In this chapter, Martin Bliemel, Saskia de Klerk, Ricardo Flores and Morgan Miles review the historic context in which an accelerators industry emerged in Australia in parallel with policy development to indirectly support start-ups. Their study spans over three decades of policies aimed at supporting innovative high-growth ventures. Early attempts at stimulating an incubator industry failed. The authors focus on the most recent years, during which accelerators initially emerged in Australia in the absence of policy tailored to the accelerator business model, followed by the design and implementation of a A$23 million national Incubator Support Programme.
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Martin Bliemel, Saskia de Klerk, Ricardo Flores and Morgan P. Miles
Michael Leatherbee and Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe
This chapter by Michael Leatherbee and Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe examines KPIs in accelerators. KPIs can help gauge the health and progress of business accelerators. Their use is fundamental for learning how to improve organizational and programmatic effectiveness, and for building a data-driven shield from program skeptics. However, figuring out which indicators are best, how to develop them and what phenomenon they are actually reflecting is a non-trivial exercise. The authors provide an overview of different KPIs that can be used by accelerator stakeholders. By explaining their value, limitations, methods of construction and potential pitfalls, they aim to provide accelerator stakeholders with a toolkit for building an effective KPI dashboard.
Iris Vanaelst, Jonas Van Hove and Mike Wright
In this chapter, Iris Vanaelst, Jonas Van Hove and Mike Wright, after a brief review of US policy towards accelerators, focus on how EU policy engages with different stakeholders in order to support accelerator activity within the EU area. The EU interactions with accelerators are threefold: (1) the EU supports the setup of accelerator networks to create momentum for accelerators to meet and exchange experiences, expertise and knowledge (e.g. Accelerator Assembly); (2) the EU supports and funds accelerator programs (e.g. EU-XCEL-European Virtual Accelerator, IoT Accelerator Programme, Copernicus Accelerator Programme); and (3) accelerators serve as intermediaries between the EU and start-ups looking for funding (e.g. EuropeanPioneers) in addition to the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) funding instruments of the EU (e.g. SME Instrument). Interesting examples of each of these initiatives are discussed in more detail.
Michael Leatherbee and Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe
This chapter by Michael Leatherbee and Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe addresses issues relating to the selection of entrepreneurs and their ventures for entry into accelerators. Commonly, accelerators select start-ups among a broader group of applicants. The assumption is that through the selection process, accelerators are able to discriminate between high- and low-potential start-ups. Thus, the expectation is that accelerators are an effective medium for capturing the upside potential of the select few start-ups that promise to deliver the highest value in the future. That upside potential may be materialized through attractive equity investments or increased socio-economic development, depending on the mission of the accelerator. Typically, the selection process relies on a set of objective criteria predetermined by the accelerator, which are applied by one or more entrepreneurship experts who act as judges or evaluators of the applicant pool. First the authors describe the different selection stages and methods typically managed by business accelerators. They then go on to explore the multiple important issues that must be taken into account when designing and managing selection processes. Comprehending these issues may help to understand the challenges and limitations of current selection methods, and to avoid potential pitfalls and unintended consequences.
Ronit Yitshaki and Israel Drori
In this chapter, Ronit Yitshaki and Israel Drori focus on the important aspect of the accelerators’ design structure and operation that concerns mentoring. By mentoring they refer to the process of learning and coaching provided by the accelerators to their participating start-ups by groups of experts with relevant knowledge and experience in founding and managing new ventures. Using detailed interview and observational data from Israel, they show that the mentoring process provides a bridge between the accelerator, the start-up and the ecosystem through the mentor’s internal (within the start-up) and external (within the ecosystem) position. They suggest that mentorship is a complex process composed of both altruistic and interest-based motivations and processes, represented along a continuum starting as part of the accelerator’s educational program, and either ending with the end of the program or leading to a transformation to a partnership. Accelerators play an important role in recognizing mentors who are relevant to the ecosystem while providing mentors with opportunities to invest and learn about the ecosystem, enabling them to conduct informal due diligence prior to investing as business angels. They identify four distinct aspects that characterize the mentoring process: (1) setting up strategy and priorities, (2) revealing marketing opportunities, (3) structuring organizational processes and (4) expanding ventures’ social capital.
Jonas Van Hove, Iris Vanaelst and Mike Wright
In this chapter, Jonas Van Hove, Iris Vanaelst and Mike Wright explore the differences across countries and regions in accelerator support programs in order to improve understanding of the continuously evolving accelerator landscape and concomitant activities by complementary actors within an ecosystem community. They emphasize the role of institutional intermediaries in shaping the ecosystem through the preservation of the aligned interests between policymakers and practitioners. Reviewing the evolution of the landscape of policy support for accelerators across national and regional levels, with particular emphasis on the UK context, they outline the challenges accelerators face and which policymakers need to take into account. They conclude with policy implications and recommendations focusing on how the ecosystem community can meet such challenges in order to spur ecosystem development and fuel the next generation of start-ups.
James D. Hart
Whatever endeavor an entrepreneur seeks to create, capital is needed. These exercises teach students how, with visual aids, investors can better understand a new concept. Students develop their pitching skills and learn how to build a true fan base, through which they fundraise and attract capital.
A Cross-Disciplinary Approach
James D. Hart
James D. Hart
Whether engaging investors, one’s team, board, customers or audience, effective communication is critical. These exercises aid entrepreneurs in developing communication skills and teach students how to inspire others and craft memorable and impactful stories. Students also learn about the power of stillness and finding one’s voice.