Incubator or Accelerator?
In traditional business sectors, “incubators” and “accelerators” generally focus on different stages of enterprise development – incubators typically serve earlier stage enterprises (pre-customers and pre-revenue), while accelerators support enterprises with existing customers and revenue. However, we have found that these differences are less distinct for the impact investing sector. For the purposes of this paper, we will use the term “accelerator” to describe an organization that provides some subset of the support outlined in this report, at any stage of development.
The Role of Accelerators
Over the past several years, actors in the impact investing sector have developed a growing recognition that early-stage support—specifically, in the form of business incubators and accelerators – is a key intervention to addressing the “Pioneer Gap.” Business incubators and accelerators support early-stage entrepreneurs by providing them with:
This study surveys 52 impact focused accelerators worldwide, to better understand their characteristics, operations, and performance.