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Start-up factories, transnational entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystems: unpacking the lure of start-up accelerator programmes

Abstract

This paper examines the role of accelerator programmes in promoting transnational entrepreneurship. Designed to assist the growth of start-ups by providing seed finance and structured entrepreneurship support, these programmes are now a prominent feature in many entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. Drawing on in-depth qualitative evidence focused on one particular programme, the paper shows accelerators play an important intermediary or ‘brokerage mechanism’ providing start-ups with enhanced relational connections and networks. Transnational entrepreneurs attracted to these programmes are highly focused on exploiting these networks whilst maintaining multiple levels of embeddedness in various contexts to maximize the opportunities afforded by accelerators. While many governments are attempting to replicate accelerators programmes within the public sector, the paper concludes that such attempts may prove problematic within weaker entrepreneurial ecosystems.

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