Theme
Capacity Development

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"During the five-year period 2012-2017 we ran the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), we learned many lessons that we hope other accelerators can benefit from to increase their own effectiveness. This paper describes that learning journey through our top ten lessons."

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"The recent emergence of business accelerators around the world has positioned them as a key player in many regional innovation ecosystems. However, significant confusion exists among academics, industry practitioners and policy-makers about what these organizations are. The confusion stems from their association with incubators and from a lack of differentiation among accelerators. As a result of such lack of clear conceptualization academic and other stakeholders risk drawing false conclusions regarding how these organizations fit into different aspects of the regional innovation ecosystem. In this study we use archival and interview data from the Australian context to differentiate accelerators. While we find accelerators that fit the emerging definition of the concept, we also find several that stretch the definition and meaning of 'accelerator'."

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"The authors conduct a randomized experiment among women in urban Sri Lanka to measure the impact of the most commonly used business training course in developing countries, the Start-and-Improve Your Business program. They work with two representative groups of women: a random sample of women operating subsistence enterprises and a random sample of women who are out of the labor force but interested in starting a business. They track the impacts of two treatments -- training only and training plus a cash grant -- over two years with four follow-up surveys and find that the short and medium-term impacts differ."

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"Business training is a widely used development tool, yet little is known about its impact. We study the effects of such a business training program held in Central America. To deal with endogenous selection into the training program, we use a regression discontinuity design, exploiting the fact that a fixed number of applicants are taken into the training program based on a pre-training score. Business training significantly increases the probability that an applicant to the workshop starts a business or expands an existing business. Results also suggest gender heterogeneity as well as the presence of financial constraints."

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"This publication identifies ways to catalyse finance for climate technology incubators and accelerators in developing countries. It aims to inform the Green Climate Fund as it develops a request for proposals on climate technology incubators and accelerators. It also aims to inform other financiers and policymakers on opportunities for catalysing financing in this area. It is based on the outputs of a thematic dialogue on incubators and accelerators held in March 2018. It also draws upon an extensive literature review undertaken by these bodies."

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"A professor at Brazil’s prestigious Federal University of Viçosa saw a need on campus for an incubator to support technologically-oriented businesses, including agribusinesses. This resulted in the CENTEV Technology Incubator, which is partially funded by the university but which also receives state and private grants. Its function is to nurture entrepreneurs to develop viable technology based businesses by providing them with management assistance and augmenting their technical capabilities with expert academic advice. The incubator’s 24 graduates are still in business, with average revenues of $2.5 million a year."

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"Business incubators (BI) have been established worldwide as tools for company creation and small businesses support. BIs claim to help their tenants by providing them with the optimal conditions for increasing early stage survival and long-term performance. Practitioners and researchers agree that business support is a crucial feature of incubating businesses. Yet this is seldom researched. In this study we theoretically relate business support to help in solving problems and further investigate to what extent business incubators support their tenants overcome their developmental problems. Results show that tenants do not experience many problems and when they do business support is not necessarily sought. Furthermore, our data suggests that business support is not preferentially sought within incubator environments. When this happens, support provided by the BI does not contribute to problem solving. Finally, we discuss the impact of the type of BI on helping their tenants."

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"A large share of the poor in developing countries run small enterprises, often earning low incomes. This paper explores whether the poor performance of businesses can be explained by a lack of basic business skills. We randomized the offer of a free, 48-hour business skills course to female entrepreneurs in rural Mexico. We find that those assigned to treatment earn higher profits, have larger revenues, serve a greater number of clients, are more likely to use formal accounting techniques, and more likely to be registered with the government. Indirect treatment effects on those entrepreneurs randomized out of the program, yet living in treatment villages, are economically meaningful, yet imprecisely measured. We present a simple model of experience and learning that helps interpret our results, and consistent with the theoretical predictions, we find that "low-quality" entrepreneurs are the most likely to quit their business post-treatment, and that the positive impacts of the treatment are increasing in entrepreneurial quality."

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"Business support interventions in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) direct a large amount of resources to SMEs, with the assumption that institutional constraints impede small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from generating profits and employment at the firm level, which in turn is thought to impede economic growth and poverty reduction. Yet despite this abundance of resources, very little is known about the impact of such interventions. To address this gap, this systematic review analyses evaluations of SME support services in LMICs to help inform policy debates pertaining to SMEs and business support services. This review examines the available evidence on the effects of SME support services in LMICs on firm-level performance indicators (such as revenues, profits, and productivity), employment generation, and labour productivity."

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"According to our findings, the number of accelerators serving impact enterpriseshas grown rapidly over the last five years (over 70 percent of the accelerators surveyed were founded in 2008 or later). Despite this strong growth, there is only lim-ited research and data-driven analysis of accelerators’ role in the impact invesment ecosystem. This report aims to generate a greater understanding of accelera-tors in that sector and is part of a broader strategy to analyze, evaluate, benchmark,and strengthen accelerators. It is not intended to be a comprehensive evaluation ofimpact accelerators but an initial assessment of the landscape of these organizations."

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