"We analysed the growth impact delivered by a high-growth entrepreneurship policy initiative over a six-year period. Using an eight-year panel that started two years before the initiative was launched and propensity score matching to control selection bias, we found that the initiative had more than doubled the growth rates of treated firms. The initiative had delivered a strong impact also on value-for-money basis. In addition to producing the first robust evidence on the growth impact delivered by a high-growth entrepreneurship initiative, we contribute to public sponsorship theory with the notion of capacity-boosting activities to complement previously discussed buffering and bridging activities."
"Small businesses are often believed to serve as engines for innovation, employment and social mobility, due to their flexibility in responding to new opportunities and their potential for rapid growth. In developing countries, SMEs make up a particularly large part of the economy, yet data suggests that very few small enterprises in developing countries grow into larger businesses. Researchers conducted a qualitative study of a consulting program in the Philippines designed to help SMEs expand, investigating the obstacles that consultants identified as constraints to firm growth. They found that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to business training - most firms have a complex, interconnected set of challenges."
"This article addresses the specific role of programs that attempt to help social ventures scale. We utilize combined experience in the Momentum Project from ESADE Business School and the Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University, as well as an exploratory study of 40 social incubator and accelerator programs around the world, to frame the issues. We make a comparison among different programs and classify them as social incubators and social accelerators according to targeted social ventures and portfolio of resources offered. We note opportunities for research on social entrepreneurship and discuss relevant issues for both academics and practitioners such as the structure of these programs, the variance of approaches, and the resources needed by social ventures in their scaling processes."
"Given the mixed evidence for the impact of various publicly funded initiatives that aim to foster entrepreneurial activity, this paper empirically examines the efficacy of publicly funded business advisory services in relation to entrepreneurial outcomes. Based on a sample of 228 early-stage firms, of which 101 used business advisory services focused on helping companies secure 1st rounds of financing and start generating revenues, we examine the firm-level impact such services can have on sales growth, innovation, finance and alliances. We find services are positively associated with firms' sales growth, patents, finance and alliances. We assess statistical and economic significance, and assess robustness to controls for the non-randomness of the firm's using business advisory service program, as well as endogeneity of advisors' hours spent with firms. Other robustness checks are also included. We find significant robustness of hours spent on sales and finance, but sensitivity of the effect of hours on patents and alliances after controlling for endogeneity."
"This paper identifies separate and unique pathways to profits among small businesses in South Africa that are exposed to marketing or finance training in a randomized control study. The marketing group achieves greater profits by adopting a growth focus on higher sales, greater investments in stock and materials, and hiring more employees. The finance group achieves similar profit gains but through an efficiency focus on lower costs. Both groups show significantly higher adoption of business practices related to their respective training program. Consistent with a growth focus, marketing/sales skills are significantly more beneficial to firm owners who ex ante have less exposure to different business contexts. In contrast and in line with an efficiency focus, entrepreneurs who have been running more established businesses prior to training benefit significantly more from finance/accounting skills."
"This paper examines the impact of improvements in marketing skills relative to finance skills among small-scale entrepreneurs. It addresses three important questions: (1) What is the impact of marketing or finance skills on business profits? (2) How do improvements in marketing and finance skills respectively affect different business outcomes? (3) When are increases in marketing relative to finance skills more beneficial? Through a randomized control study of 852 firms in South Africa, the analysis finds significant improvements in profitability from both types of business skills training. However, the pathways to achieve these gains differ substantially between the two groups. The marketing group achieves greater profits by adopting a growth focus on higher sales, greater investments in stock and materials, and hiring more employees. The finance group achieves similar profit gains but through an efficiency focus on lower costs. Both groups show significantly higher adoption of business practices related to their respective training program. Consistent with a growth focus, marketing/sales skills are significantly more beneficial to businesses run by entrepreneurs with ex ante less exposure to different market contexts. In contrast and in line with an efficiency focus, it is the more established businesses that benefit significantly more from finance/accounting skills."
"We study the information-gathering role of a startup accelerator and consider the accelerator's incentives to choose a portfolio size and disclose information about participating ventures. We show that in a rational-expectations equilibrium, the resultant portfolio size is smaller than the first-best (efficient) level, consistent with some real-world observations. We further show that when some signals are uninformative and the portfolio consists of mostly high-quality ventures, the accelerator may choose to disclose only positive signals (and conceal negative signals) about its portfolio firms - a strategy we refer to as partial disclosure. Moreover, coupled with pursuing this strategy of partial disclosure, we demonstrate that the accelerator may possess incentives to exit its portfolio firms early."
"This dissertation explores the learning of social entrepreneurs in accelerators. Building on Jarvis' (2010) existential theory of learning, it conceptualises entrepreneurial learning as a process in which purposeful individuals encounter and transform experiences of disjuncture. These experiences are embedded in both human and material contexts. Learning processes and outcomes are portrayed as phenomena that are influenced by social entrepreneurs' interaction with these environments. Accelerators are depicted as non-formal contexts of learning, of relatively short duration - in which the structure and content of education is progressively adapted to the requirements of the individual."
"While business accelerators remain understudied in the academic literature, there is growing interest in understanding how accelerators work and where they provide value to entrepreneurs. In this paper, we focus exactly on this question – we examine how mentorship and investor ties, two key aspects observed across accelerators in general lead to positive accelerator outcomes and through them, to longterm firm success outcomes for the start-ups participating in accelerators. Using the full cohort (n=105) of an international accelerator, we follow the progress of the startups during the accelerated period and continue to follow these startups for 15 months. We find that startups that participate more in mentorship events have higher likelihood of achieving short-term outcomes during the accelerator, such as the release of a prototype and generating revenue for the first time. Similarly, startups that develop more investor ties during the accelerator survive and raise capital at a higher rate. Finally, we find evidence that certain short-term accelerator outcomes also increase the chances of survival and investment. On the basis of these results, we provide practical implications for start-ups as well as managers of accelerator programs, in addition to theoretical contributions to entrepreneurship research."
"This book summarizes five years of learning from data collected as part of the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative. The authors present data describing impact-oriented ventures and accelerators that operate in both high-income countries and in emerging markets. Blending survey data with insights from sector experts, their various analyses shed light on the basic structure of accelerators, showing where they are having their most promising results.
Unlike previous studies, this book does not focus on a few high-profile accelerators (like TechStars and Y Combinator) and startups (like AirBnB and Uber). Instead, it compares a range of accelerator programs that target specific impact areas, challenging regions, and marginalized entrepreneurs. Therefore, it serves as a valuable tool for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners interested in the effectiveness of accelerator programs as tools that unleash the economic potential currently trapped in entrepreneurial dead spaces."