"Whether differences among accelerators explain differences in the performance of member ventures is an important and underexplored question. Conversely, are the effects of accelerators so isomorphic, because they copy each other, that ventures from different accelerators report little performance differences? We use variance decomposition analysis to test whether variations in characteristics of accelerators explain performance differences in the ventures that belong to them. Using a sample of 1,442 ventures from 117 accelerator programs across 22 countries, we find that 11.13–14.18% variance of venture performance can be attributed to accelerator membership. Accelerator membership also accounted for 3.00, 5.15, and 16.65% in the variance for employee growth, employee costs, and revenue change, respectively. Our findings suggest that between accelerator differences can make a significant economic difference to venture performance."
"Many organizations around the world implement programs designed to encourage entrepreneurship, including grant prize awards, accelerator programs, incubators, etc. The goal of these programs is to supply entrepreneurs with early-stage support and visibility to help develop ideas and attract capital; but, if capital markets are efficient, good business ideas should find funding anyways. In this paper, I present evidence from the first global- scale, quasi-experimental study of whether entrepreneurship programs improve outcomes for start-up firms. I employ a regression discontinuity design to test whether winners of start- up program competitions perform better ex-post than losers, where the threshold rank for winning the competition provides exogenous variation in program participation. With 460 competitions across 113 countries and over 20,000 competing firms, I find that winning a competitions increases the probability of firm survival by 64%, the total amount of follow-on financing by $260,000 USD, and total employment by 47%, as well as other web-based metrics of firm success. Impacts are driven by medium-size prize competitions, and are precisely estimated both in countries where the costs of starting a business are low and where these costs are high. These results suggest that capital market frictions indeed prohibit start-up growth in many parts of the world."
"Most employment in low and middle income countries is in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, governments, non-governmental organizations and donors spend on targeted programs and broader policies to enhance employment creation in these firms. But despite these efforts, not much is known about which of these interventions are really effective. This systematic review synthesizes the existing evidence on the employment impact of these programs. The results show that the effects have so far been very modest."
"Do networks plentiful in ideas provide early stage startups with performance advantages? On the one hand, network positions that provide access to a multitude of ideas are thought to increase team performance. On the other hand, research on network formation argues that such positional advantages should be fleeting as entrepreneurs strategically compete over the most valuable network positions.
Beyond providing causal evidence for the durability of network based performance advantages, these findings provide micro-level support to the importance of knowledge spillovers within bootcamps, accelerators, and startup ecosystems more generally."
"Does growth training help entrepreneurs to scale-up new ventures? Our field experiment answering this question uses a sample of 181 startup founders from the population of Singapore-based entrepreneurs in 2017. The treatment consisted of classroom sessions conducted in workshop and lecture formats that provided content in growth-catalyst tools comprising of effective business model design, building effective venture management teams and leveraging personal networks, that help in entrepreneurial resource mobilization. Also, participants received individualized business coaching addressing their venture's issues and challenges in these domains. Our results show that entrepreneurs that received training in the three growth-catalyst tools achieved higher sales and employee growth for their ventures. In addition, entrepreneurs with higher educational attainment, higher prior work experience and higher growth goals benefited much more from the training intervention."
"This paper examines the sparse but rapidly growing literature on Business (and Seed) Accelerators. It summarises the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) that have been identified by academic authors, and matches each factor to operational and strategic activity within an Accelerator and to theoretical arguments for and against their importance. The aim is to match CSFs with literature from a wider range of disciplines, particularly psychology, sociology, economics, leadership and learning. These each help explain, justify, inform and give a theoretical context to the documented CSFs. The background models, once identified, are useful tools in the planning and analysis of Accelerators."
"In recent years, accelerator programs experienced substantial growth, becoming an important part of the entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. New ventures that want to participate in such programs must go through a multi-stage and highly competitive process, with only one out of ten applicants being successful. However, our knowledge with regards to the factors that drive the decisions of accelerator programs is limited, and empirical research on this topic is scarce. We hypothesise that the national culture of the founding team can play an important role as a proxy for the unobservable values and the behaviour of the venture founders, and we examine the impact of cultural diversity on the probability of being admitted into an accelerator program. The results show that diversity enhances the probability of being selected. This finding is robust across several specifications, and while accounting for the potential endogeneity of cultural diversity."
"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."
"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'."
"Historically, small enterprises have played an important role in technological innovation, often leading to the introduction of paradigm-shifting technologies and changes in the way we live. However, they face many challenges in maturing to a point where they survive and have positive social, environmental and economic impacts. They often have weak entrepreneurial support systems, fragmented linkages to climate technology markets and a lack of finance for entrepreneurial activities. These challenges are exacerbated in developing countries.
This paper identifies the challenges and opportunities for strengthening climate technology incubators and accelerators in developing countries."