Where Do Accelerators Fit in the Venture Creation Pipeline? Different Values Brought by Different Types of Accelerators

Abstract

Despite the emergence of startup accelerators as venture development organizations (VDOs) to high-growth firms, research has yet to identify where these accelerators fit into the venture development ecosystem. By clarifying and reviewing three different subsystems in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, our paper proposes that as an extension of the current incubation mechanism, accelerators contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem by transforming entrepreneurs and their ventures at early stages. Drawing upon the Pipeline model (Lichtenstein, G. A., and T. S. Lyons. 2006. “Managing the community's pipeline of entrepreneurs and enterprises: A new way of thinking about business assets.” Economic Development Quarterly 20 (4): 377–386.), we first plot where the accelerator model fits in the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem, and then demonstrate how different types of accelerators help participating entrepreneurs and their ventures progress along the venture development pipeline. Our theoretical approach contributes to both the entrepreneurship ecosystem and the accelerator literature and provides a practical map for both policymakers and early-stage entrepreneurs to manage and utilize their entrepreneurship ecosystem more effectively.

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