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Capacity Development

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"Impact-oriented accelerators, a relatively new type of entrepreneur support program, are proliferating as practitioners, philanthropic funders, and investors work to unlock the full potential of entrepreneurship-led economic development. These accelerators aspire to support entrepreneurs, in large part by driving investment into promising ventures that work in marginalized sectors and regions around the world. Given the opportunity costs of the human, organizational, and financial resources required to run accelerators, it is important to determine whether they are having this intended impact. To assess the effect of acceleration on outside equity investment, we analyze application and follow-up data from a matched sample of 1647 entrepreneurs who applied to 77 impact-oriented accelerators. Our main finding is promising. In the first follow-up year, accelerator program participants attract significantly more outside equity than their rejected counterparts. Further analysis suggests that this positive equity bump is not due to cherry picking obviously promising ventures during selection processes. Moreover, the effect is tied to the number of accelerated months in the follow-up year. Despite these promising observations, we find that the equity investment effect does not extend to ventures working in emerging markets, or to those with women on their founding teams. Thus, the benefits of accelerators for entrepreneurship-led development are not yet reaching the places and people that have the hardest time attracting capital on their own. We conclude the paper by outlining the challenges associated with extending the positive effects of acceleration into entrepreneurial domains that are most challenging from an economic development perspective."

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"Theories of market failures and targeting motivate the promotion of entrepreneurship training programs and generate testable predictions regarding heterogeneous treatment effects from such programs. Using a large randomized evaluation in the United States, we find no strong or lasting effects on those most likely to face credit or human capital constraints, or labor market discrimination. We do find a short-run effect on business ownership for those unemployed at baseline, but this dissipates at longer horizons. Treatment effects on the full sample are also short-term and limited in scope: we do not find effects on business sales, earnings, or employees."

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"In an effort to offer greater insight into the practice and utility of capacity building support, this report explores common forms of capacity-building support used by impact investors, many of which resemble forms of nonfinancial support historically leveraged by conventional investors. While both impact and conventional investors use capacity-building support to strengthen the underlying businesses of investee companies, impact investors also use it to enhance and extend their impact. This report outlines various needs that impact investors address through capacity-building support, the ways they structure and deliver such support, and funding strategies used for deploying such support."

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"Investors and capacity development organizations have an opportunity to support women-led small and growing businesses, but they lack information. The purpose of this collaborative research project is to provide information to capacity developers and investors who want to better understand and address the barriers to growth for women-led small and growing businesses (WSGBs)."

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"The Incubator for Agribusiness and Agroindustry at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia (IAA-IPB) assists during three stages in the incubation process:early incubation (mentoring creative ideas, assisting in evaluation of market prospects, defining and outsourcing technology needs);incubation (helping production begin); and post-graduation (consulting on business plan revision and facilitating access to financial resources and a market network for new products and new technology implementation).

The utmost attention must be paid to incubatees during both the selection process and the incubation period, in order to ensure that they grow and are successful. Their success is the success of the incubator itself. One-to-one interaction with the incubatees is necessary to understand their problems and special needs and to help them find solutions. In addition, incubators are advised to maintain relations with successful graduates. They will continue to need assistance, they will be able to assist the incubator by being role models to new incubatees, and they represent a potential source of income for the incubator through profit sharing or equity investment."

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"The purpose of this paper is to address the role of accelerators as authentic learning-based entrepreneurial training programs. Accelerators facilitate the development and assessment of entrepreneurial competencies in nascent entrepreneurs through the process of creating a start-up venture."

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"This guide provides useful insights and recommendations for any entrepreneur support provider committed to connecting entrepreneurs to knowledge, networks, expertise, and capital along all stages of venture development. Accelerators, incubators, mentorship networks, and other intermediaries supporting entrepreneurs from idea to scale will find useful insights and recommendations to make their programs more accessible to women entrepreneurs."

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"The first part of this guide, “Barriers to Female Entrepreneurship in Latin America”, provides a foundation by outlining the challenges that women entrepreneurs face in Latin America and how their attitudes, motivations, and entrepreneurial setup and outcomes differ from men.

The second part of the guide, “Gender Lens Acceleration”, explores the differences between women and men entrepreneurs in acceleration, and the challenges women entrepreneurs face in accessing acceleration support. A gender lens is then applied to the acceleration process, covering program set-up and design, promotion, scouting and application, selection of participants, and program delivery. Each phase of the process is broken down into an overview of how gender manifests, and recommendations and best practices that accelerators can apply to make their programs’ processes gender inclusive. The guide ends with gender lens measurement in acceleration."

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"Globally, women's involvement in clean cooking value chains has been minimal. This is partly because of the multiple challenges faced by women that impede their capacity to effectively engage in the energy sector. To better discern gender-specific differences in involvement in the energy sector, the authors conducted a randomized trial in Kenya to compare sales performance of newly trained male and female improved cookstove entrepreneurs and to test the effects of an agency-based empowerment training on business activity. A total of 257 entrepreneurs completed either a 4-day entrepreneurial training (control) or a 4-day empowerment training (intervention) and were followed for nearly 8 months documenting business activity and sales. The empowerment training led to more than doubling of sales for both genders. In addition, participants in the intervention group were significantly more likely to demonstrate business commitment over time and nearly three times more likely to be higher sellers (relative risk = 2.7, 95% CI [1.4, 5.4]), controlling for gender and rural/urban locale. Women outsold men by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 and were more likely to continue to pursue leads despite limited sales. Nonactive participants (those selling 1 improved cookstove or less) were a larger percentage of the control group (72%) than the intervention group (50%), and more men were nonactive participants (65% of men) compared with women (56% of women).These data show that women can serve as active improved cookstove entrepreneurs in both urban and rural settings and that targeted agency-based empowerment training can significantly increase women's capacity to engage effectively within the improved cookstove value chain."

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"The agribusiness incubator in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India is the result of a partnership between the Indian government and an international crop-research organization that is a member of CGIAR, a global partnership of organizations seeking a food-secure future. As the incubator has developed, it has become relatively independent of its founders, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology. From supporting small businesses that can bring new agricultural research and technology to market, ABI has become an incubator of incubators, and is now helping African incubators follow its model."

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