launch of venture teams, accelerator panels and internal ‘incubators’ bringing a start-up mentality to corporate organisations. Big businesses are embracing this concept of ‘intrapreneurship’, an entrepreneurial approach where teams and individuals are driving new venture ideas from within the organisation, according to Peter Sayburn from Market Gravity, a UK-based design consultancy.

Intrapreneurship, or corporate entrepreneurship, has been adopted by some of the world’s most successful companies, such as 3M, GE, Intel and Xerox, for several years. It is a great approach to maintain relevance and keep the company agile, customer-centred and innovative. Only recently has this concept become widespread and openly embraced.

Intrapreneurship can be defined as an entrepreneurial activity within a large, established business, usually to address a new market opportunity or develop a new way of doing things, outside the normal scope of activities. Intrapreneurship is also a change of mindset – thinking like an entrepreneur: seeing new opportunities, being completely customer-driven, making the most of limited resources, and above all moving quickly.

More and more people are becoming intrapreneurs

Within many big businesses there are talented people with brilliant new ideas. The challenge is working out how to realise these opportunities and bring these ideas to life. Large companies have become very effective at doing one thing well and often struggle to change direction or embrace something new. This is where intrapreneurship comes in.

Growing number of intrapreneurs

With the development of new digital technology and business models, more and more people are becoming intrapreneurs. Employees tend to move around more often, so intrapreneurs are adept at landing in a company, making an impact immediately, delivering one or two big initiatives and then moving on to another company.

Companies are also more willing to collaborate and work in partnership than they used to, recognising that no one company can do everything itself. Organisations often look to acquire start-ups and SMEs to enhance their offering, but you can’t rely on acquisition alone for business growth. Acquisitions can be a great way to bring in new complementary capabilities and technology and can refresh the entrepreneurial spirit and culture within established companies – so a combination of intrapreneurship and acquisition can work well.

BT is a great example of a company that has diversified with the development of new ventures like BTVision and BTSport, which have transformed BT from a telephone company to Digital Media business. Aegon, a leading insurance and investments company, has applied intrapreneurship to develop a new consumer business Retiready – with the single-minded focus to get the UK ready for retirement. British Gas established a Connected Homes division in 2012 to access new markets and develop totally new ways of working. It still had strong links to the parent company, but offered the speed and innovation typically seen in much smaller companies.

Intrapreneurial projects can bring new energy  and direction to a business

Speed is key when it comes to intrapreneurship. These dedicated, purposeful teams can cut through the corporate layers that can often slow big companies down. There are other benefits to businesses, such as the ability to explore and experiment in new market areas before making a big financial commitment, and the impact on the wider workforce – intrapreneurial projects bring new energy and direction to a business.

We are witnessing an increase in the launch of venture teams, or internal ideas incubators, as well as in investment in research and prototype development. It’s essential for businesses to work collaboratively with experts in this field, listen to creative new ideas from all levels of the company and encourage a culture of change and innovation to facilitate commercial growth.

Peter Sayburn is co-founder and CEO of Market Gravity, which has offices in London, Edinburgh and New York.

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High employment drives deals to access fresh talent

09 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

The UK continues to have a historically low unemployment rate, resulting in a tightening employment market and demand for recruitment services. The industry topped £12.3 billion last year, while valuations continued to rachet up. There were were 32 firm acquisitions in the recruitment services space last year, up significantly on the previous five-year average.

Labour markets globally are tightening, particularly in developed economies. At the same time, access to top talent is becoming increasingly difficult to source, as demand for that talent continues to rise. Higher demand has been one of the key drivers for acquisitions in the space. New analysis of the recruitment M&A market, from consultancy firm BDO, looks at current trends and future projections for activity in the segment.

The UK employment rate has grown considerably over the past decade, with the number of NEET decreasing, more women joining the workforce, and older people continuing to work, among other trends. Participation rates hit more than 75% in 2018, up from around 73% in 2014. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% last year, the lowest level in more than 40 years.

UK Recruitment Market

 

The recruitment industry has enjoyed strong growth over the same period, with revenues increasing from around £8 billion in 2014 to £12.3 billion last year. However, the growth rate for the industry is expected to stall for the coming years – the firm is projecting annual growth of 0.1% to 2024. The stall reflects deep seated uncertainties stemming from the future of the UK, from migration to internal employment in an increasingly uncertain future.

According to the firm’s analysis of market trends for UK listed FTSE recruitment companies, their performance over 2018 outperformed the wider FTSE market by a significant market during some months – the end-of-year uncertainty hit both recruitment and non-recruitment firms with relatively equal strength. The drop partly reflects market sentiment about the future of the UK.

FTSE Listed Recruitment Firms Average EV/EBITDA Multiple

 

The study also considered the multiples growth, average EV/EBITDA multiples, over the past year – which has shown considerable ups and downs. The yearly average multiple of 10.4x was above that of 2017’s 9.9x – although a 26% drop at the end of the year was significant. The drop was tied to the relative volatility in macroeconomic conditions affecting the globe, though another major contributing factor has been Brexit and political instability.

Global M&A

The global recruitment M&A market was particularly active in the UK, with 32 deals last year – a five-year high, and well above the 17 recorded for second-place US. Deal activity in the UK was focused on expertise and capacity in industrial and technical sectors, reflecting skills shortages in those segments. The US was largely focused on healthcare-related M&A, representing 25% of their market.

Overall, of the 92 deals in 2018 (a 21% drop on 2017) generalist firms were the most in demand, at 25% of the total, followed by education at 14% and engineering & construction at 13%. Software saw relatively low demand, at 2%.Investment into the UK by country

In terms of investments made into the UK, domestic investment continues to be the most dominant, accounting for 24 deals. Japan made three deals, although Brexit is seeing the country become increasingly nervous about investment. The US accounted for two deals. The longer-term trend shows that domestic investment is up on 2017, hitting the highest level in five years, while the US has reduced its M&A investment into the UK.

Commenting on the results, the firm noted, “The latest report shows the recruitment sector remains strong and continued to grow through 2018 despite facing many challenges. Notwithstanding the personalised nature of these services, the market continues to evolve, seeing traditional recruitment firms utilising available technology along with new entrants showcasing innovative platforms.”

Related: High UK employment masks troubled economy.