Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Business Acceleration: A Game Changer for Entrepreneurial Ventures?

In many industries, innovation dynamics are gradually changing. Innovative activity is increasingly linked to small, entrepreneurial ventures located in high-tech innovative regional clusters, such as Silicon Valley and less associated with large multinational corporations that have been driving research and development in the past (Audretsch, 1998). During the past decade, business accelerator programs have gained increasing momentum as publicly or privately funded initiatives that aim at supporting young ventures in growing their business. However, research on accelerator programs and the associated benefits is scarce. In addition, to date there is no established definition of what constitutes an accelerator program and its impact on start-up performance remains largely unobserved. The objective of this research project is therefore to explore how accelerators may help nascent firms benefit from positional advantages, thereby shedding light on the importance of such programs in supporting new business development. Specifically, the so-called “accelerator effect” will be derived and assessed by comparing the performance of start-ups that have participated in an accelerator program to the performance of similar start-ups that have not been invited to join such a program. The average treatment effect will be located by means of a regression discontinuity design. Start-ups are assigned to comparison groups on the basis of selection at the last round of the application process to specific accelerator programs.



Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.