Chemicals firm BASF has created a center for innovation and internal co-creation at the company's Brazilian headquarters in São Paulo.
The space, dubbed Agro Digital, aims to augment the company's own capabilities with "the agility and innovative proposals of startups" to continue to advance in the field of digitalization.
The idea is that employee ideas will be accelerated to be implemented startup-style. "We want to implement the startup mindset within the company," said Almir Araújo, leader of the Agro Digital project.
A partnership with Brazilian startup accelerator ACE is also part of the initiative and is expected to offer tools, methodologies and an agenda of lectures, workshops and mentoring for employees who are willing to undertake innovative projects.
According to BASF, two solutions submitted by employees have already been selected for acceleration.
On a global basis, the German company is also looking for start-ups for joint projects. The BASF 4.0 project is seeking ventures focused on the areas of Human Resources, Performance Materials, Sales and Smart Surface.
"With the 'digital challenges' we can use the valuable start-up expertise for concrete digitization projects," said Thomas Paschkowski, Digital Technology Scout in the BASF 4.0 project at BASF.
"In doing so, we are meeting start-ups at eye level and creating lucrative business opportunities for both sides. We are looking for finished products and solutions which can be quickly purchased and implemented in an accelerated process."
After successful application, the teams will work on three- to six-month pilot projects and receive budgets of up to €100,000. The best solutions are then rolled out globally.
Start-ups can apply online for the global program until January 15.