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"Recent years have seen the emergence of a new institutional form in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: the seed accelerator. These fixed-term, cohort-based “boot camps” for start-ups offer educational and mentorship programs for start-up founders, exposing them to a wide variety of mentors, including former entrepreneurs, venture capitalists (VCs), angel investors, and corporate executives, and culminate in a public pitch event, or “demo day,” during which the graduating cohort of start-up companies pitch their businesses to a large group of potential investors. In practice, accelerator programs are a combination of previously distinct services or functions that were each individually costly for an entrepreneur to find and obtain. The accelerator approach has been widely adopted by private groups, public and government efforts, and by corporations. While proliferation of accelerators is clearly evident, with worldwide estimates of 3000+ programs in existence, research on the role and efficacy of these programs has been limited. In this article, I provide an introduction to the accelerator model and summarize recent evidence on its effects on the regional entrepreneurial environment."

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"To gain understanding of the state of entrepreneurship in Africa, Omidyar Network launched the Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa Initiative in 2012. To execute this multiphase research project, we partnered with Monitor Deloitte South Africa (formerly Monitor Group). We set out together to identify the challenges facing African entrepreneurs and to pinpoint the most trenchant barriers inhibiting high-impact entrepreneurship...This article presents the findings of the entrepreneur survey, the outcomes of the workshops in Accra, and the conclusions of the third and final phase of the initiative: the recommended actions needed to accelerate entrepreneurship on the continent. Self finance and family loans are the main sources of funding."

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"With growing interest in the confluence between effective entrepreneurship and genuine economic development, more and more accelerator programs are working to find, select and support promising entrepreneurs, especially those working in emerging markets. As these efforts accumulate, it is critical that we learn from them, so that future programs are better able to support promising emerging-market entrepreneurs.

This report focuses on an entrepreneur-support program run by TechnoServe in four Central American countries. In 2012, TechnoServe established the "Impulsa Tu Empresa" program to provide small and growing businesses (SGBs) in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua with the training, advice, market connections and access to capital they need to develop and implement promising business plans."

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"Before making important decisions about allocating resources, organizations need to first identify where a program is, where they want it to be, and how to get it there.To aid this process, we developed a Spectrum of Impact Measurement tool with two axes—level of confidence and level of difficulty—and five stages of impact assessment."

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"The manual is targeted specifically at venture philanthropy organisations and social investors ("VPO/SI"), and more generally at impact investors, foundation and any other funders interested in generating a positive impact on society. The first objective of the manual is to create a roadmap or guidebook to help VPO/SIs navigate through the current maze of existing methodologies, databases, tools and metrics on social impact measurement. The second objective is to trigger a movement towards best practice when it comes to measuring and managing impact...The manual should be useful both for beginners in impact measurement, who are considering how to get started, and for more advanced investors who are struggling with how to better integrate an impact focus into everyday investment management decisions."

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"Pulling insights from diverse disciplines and the experience of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) affiliated researchers around the world, this guide offers practical tips for overcoming challenges in incorporating women and girls' empowerment measurement in impact evaluations. The guide emphasizes the importance of conducting in-depth formative research to understand gender dynamics in the specific context before starting an evaluation, developing locally tailored indicators to complement internationally standardized ones, and reducing the potential for reporting bias in our instruments and data collection plan."

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"Hundreds, if not thousands, of programs exist to help drive business growth in emerging markets. But what does the evidence actually tell us about whether these programs help businesses grow? And what can practitioners learn from this evidence to design more effective interventions? This knowledge synthesis summarizes the current evidence, identifies gaps in the academic research, and proposes a practitioner-oriented research agenda for the sector."

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"Business incubation is a growing area attracting substantial interest both from governments and the private sector. Unfortunately, it is difficult for "would-be-entrepreneurs" to operate an informed choice given the large variety in nomenclature, programmes, services offered, underpinning business models, and the frequent lack of availability of performance data, or a common set of metrics that could be used to compute (and provide) widely acceptable KPI useful to facilitate the choice. Additionally, the role of the Information Management System has been under investigated. The present paper presents the research being conducted for the design and implementation of a modular information management system expressly designed to adapt to the needs of business incubators irrespective of the business model and approach adopted. The design is informed of the most relevant different business models presently adopted, the set of services and programmes offered, and the guidelines proposed by the European Union and the CSI federation. Best practices adopted in the UK and Europe have also been considered along with Cabral-Dahab principles. Finally, we identified a set of metrics that can be easily collected and used to generate valuable KPI able to support both the business incubation management as well as the applicants."

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"In recent years, there has been growing interest and funding dedicated to technical assistance (TA) designed to strengthen the commercial and development impact of businesses in developing markets. However, relatively little is known about the nature and effectiveness of these initiatives. To help address that knowledge gap, this paper focuses on efforts by development finance institutions (DFIs) to provide technical assistance to agribusinesses, which—while comprising only a small share of overall DFI investment portfolios—receive 30% of all TA."

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"What keeps social entrepreneurs in developing countries from growing their ventures? Around the world social entrepreneurs are creating innovative businesses that reduce poverty and improve the lives of their customers. These pioneers often encounter many hurdles along the way that make growing a social business a significant challenge. With insights from more than 120 interviews with early-stage social entrepreneurs in developing countries, we explore the common financial and non-financial obstacles they face. The survey showed that access to financing is still a major issue for most of the entrepreneurs: loans are expensive, require significant personal collateral and traditional financing providers don’t take the social mission of the business into account. Besides access to capital, especially in the missing middle, social entrepreneurs also have challenges finding new customers for their products and services, managing their operations and technical excellence, as well as recruiting and retaining high quality staff. Based on our findings we distilled specific conclusions and recommendations for entrepreneurs, investors and intermediaries."

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