Accelerator Performance


Genevieve Edens
Director of Research and Impact
Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs


Argidius Foundation  |  Emory University  |  Kauffman Foundation  |  Omidyar Network  |  USAID Global Development Lab



The Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) is a collaboration between the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Emory University focused on gaining a better understanding of the impact that startup accelerators are having on new firm formation and success.

During the past decade, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of accelerators have been launched around the world.  Yet, scant research exists assessing these early-stage support vehicles or the effect they are having on business development, especially those in emerging markets.

GALI is exploring and answering key questions about business accelerators, including:

  • Do accelerators contribute to revenue growth?
  • Do they lead to new and better investment opportunities?
  • Do they work as well for developing-world impact entrepreneurs as they do for developed-world tech entrepreneurs?

By collecting and organizing data about accelerators, GALI will empower those seeking to propel entrepreneurship-led economic growth efforts.  For example, entrepreneur support program leaders will be able to make better informed, evidence-based decisions about the design and execution of accelerator programs.

The new datasets will enable entrepreneurship researchers around the world to undertake more in-depth studies at the intersection of entrepreneurial ecosystem development, market-dynamics, and public-sector support efforts – adding to the body of knowledge around what works and what does not in terms of fostering entrepreneurial ventures.

The program collects data from an accelerator’s entire applicant pool, and then conducts follow-on surveys every six months of the entire applicant pool (both those who are selected and those who are not).  Key benefits for participating accelerators include:

  • Statistical intake analysis of the applicant pool – useful for determining whether the accelerator is attracting the right kinds of entrepreneurs.
  • Analysis of selected vs. unselected entrepreneurs – comparing the characteristics of accepted entrepreneurs against those who are not accepted, which is useful for revealing (or confirming) selection biases.
  • Follow-up surveying every six months – to obtain data on specific variables and measure specific impact metrics.
  • Comparative analysis of the changes in the selected group of entrepreneurs against those that applied but were not accepted – useful for understanding the impact an accelerator program has on participating entrepreneurs.
  • Financial incentives for participating entrepreneurs – all entrepreneurs who agree to share their data are entered into a draw (every six months) for a U.S. $5,000 grant.
  • Regional/multi-accelerator analysis – comparing applicant pools and program impacts from one program to other programs within the dataset (for accelerators with more than one location or program per year).

The program is free of charge to accelerators, and the platform is designed to build better programming over time.  Data privacy is a critical consideration – analysis is based on anonymized and aggregated data and no information that may be used to identify an individual entrepreneur or accelerator is ever shared without explicit permission.  More information about the initiative is available in the program process guide.

The more accelerators that participate in this effort the better.  Genevieve Edens at ANDE ( and Caitlin O’Donnell at Emory University ( are the points of contact for accelerator program directors or managers.

GALI is made possible through the support of the Global Development Lab at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Omidyar NetworkThe Lemelson Foundation, and the Argidius Foundation.  This public-private partnership has committed U.S. $2.3 million over the next three years to scale the program by collecting data on more than 10,000 firms globally.  In addition, the Kauffman Foundation, Banamex and Stitching DOEN have provided complementary support to the initiative.