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Capacity Development

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"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."

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"Organizational sponsorship mediates the relationship between new organizations and their environments by creating a resource-munificent context intended to increase survival rates among those new organizations. Existing theories are prone to treat such resource munificence as the inverse of resource dependence, indicating that the application of new resources in an entrepreneurial context should always benefit new firms. These existing theories, however, often overlook heterogeneity in both types of applied resources as well as founding environmental conditions. By attending to these nuances, we reveal that resource munificence is not necessarily predictive of organizational survival. We find that resource munificence related to sponsorship can potentially decrease or increase survival rates among new organizations and that these effects are contingent on fit of resource type with its respective geographic-based founding density. These findings confirm the need for a more-nuanced theory of sponsorship that attends to the mechanisms and conditions by which resource munificence is likely to alter new organization survival rates."

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"Anecdotal evidence of successfully accelerated ventures has been followed by more rigorous studies by GALI and some emerging academic research. But as the evidence behind accelerator effectiveness expands, the question remains-at what cost? This methods brief first frames the various ways accelerators can think about value for money of their programs. Then, it explores one practical approach to calculating value for money. Finally, the brief summarizes similar evaluations conducted for other types of entrepreneur support programs. Accelerators and funders can use this guide to understand their options for assessing value for money and to consider how they could incorporate this concept into their data collection and program assessments."

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"Key research objectives of this report were to evaluate the quantifiable value created by impact-focused incubator/accelerator programs and to design and pilot a framework that can be used to objectively compare and benchmark impact incubator/accelerator programs against each other. This analysis builds on ANDE's previous findings and was conceived as a means to evaluate how and where incubators/accelerators are creating tangible value. One of the initial goals of the study was to help programs develop quantifiable evidence they need to make a stronger case for charging incubees and investors for their services and the value they create."

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"Spring Impact's new report, generously supported by the Argidius Foundation, shares recommendations on creating effective mentoring programs for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). This report is designed to provide immediate support to practitioners, funders and other champions of mentoring by sharing essential good practices to strengthen or build effective programs."

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"The puzzle for policy-makers, or others interested in a specific 'place' or region, is that this phenomenon - especially of 'innovation-driven entrepreneurship' - is not only highly concentrated but also seems to be characterized by a positive reinforcing cycle of growth, once IDEs reach a particular concentration (Audrestch & Feldman 2004). The systems-like behavior of these places has knock-on consequences, both for the regions in which it takes place, but also for those localities that have not crossed the threshold for accelerated growth (or at least not at the same rate). The logic of 'co-location', with growing networks of exchange and the consequent 'network effects,' means that the successful regions (and nations) may end up continually doing better, while those less successful ones get left further and further behind. As Audrestch & Feldman described, "geography has been found to provide a platform upon which new knowledge can be produced, harnessed and commercialized into innovations" (2004, p.31)."

MIT's study of these phenomena tries to address this puzzle, and provide advice and options for those who wish to optimize innovation-driven entrepreneurship in their specific regions, and who seek to build a vibrant innovation ecosystem in their locality. A key to MIT's approach is a Stakeholder Framework (which will be the subject of this Working Paper), but it is important to first place this in context."

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"This report investigates the role of SGBs in economic growth and the key success factors of business networks for SGBs. It also spotlights the impact of two organizations - Enablis Senegal and CEED Moldova - on SGB growth. Finally, the report outlines implications for funders, ecosystem builders, SGB-support organizations and SGBs."

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"What is the effect of exposing motivated youth to firm management in practice? To answer this question, we place young professionals for one month in established firms to shadow middle managers. Using random assignment into program participation, we find positive average effects on wage employment, but no average effect on the likelihood of self-employment. Within the treatment group, we match individuals and firms in batches using a deferred-acceptance algorithm. We show how this allows us to identify heterogeneous treatment effects by firm and intern. We find striking heterogeneity in self-employment effects, but almost no heterogeneity in wage employment. Estimates of marginal treatment effects (MTE) are then used to simulate counterfactual mechanism design. We find that some assignment mechanisms substantially outperform random matching in generating employment and income effects. These results demonstrate the importance of treatment heterogeneity for the design of field experiments and the role of matching algorithms in intervention design."

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"Understanding the performance of accelerators is important to a wide range of individuals and organizations: participating startups, accelerator managers and staff, investors, partners, donors, funders, and policymakers. Each of these stakeholders may have different priorities and objectives in their efforts to measure accelerators' performance and impact. This brief identifies considerations and potential metrics for evaluating accelerator performance. In addition to metrics related to the accelerator itself, it includes measures that assess the performance of startups, and changes in the regions in which accelerators are located."

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"This paper presents the preliminary results of our ongoing study of corrective policy intervention in cluster-based industrial development. At the center of this study is a field experiment that we are conducting in a knitwear cluster in Ha Noi (previously Ha Tay) and a rolled steal cluster in Bac Ninh in Vietnam. In these clusters, we conducted baseline surveys of firms from April to July 2010 and then provided classroom training programs for entrepreneurs in June to August of the same year. The evaluation of the training impacts is expected to reveal whether entrepreneurs in clusters possess basic knowledge of management before the training, what characterizes the entrepreneurs who are more willing and able to absorb new knowledge, whether the training can change entrepreneurs' attitudes toward learning management knowledge, how much entrepreneurs can learn from a short-period training program, and whether the benefit of the training program exceeds its cost, among others."

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