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Creating Win-win Innovation Partnerships

In this issue, we caught up with Ms Emmi Kaipio, Open Innovation Officer, Veolia City Modelling Center Singapore, to find out why forming partnerships with local start-ups is an important part of the global waste, water and energy solutions provider’s global innovation strategy.

Creating Win-win Innovation Partnerships

Why is Veolia keen to form partnerships with innovative players and start-ups in the cleantech industry?

Today’s competitive business landscape demands constant innovation. We realised that we could no longer afford to work in a vacuum if we were to effectively meet the ever-changing environmental needs of various industries. So, we developed a plan to foster strategic partnerships with external innovators. In 2010, we launched the global Veolia Innovation Accelerator (VIA) programme to identify, develop and collaborate with innovative cleantech start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs from all over the world who we feel would add value to our business and help us remain competitive.

How does the VIA work?

First, start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs interested to work with us send us their proposals through our online platform. Then, we assess the potential, value and viability of these proposals. Finally, we match selected start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs with relevant Veolia business unit managers, experts and researchers.

How has the VIA helped Veolia and its partner companies remain competitive?

Since 2010, the VIA has reviewed more than 2,000 proposals from innovative cleantech start-ups globally. Some of these businesses have played a key part in helping us design, develop and deploy innovative cleantech and environmental solutions in different markets.

For innovators, the VIA is a great way to build business networks and access new markets with support from global industry leaders. In a way, the programme helps us and our partners stay on top of both the local and global cleantech industry.

How is Open Inovasi different from Veolia’s Open Inovasi initiative? What does this initiative aim to achieve?

Launched in January this year, Open Inovasi is a regional open innovation platform for reaching Singapore innovators across different industries. With support from SPRING Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore1) and in collaboration with French multinationals – including Bouygues Construction, automotive company PSA Group, and Thales Group – a global technology leader in the defence, security, aerospace and transportation markets – the initiative aims to find new solutions for future cities.

It enables us to bring together large industrial groups from different sectors to increase the potential for discovering more disruptive innovations in Singapore. The consortium also aims to build a supportive environment for Singapore startups and SMEs to test and pilot their sustainable solutions in real-life local environments.

In the future, we see this initiative further boosting our innovation capacity by adding value and differentiation to our existing range of products and services, and allowing us to create solutions that effectively meet the future environmental challenges of Singapore and its businesses.


1SPRING Singapore merged with IE Singapore to form Enterprise Singapore on 1 April 2018.

Last Modified Date: 05 Oct 2018