IEDC: Incubators and accelerators: How to measure success?

From IEDC.

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.

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