How do you measure innovation?
Turns out there’s more than one way to skin this cat. The International Business Innovation Association has aself-assessment tool that rates an incubator’s program effectiveness. Metrics from other organizations focus just on business performance.
A study from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) seeks to bridge this gap by rating both the incubators/accelerators themselves and the strength of the businesses they support.
On the programming side, ICIC looked at eight indicators:
- Business education
- Equity connections
- Debt connections
- Grant connections
- Capital access training
- Customer connections
- International customer connections
- Professional support service connections
To rate the strength of startups, ICIC chose 11 key indicators:
- Share of businesses that generated any revenue
- Average revenue
- Share of businesses that reported any positive net income
- Average positive net income
- Share of businesses that raised any equity
- Average equity raised in previous year
- Share of businesses that received any debt capital
- Average debt capital in previous year
- Share of businesses that were awarded any grants
- Average grants received in previous year
- Share of businesses that received any patents in previous year
A lack of data is a recurring challenge to measuring incubator and accelerator impact. Collecting more raw numbers on incubator and accelerator performance would greatly aid evaluation going forward.