Do accelerators really work? This new study aims to find out

With challenging application processes, high-profile mentors and exciting prizes up for grabs, accelerators are usually the bee’s knees in the startup world. But do they really work? If so, what types of programmes have the highest impact on entrepreneurial success? A new comprehensive study aims to find out just that.

Officially announced at the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, the so-called Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) seeks to collect data on more than 10 000 accelerator firms globally.

The study hopes to gather enough statistical data and market insight to better inform accelerator decision-making.

The argument goes that although there are hundreds of accelerators around the world, little research exists to understand early-stage acceleration and its effect on the companies accelerated.

Lack of insight is believed to be true especially for small and growing businesses in emerging markets.

Read more: SA’s startup industry: all the stats and numbers you need to know [Infographic]

The study will be lead by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and US-based Emory University’s Social Enterprise @ Goizueta, which has already collected information on more than 3 500 enterprises and partnered with over 60
accelerator programmes.

Read more: Ventureburn talks entrepreneurship with Omidyar Network Africa’s Malik Fal

US$2.3-million has been committed to support GALI from prominent global players, like US Global Development Lab, Omidyar Network, The Lemelson Foundation, and the Argidius Foundation.

Executive director of ANDE Randall Kempner emphasises the significance of such a diverse partnership:

“We’re delighted leaders from the academic, international development, and philanthropy worlds are coming together to take action and further strengthen business communities by ensuring careful investigation of and innovation for accelerator programs worldwide.”

For more information about the project and other research publications, click here.

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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