Yesterday, I attended an interesting Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs discussion on the topic of “What’s Working in Startup Acceleration.” The event unveiled a new ANDE report that assess the performance of business accelerators in both developed and developing economies. The report has lots of interesting findings. Perhaps the most important result is that accelerators appear to work in that client firms outperform those that don’t participate in acceleration programs. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important. Despite the massive growth of business accelerators, we actually have very little rigorous studies of whether and how they work. This study helps on that front—–in addition to offering some other useful tips on smart practices for business accelerators.
This report is part of a larger and very exciting research project: the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative. GALI is seeking to develop a global assessment system of business accelerator performance—a way to assess the quality of accelerators and to benchmark their performance with their peers. The GALI effort is just getting started and this new ANDE report is one of its first publications. But, it has great potential if more accelerators opt to use the performance measure and evaluation systems being promoted by the GALI team. It also affords us a chance to better under the most effective ways to support acceleration in different countries, with different groups of entrepreneurs, and in different industry sectors. If you run a business accelerator or work with them, encourage their leadership to consider participating in the GALI research project. It’s a great opportunity to build a more professional and effective set of programs.