"What do accelerators do? Broadly speaking, they help ventures define and build their initial products, identify promising customer segments, and secure resources, including capital and employees. More specifically, accelerator programs are programs of limited-duration—lasting about three months—that help cohorts of startups with the new venture process. They usually provide a small amount of seed capital, plus working space. They also offer a plethora of networking opportunities, with both peer ventures and mentors, who might be successful entrepreneurs, program graduates, venture capitalists, angel investors, or even corporate executives. Finally, most programs end with a grand event, a “demo day” where ventures pitch to a large audience of qualified investors."
"Social impact accelerators (SIAs) seek to select startups with the potential to generate financial returns and social impact. Through the lenses of signaling theory and gender role congruity theory, we examine 2324 social startups that applied to 123 SIAs globally in 2016 and 2017 and find that SIAs are more likely to accept startups that signal their economic and social credibility. Moreover, while we find that the influence of these signals is strongest when they are congruent with the stereotypes associated with the lead founder's gender, men seem to experience better outcomes from gender incongruity than women."
"Being an SGB in a developing economy is already challenging: talent acquisition, currency fluctuations, slim profit margins, changing political landscapes, and lower negotiating power with suppliers are a few of the issues SGBs have to tackle every day. It is a testament to the ingenuity, skill and tenacity of these organizations that despite this, there are thousands of successfully operating SGBs across the globe, with increasing numbers in developing economies. This report looks at how we can support SGBs to scale their success. What technical, practical and material assistance is needed to help SGBs scale so more people are positively impacted? Our hope is that this report isn’t just an interesting read, but rather a practical roadmap, and a call to action."
"The purpose of this spot survey is to identify the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the current generation of Indian social entrepreneurs as seen by those who spend the most time evaluating them-impact investors. By drawing on the opinions of these investors, it is possible to identify the areas in which critical skills and competencies are stronger than expected or are chronically absent, and how to start a substantive conversation on improving the ecosystem for early-stage social businesses. Unlike other reports in the impact investment space, this report looks at both successful deals that got done and deals that fell through. The insights are designed to assist incubators and accelerators in designing curricula for their investees, and to allow impact investors to develop more effective strategies for addressing pipeline challenges."
"Village Capital – a seed-stage accelerator that runs programs for entrepreneurs in impact-oriented sectors – was the first to work with the Entrepreneurship Database Program, starting in 2013. Application and follow-up data have now been collected from fifteen different Village Capital programs. These data provide a unique opportunity to examine the performance of ventures accelerated by these different Village Capital programs compared to those that applied but were not selected. This report is divided into two parts: The first section reveals differences in venture performance among accelerated versus non-accelerated ventures based on one-year changes in revenue, employees, and investment. This information is then used to identify the highest and lowest performing Village Capital programs and presented to a panel of experts who suggest potential reasons for these differences. The second section tests these predictions using qualitative and quantitative research methods, revealing several key insights for Village Capital and other early-stage venture accelerator programs."
"While management styles and practices have been found to be important determinants of firm performance, there is far less evidence on the extent to which management matters for entrepreneurial ventures and whether founders can learn to be more effective managers. Using a randomized field experiment with 100 high-growth technology firms, we show that founders who received advice from other founders with more "hands-on" management styles were more likely to reorient their own management activity, and subsequently experience lower employee attrition and higher rates of firm survival eight months after the intervention. For founders who already had a more hands-on management style themselves, these interactions also increased their rate of hiring. Our study demonstrates management skill can be learned by young firms via networks and subsequently influence performance."
"Despite the emergence of startup accelerators as venture development organizations (VDOs) to high-growth firms, research has yet to identify where these accelerators fit into the venture development ecosystem. By clarifying and reviewing three different subsystems in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, our paper proposes that as an extension of the current incubation mechanism, accelerators contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem by transforming entrepreneurs and their ventures at early stages. Drawing upon the Pipeline model (Lichtenstein, G. A., and T. S. Lyons. 2006."Managing the community's pipeline of entrepreneurs and enterprises: A new way of thinking about business assets." Economic Development Quarterly 20 (4): 377-386.), we first plot where the accelerator model fits in the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem, and then demonstrate how different types of accelerators help participating entrepreneurs and their ventures progress along the venture development pipeline. Our theoretical approach contributes to both the entrepreneurship ecosystem and the accelerator literature and provides a practical map for both policymakers and early-stage entrepreneurs to manage and utilize their entrepreneurship ecosystem more effectively."
"Producer organizations (POs) provide benefits to smallholders by alleviating market access challenges. However, whether all farmers benefit from a PO is still a question. Limited evidence is available on whether POs are inclusive of poor farmers. Even if the poor join, do they participate in decision‐making? We conducted interviews with 595 smallholder dairy farmers in Kenya. We distinguish three groups; members of a bargaining PO, members of a processing PO and non‐members. We show that membership is related to the structural characteristics of the organization: processing POs favor membership of farmers that are wealthier, more educated and more innovative. As to participation in the decision‐making process: older, male and specialized farmers have a higher chance of being involved than poor farmers. Factors distinguishing farmer participation in decision‐making between bargaining and processing POs are highlighted. We find that a bargaining PO is more inclusive of all groups of farmers, while women and poor farmers are excluded from decision‐making in a processing PO. Our findings contribute to policymaking on inclusive development."
"Villgro is a business incubator with a unique rural orientation. It concerns itself not only with the launch of new businesses but more generally with the transfer of new products, knowledge and services into rural space. Faced with the challenge of finding technologies that match rural requirements, Villgro has linked marketable product/service concepts from diverse sources with entrepreneurs who have start-up experience—so-called serial entrepreneurs. Other incubators may have difficulty imitating Villgro’s business model. The conditions for its development are unique, its management approaches are relatively untested and the values of its management team are deeply intertwined with perceptions of how the rural business system operates in India. However, other startup incubators can learn from Villgro the importance of getting management basics right before attempting to transform an entire agricultural sector. Good governance, transparency, accountability, building teams around highly capable employees and continuously enhancing their management skills are important no matter the strategic orientation of the emerging incubator."
"Peer networks are seen as important for stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship, but little is known about how the structure and composition of networks affect innovation performance. Researchers compared the effects of face-to-face and virtual peer interaction on the submission and quality of business proposals by individuals from 49 African countries enrolled in an online entrepreneurship course. They found that face-to-face networks and the virtual interaction of groups of entrepreneurs of the same nationality increased the submission of business proposals to a funding competition, but that virtual interaction had no effect when groups were formed with entrepreneurs of different nationalities. Virtual interaction among entrepreneurs of the same nationality was also found to increase the quality of submitted business proposals."