Because they hold the promise of propelling entrepreneurs to the next stage in developing their businesses, interest in accelerators as a fundamental element of startup ecosystems continues to grow. Genevieve Edens of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) told the audience at the March Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Johannesburg the data on accelerators show they are a way to effectively allocate seed funding to a wide range of entrepreneurs.
Do accelerators work? Research conducted by the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI), a consortium led by ANDE and Emory University and supported by GERN, shows that entrepreneurs who participated in an accelerator do better on a number of metrics such as equity raised, revenue growth, and job creation. The evidence shows they may contribute to building stronger ecosystems, or help entrepreneurs solve social and industry challenges.
Dave Moskovitz, the Managing Director of GEN New Zealand, and a software entrepreneur turned angel investor, described an accelerator for companies focused on solving government challenges, GovTech Acceleration. The goal, he said, is to shorten the length of time it takes to deliver innovative solutions to the public sector. GovTech is driving public sector innovation and digital transformation, socializing the gains while privatizing the risk of failure. By bringing private sector thinking and methodology to address public problems, GovTech is leading a new way for governments to partner with private companies toward to the common good.
The Arab Academy Supply Chain Accelerator, Wael El Desouki Beddah, described focuses on a sector that has a high potential for creating jobs, because supply chain is an enabler for almost everything. The World Bank’s Pan-African Accelerator Program is designed, Sophia Muradyan explained, to catalyze high-growth entrepreneurship in sub-Sahara Africa, with the overall goal of reducing povery and increasing the general welfare.