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In the past, it is not only a multitude of large listed enterprises that have been forced to collaborate with startups to accelerate their digitalization and develop new business models, SMEs have also benefited from partnerships with young entrepreneurs. According to a study by Germany’s digital association Bitkom , however, this trend appears to be on the decline. 27% of German companies with 20+ employees now consider startups a threat to their own market position. Just a year ago, this figure stood at 18%.

67% of the respondents stated that they do not collaborate with startups. When it comes to their digitalization, 63% of the companies surveyed cooperate with IT specialists and 37% with established companies from their own or a non-digital sector. This is, however, not just due to a growing fear of potential competition: 73% of the survey participants complained of a lack of contacts, 59% do not believe partnerships bring any added value, and 53% simply do not have the time to build up a partnership.