Young Upstarts

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If MNCs are Crocodiles, SMEs can be Egyptian Plovers…

Egyptian plover in the mouth of a crocodile. Image from Warren Photographic.

If big multinational companies (MNCs) are the crocodiles of your industry, instead of fighting with them head on why don’t you become an Egyptian plover?

This tiny bird lives in a symbiotic relationship with the crocodile, preying on the parasites that feed on and can be potentially harmful to the reptile.  In fact, the crocodile openly invites the plover to hunt on its body, even opening its jaws wide apart to allow the bird to hunt safely within.  The plover gets a ready supply of food and protection to boot – who would dare hunt the plover in the presence of a crocodile? 

Similarly, in the right environment – and the right partners – a small business can thrive under the auspices of larger, more established company.  In a recent Business Times article, “MNCs now turn to SMEs for ideas”, executive director of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) Philip Overmyer commented that MNCs that used to outsource manufacturing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now looking to them for new products and ideas.

He said that “SMEs run the risk of people stealing their new technology and they have little capital to spend on defending their legal rights”, and can benefit from MNCs who “have the resources needed to defend intellectual property from copycats”.  “By licensing new technology to MNCs, SMEs can ensure a steady flow of income which they can then reinvest to come up with new products,” Mr. Overmyers had commented in the article.

So if you’re struggling to scale your business as a small bird struggling in an unforgiving barren environment, perhaps you can find a crocodile to back you up.

Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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  • Rafael Kiebooms

    Hi there,
    I am interested in more literature about this topic.
    Can you please provide some references or sources where I can find more about this?
    Any authors that write about this in academic journals?
    thanks in advance,