Accelerators and Incubators

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This is a literature review on academic articles concerning accelerators and incubators, as well as the SBIR grants.


Key Factors Affecting a Technology Entrepreneur's Choice of Incubator or Accelerator by Diane Isabelle

  title = {Key {Factors} {Affecting} a {Technology} {Entrepreneur}'s {Choice} of {Incubator} or {Accelerator}},
  volume = {3},
  copyright = {Copyright Talent First Network Feb 2013},
  url = {},
  abstract = {Technology entrepreneurship rarely succeeds in isolation; increasingly, it occurs in interconnected networks of business partners and other organizations. For entrepreneurs lacking access to an established business ecosystem, incubators and accelerators provide a possible support mechanism for access to partners and resources. Yet, these relatively recent approaches to supporting entrepreneurship are still evolving. Therefore, it can be challenging for entrepreneurs to assess these mechanisms and to make insightful decisions on whether or not to join an incubator or accelerator, and which incubator or accelerator best meets their needs. In this article, five key factors that entrepreneurs should take into consideration about incubators and accelerators are offered. Insights are drawn from two surveys of managers and users of incubators and accelerators. An understanding of these five key success factors (stage of venture, fit with incubator's mission, selection and graduation policies, services provided, and network of partners) and potential pitfalls will help entrepreneurs confidently enter into a relationship with an incubator or accelerator.},
  language = {English},
  number = {2},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Technology Innovation Management Review; Ottawa},
  author = {Isabelle, Diane A.},
  month = feb,
  year = {2013},
  keywords = {Business And Economics},
  pages = {16--22}

The Evolution of Business Incubators by Johan Bruneel

  title = {The {Evolution} of {Business} {Incubators}: {Comparing} demand and supply of business incubation services across different incubator generations},
  volume = {32},
  issn = {0166-4972},
  shorttitle = {The {Evolution} of {Business} {Incubators}},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1016/j.technovation.2011.11.003},
  abstract = {Business incubators (BIs) have been established around the world to stimulate new business creation. Whilst it is accepted that incubation models have evolved, little is known about whether existing incubators have adjusted their value proposition to incorporate recent incubation paradigms or have simply remained operating as originally founded. We present data collected within seven BIs and their tenants regarding service provision and selection criteria. Our findings show that whilst BIs of all generations offer similar support services, tenants in older generation BIs make less use of the BI's service portfolio. We suggest this is a consequence of slack selection criteria and the absence of clearly defined exit policies. These results imply that older generation BIs should update their service portfolio while simultaneously imposing stricter selection criteria and introducing exit policies. Finally, we discuss the wider implications this raises for BIs' managers, prospective tenants and policy makers.},
  number = {2},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Technovation},
  author = {Bruneel, Johan and Ratinho, Tiago and Clarysse, Bart and Groen, Aard},
  month = feb,
  year = {2012},
  keywords = {Business incubation, Business support, Entrepreneurship},
  pages = {110--121}

Gaining leverage effects from knowledge modes within corporate incubators by Barbara Becker and Oliver Gassmann

  title = {Gaining leverage effects from knowledge modes within corporate incubators},
  volume = {36},
  issn = {1467-9310},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1111/j.1467-9310.2005.00411.x},
  abstract = {This paper analyzes the kind of knowledge that facilitates hatching and leveraging of technologies through the incubation process. Four corporate incubator types can be distinguished according to their source and type of technology: fast-profit incubators, market incubators, leveraging incubators, and in-sourcing incubators. Applying the knowledge-based view of the firm, four modes of mainly tacit knowledge were identified in respect to the different incubator types: (1) entrepreneurial knowledge, (2) organizational knowledge, (3) technological knowledge, and (4) complementary market knowledge. Knowledge strategies include both the leveraging of internal knowledge as well as the in-sourcing of external knowledge for the firm through the corporate incubator. The research is based on an analysis of a European Commission dataset from a benchmarking survey of 77 incubators as well as 52 interviews in 25 large technology-driven corporations in Europe and the United States.},
  language = {en},
  number = {1},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {R\&D Management},
  author = {Becker, Barbara and Gassmann, Oliver},
  month = jan,
  year = {2006},
  pages = {1--16}


Understanding a new generation incubation model:The accelerator by Charlotte Pauwels

  series = {Technology {Business} {Incubation}},
  title = {Understanding a new generation incubation model: {The} accelerator},
  volume = {50-51},
  issn = {0166-4972},
  shorttitle = {Understanding a new generation incubation model},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1016/j.technovation.2015.09.003},
  abstract = {Prior research hints at the accelerator as a new generation incubation model. Accelerators have become an umbrella term for any program providing a service structure of mentorship, networking opportunities and access to funding. The challenge, however, is to understand their distinctive characteristics and profiles geared towards reinforcing business start-ups. How do accelerators operate as a new generation incubation model and how do they differ from existing incubation mechanisms? This inductive study investigates 13 accelerators across Europe and adopts a design lens to identify the accelerator model’s key design parameters. We identify five key building blocks and distinguish between three different types of accelerators, taking the primary design theme of the accelerator into account. We contribute to the incubation literature by extending recognition of the heterogeneity of incubation models, by delineating the accelerator as a distinctive incubation model and by introducing the design lens as a useful theoretical framework to investigate incubation models and their evolution.},
  number = {Supplement C},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Technovation},
  author = {Pauwels, Charlotte and Clarysse, Bart and Wright, Mike and Van Hove, Jonas},
  month = apr,
  year = {2016},
  keywords = {Accelerators, Activity system perspective, Design, Incubation models},
  pages = {13--24}

Analysis of Accelerator Companies by David Lynn and Nina Radojevich-Kelley

  title = {Analysis of {Accelerator} {Companies}: {An} {Exploratory} {Case} {Study} of {Their} {Programs}, {Processes}, and {Early} {Results}},
  volume = {8},
  copyright = {Copyright (c)},
  issn = {1944-1169},
  shorttitle = {Analysis of {Accelerator} {Companies}},
  url = {},
  abstract = {The current study utilizes an exploratory case study approach to examine leading accelerator companies in the United States. Specifically, five of the top seed capital companies or accelerators in America were selected and analyzed for purposes of this study. Due to the brief existence of accelerator companies, the limited number of graduates from accelerator programs, and limited quantitative data available, three extensive within-case and three between-case analyses were conducted. The accelerators were examined through case studies, interviews, website analysis, and observation. The results led to propositions that accelerator companies use unique selection criteria and have higher success rates for their graduates. Success rates were based on new ventures that continued to receive subsequent funding or continued to pursue business endeavors versus those who failed. Findings indicate that mentorship driven programs increase the overall success rates of start-ups by providing entrepreneurs with access to angel investors and venture capitalists which tend to increase success rates.},
  language = {en},
  number = {2},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Small Business Institute Journal},
  author = {Radojevich-Kelley, Nina and Hoffman, David Lynn},
  month = oct,
  year = {2012},
  pages = {54--70}

Small Business Innovation Research

Purpose and Performance of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)Program by Ronald Cooper

  title = {Purpose and {Performance} of the {Small} {Business} {Innovation} {Research} ({SBIR}) {Program}},
  volume = {20},
  issn = {0921-898X, 1573-0913},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1023/A:1022212015154},
  abstract = {The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is one of the most successful public programs designed to support small firm innovation. The purpose and structure of the program, however, are often misunderstood. This paper clarifies the goals and rationale for the SBIR program and reviews recent findings regarding the program's impact. The paper identifies five dimensions of the innovation capital gap and outlines a possible extension of the program to better address this finance gap.},
  language = {en},
  number = {2},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Small Business Economics},
  author = {Cooper, Ronald S.},
  month = mar,
  year = {2003},
  pages = {137--151}

The Effects of Government-Industry R\&D Programs on Private R\&D by Scott Wallsten

  title = {The {Effects} of {Government}-{Industry} {R}\&{D} {Programs} on {Private} {R}\&{D}: {The} {Case} of the {Small} {Business} {Innovation} {Research} {Program}},
  volume = {31},
  issn = {0741-6261},
  shorttitle = {The {Effects} of {Government}-{Industry} {R}\&{D} {Programs} on {Private} {R}\&{D}},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.2307/2601030},
  abstract = {I ask whether government-industry commercial R\&D grants increase private R\&D. Regressing some measure of innovation on the subsidy can establish a correlation between grants and R\&D, but it cannot determine whether grants increase firm R\&D or whether firms that do more R\&D receive more grants. Using a dataset of firms involved in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, I estimate a multiequation model to test these hypotheses. Firms with more employees and that appear to do more research win more SBIR grants, but the grants do not affect employment. Moreover, I find evidence that the grants crowd out firm-financed R\&D spending dollar for dollar.},
  number = {1},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {The RAND Journal of Economics},
  author = {Wallsten, Scott J.},
  year = {2000},
  pages = {82--100}

The Government as Venture Capitalist by Josh Lerner

  title = {The {Government} as {Venture} {Capitalist}: {The} {Long}-{Run} {Effects} of the {SBIR} {Program}},
  shorttitle = {The {Government} as {Venture} {Capitalist}},
  url = {},
  abstract = {Public programs to provide early-stage financing to firms, particularly high-technology companies, have become commonplace in the United States and abroad. The long-run effectiveness of these programs, however, has attracted little empirical scrutiny. This paper examines the impact of the largest U.S. public venture capital initiative, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which has provided over \$6 billion to small high-technology firms between 1983 and 1995. Using a unique database" of awardees compiled by the U.S. General Accounting Office, I show that SBIR awardees grew significantly faster than a matched set of firms over a ten-year period. The positive effects of SBIR awards were confined to firms based in zip codes with substantial venture capital activity. The findings are consistent with both the corporate finance literature on capital constraints and the growth literature on the importance of localization effects.},
  number = {5753},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  author = {Lerner, Josh},
  month = sep,
  year = {1996},
  note = {DOI: 10.3386/w5753}

When does funding research by smaller firms bear fruit? by Joshua Gans and Scott Stern

  title = {When does funding research by smaller firms bear fruit?: {Evidence} from the {SBIR} program*},
  volume = {12},
  issn = {1043-8599},
  shorttitle = {When does funding research by smaller firms bear fruit?},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1080/1043859022000014092},
  abstract = {This paper evaluates whether the relative concentration of funding for small, research-oriented firms in a small number of high-technology industries is related to differences across industries in the appropriability level facing small firms. We exploit a novel test based on the relationship between industry-level private venture financing and the performance of government-subsidized R\&D projects. If industries differ in their appropriability level, then private funding and subsidized project performance should be positively correlated. Our principal finding is that subsidized project performance is higher in industrial segments with higher rates of private venture capital investment. Industrial sectors therefore seem to differ in the degree of appropriability and this variation helps explain why venture capital is concentrated. * The latest version of this paper is available at},
  number = {4},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Economics of Innovation and New Technology},
  author = {Gans, Joshua and Stern, Scott},
  month = aug,
  year = {2003},
  keywords = {Appropriability, Capital Constraints, Innovation, Subsidy, Technological Opportunity, Venture Capital},
  pages = {361--384}

The Impact of the SBIR on creating Entrepreneurial Behavior by David Audretsch

  title = {The {Impact} of the {SBIR} on {Creating} {Entrepreneurial} {Behavior}},
  volume = {16},
  issn = {0891-2424},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1177/089124240201600104},
  abstract = {The U.S. Congress created the Small Business Innovation Research program in 1982 in response to the loss of American competitiveness in global markets. Congress mandated that each federal agency allocate approximately 4\% of its annual budget to fund innovative small firms to help restore American international competitiveness. This article examines the impact of the SBIR. Specifically, the authors identify the degree to which (a) SBIR recipients have altered their career choices as a result of the award, particularly with respect to commercialization in the form of a new firm, and (b) their behavior has “spilled over” by inducing other colleagues to commercialize their knowledge by starting a new firm. This enables one to determine how the SBIR has contributed to changing the behavior of knowledge workers and to the creation of a science-based entrepreneurial economy.},
  language = {en},
  number = {1},
  urldate = {2017-11-13},
  journal = {Economic Development Quarterly},
  author = {Audretsch, David B. and Weigand, Juergen and Weigand, Claudia},
  month = feb,
  year = {2002},
  pages = {32--38}