Two new reports based on over five years of data from the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) provide insights on the performance of ventures participating in acceleration programs.
Contact: Natalie Alm
Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)
Washington, DC, May 20 2021 – The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a global network of almost 300 organizations that propel entrepreneurship in developing economies, today released two reports on the growth of ventures that participate in accelerator programs.
ANDE’s Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) has been collecting data for over five years on accelerators around the world and the entrepreneurs who seek their support. The research initiative has collected data on over 23,000 ventures to date, and these new reports, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, distill learnings from the data into actionable insights for the entrepreneurship sector.
First, “Does Acceleration Work: Five years of evidence from the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative” synthesizes GALI’s major findings into actionable insights for accelerators, entrepreneurs, donors, policymakers, and investors. It finds that there is clear evidence that acceleration, in the aggregate, has a positive impact on venture growth, though there are important differences in when and where acceleration works, and for whom.
“This new report provides a comprehensive and actionable look at whether, how, where, and for whom acceleration works. The insights will help accelerator managers, donors, investors, and entrepreneurs understand how they can best use acceleration to advance social impact,” said ANDE’s Director of Research and Impact Matthew Guttentag.
Additional key findings include:
- There is nuance as to where acceleration works and for whom. Women entrepreneurs and local entrepreneurs in developing economies do not receive the same benefits as male and expat-founded teams.
- Accelerators should adjust their programming to fit the resources available in the local ecosystem (for example, investment-readiness programs should assess whether there is sufficient local investment for graduating entrepreneurs).
- Entrepreneurs should carefully examine the types of ventures graduating from accelerators to ensure they are a good fit, and should consider attending more than one program for different support throughout their entrepreneurial journey.
- Donors should not expect every accelerated venture to succeed, and should be careful not to place overly burdensome requirements on programs.
- Investors should more closely engage accelerators and consider alternative approaches to financing that allow for more risk.
Second, “A Rocket or a Runway? Examining Venture Growth during and after Acceleration” is the first report in which GALI looks at data on venture growth in the year after they attend an accelerator program. Data suggest that accelerated ventures continue to outpace their non-accelerated counterparts in the year after acceleration, though a small proportion of accelerated ventures account for the majority of the financial growth reported. “This provides critical new evidence that in the aggregate, accelerators can play an important role in boosting business growth — not only immediately after the accelerator program but in the longer term as well,” said Guttentag.
Additional key findings include:
- The fastest growing ventures have more financial resources pre-acceleration.
- When interviewed, top-performing entrepreneurs pointed to peer networking, strategic introductions, and business model refining as the most valuable aspects of acceleration.
- These entrepreneurs also pointed to areas in which accelerators fall short, including a poor match between accelerator offerings and entrepreneur needs, an over-emphasis on investment over organic growth, and a lack of meaningful connections with investors.
The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in developing economies. ANDE members provide critical financial, educational, and business support services to small and growing businesses (SGBs) based on the conviction that SGBs create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth, and produce environmental and social benefits.
As the leading global voice of the SGB sector, ANDE believes that SGBs are a powerful, yet underleveraged tool in addressing social and environmental challenges. Since 2009, we have grown into a trusted network of nearly 300 collaborative members that operate in nearly every developing economy. ANDE grows the body of knowledge, mobilizes resources, and connects the institutions that support the small business entrepreneurs who build inclusive prosperity in the developing world.
GALI is a research initiative by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) designed to explore key questions about enterprise acceleration. GALI was co-created with Emory University and is currently supported by the the Argidius Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Stichting DOEN, the Australian Government, and the GIZ Sector Project Sustainable Economic Development on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.