"The number of accelerators has increased considerably in various emerging market countries in the past decade, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This includes Nigeria, the largest economy in West Africa. One important question then is: are these incubators and accelerators effective in providing support to enterprises in emerging markets, especially youth-led enterprises? This knowledge brief seeks to capture information from our study of incubators and accelerators in Nigeria in relation to their effectiveness in supporting youth-led enterprises."
"Increasing attention - both in the scholarly literature and in the world of policy makers and practitioners - is being paid to the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. What was once assumed to be a merit-based system for encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurs is now understood to operate in gendered ways that in many cases disadvantage female founders. These effects occur across the entire pipeline, beginning with the dearth of women seeking to start high growth companies, to the lack of funding opportunities and mentorship. There are substantial differences in the number of startups led by women, their levels of relevant experience and the amount of funding - both debt and equity - they seek and receive. Some have argued that women tend to found lower potential startups. Yet, even controlling for quality, we see many implicit biases in how female founders are treated. One important approach to redressing inequalities might be through the use of accelerators. Entrepreneurship accelerators are proliferating in both developed and developing economies as different cities, regions and sectors seek to increase economic growth and employment. Accelerators are designed to give a boost to startups by providing in a concentrated way the mentorship, networks, training and financing required to be successful. The presence of accelerators could have the potential to solve some of the challenges female entrepreneurs face, however preliminary evidence suggests that they, for the most part, seem to be perpetuating the gendered dynamics that exist in the entrepreneurial system. On the other hand, there is no systematic research on how accelerators do or might address the gendered dynamics of entrepreneurship. Because accelerators are seen as such an important policy tool for increasing entrepreneurial success, it is imperative that we develop and analyze systematic data on accelerators and their effects, particularly on female founders. In this study, we will draw on what is known to date on female entrepreneurs and more broadly on the research on gender in organizations and the economy to understand the dynamics of acceleration in entrepreneurship. Using a longitudinal database of over 3,000 ventures in nearly 50 accelerators, we trace the effects of selection into the accelerator and the acceleration process on outcomes for women-only, women-led, and male-only venture teams. We couple survey data with interviews of accelerators to understand whether and when acceleration can be a tool for mitigating gender bias in female entrepreneurship."
"A classical approach to collecting and elaborating information to make entrepreneurial decisions combines search heuristics, such as trial and error, effectuation, and confirmatory search. This paper develops a framework for exploring the implications of a more scientific approach to entrepreneurial decision making. The panel sample of our randomized control trial includes 116 Italian startups and 16 data points over a period of about one year. Both the treatment and control groups receive 10 sessions of general training on how to obtain feedback from the market and gauge the feasibility of their idea. We teach the treated startups to develop frameworks for predicting the performance of their idea and conduct rigorous tests of their hypotheses, very much as scientists do in their research. We let the firms in the control group instead follow their intuitions about how to assess their idea, which has typically produced fairly standard search heuristics. We find that entrepreneurs who behave like scientists perform better, are more likely to pivot to a different idea, and are not more likely to drop out than the control group in the early stages of the startup. These results are consistent with the main prediction of our theory: a scientific approach improves precision—it reduces the odds of pursuing projects with false positive returns and increases the odds of pursuing projects with false negative returns."
"This paper summarizes the key features of a systematic framework for assessing the aggregate employment impacts of a portfolio of development cooperation interventions. The methodological approach follows a bottom-up procedure based on three steps: (i) estimating employment effects at the intervention level, net of the counterfactual scenario; (ii) estimating (economy-wide) employment impacts of interventions taking into account employment-related indirect effects of the intervention such as displacement, substitution and multipliers; (iii) aggregating these employment impacts across the portfolio and deriving comparable parameter values for employment effects. We discuss these steps, along with two preparatory steps that enable an identification of projects for which a detailed evaluation may be most relevant and feasible. To this end, we develop a classification of intervention types from an employment perspective and propose an approach to judge their availability ex-ante. Finally, we discuss how these bottom-up estimates can feed into a system of institutional learning about employment impacts, based on the specification of an indicator for employment outcomes that can be compared and aggregate across heterogeneous development projects. The paper is based on an exploratory study conducted for German development cooperation; hence there is a necessary focus on a framework applicable in this specific context."
"Over the past 15 years, accelerators emerged as a popular and distinct new form of intermediary organization, playing a key role in supporting entrepreneurial and innovation activities. To date, despite significant growth in accelerators research, there is still little understanding of how different forms of accelerators operate, and what outcomes they produce across different contexts. This paper reviews the existing scholarly research on accelerators using the Context-Intervention-Mechanism-Outcome framework and is based on the analysis of 98 research papers on accelerators published in the last 15 years. The analysis identifies four mechanisms which explain how accelerators operate and the role they play in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation: the validation of ideas and products; the provision of product development and models learning; the provision of support to increase startups' market access and growth; and the provision of support for innovation. The paper identifies the methodological and theoretical gaps in current research and provides avenues to support future research and industry practice."
"This toolkit is designed to help entrepreneurs, investors, consultants, evaluators or other practitioners deepen their social impact measurement and management process in the impact investing sector. The toolkit is intended to be used in tandem with already existing standards and methods like the GIIN’s IRIS+, the Impact Management Project’s five dimensions of impact, and 60 Decibels Lean Data, to complement and deepen those metrics and approaches."
"Accelerators are a type of incubation program that are concerned with attracting, supporting and developing new ventures. Although there is significant enthusiasm for accelerators and their potential benefits, there is limited research on how their core capabilities can vary. In response, we develop a typology of accelerator capabilities taking into account their strategy, governance, business model, operations and finance. To develop the typology we carried out a benchmark analysis of six clean energy commercialization accelerators (CECAs). From this we verified and illustrated the dimensions of our typology and identified four types of accelerator capabilities: R&D focused, technology enabled, market enabled, and network enabled. We then use a seventh accelerator case to illustrate how our typology can be used to describe, understand and prescribe appropriate capabilities for a CECA. We conclude our paper by explaining the research and practice implications of our research."
"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."
"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."
"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."