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Five Tips for Launching Spinoffs

How Maya Design grows by spinning off businesses

Seek partnerships
Maya often works with government agencies in the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce. These collaborations produce intellectual property that is ripe for commercialization, potentially as new ventures for Maya.

Motivate employees to participate
Maya licenses intellectual property to its spinoffs. The employees who invested the most time and effort developing the ideas are given a share of the licensing fees.

Develop leaders
Entrepreneurs recruited from outside to run spinoffs typically first work inside Maya for several years, learning the existing business as they develop the new one. Employees who aspire to be entrepreneurs are given opportunities that test and stretch them.

Provide support
Maya Group handles facilities, IT support, accounting, and legal services for the spinoffs. This gives even the newest spinoffs the operational muscle of much larger companies.

Coordinate strategy and resources
Maya formed a council -- consisting of the leaders of the parent company and those of its spinoffs -- that acts as a sounding board for its members. The council flags potential conflicts early and facilitates brainstorming.

Last updated: Jul 1, 2010

LEIGH BUCHANAN | Staff Writer | Editor-at-large, Inc. Magazine

Leigh Buchanan is an editor-at-large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture.

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