Accelerators and acceleration: a development policy in entrepreneurial contexts of an emerging economy
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date16/01/2024
Despite the increasing popularity of business accelerators to support entrepreneurial ventures in emerging economies, there is still limited research on how accelerators interact and operate within diverse entrepreneurial and economic contexts. The institutional voids, resource scarcity and structural gaps in emerging economies question classic accelerator design's appropriacy and interaction with regional ecosystems. Meanwhile, some policymakers and researchers conceive the acceleration model as a development policy to support regional entrepreneurial and economic goals. Given the research and practice gap, this study takes a regional perspective on accelerator design and functions, focusing on differences between entrepreneurial contexts. Building on that, policy mobility and mutation lens demonstrate the transfer and transformation of the accelerator model in emerging economies as a multi-scaled process dependent on regional contexts. Evidence comprises 41 semi-structured interviews with accelerator founders/ managers, startup founders, investors, and support organizations from three regional ecosystems of Pakistan. The interviews are complemented with internal reports, online data and webinars to develop a thick understanding of acceleration practices, constraints and impact on regional ecosystems. Overall, qualitative methods guide the collection, analysis, and interpretation of how local entrepreneurial contexts shape the accelerator’s forms and functions. This study adds to academic and policy debates on accelerators, focusing on organizational, social, cultural, spatial and temporal contexts affecting the program design, organizational forms and broader ecosystem functions of accelerators. Accelerators act as a dynamic development policy and strategize sustainable approaches to arrange necessary knowledge, network and capital for entrepreneurs and the local ecosystem. Accelerators take a holistic approach to ecosystem development through continuous, connected, and concurrent mobility, mutation, and assemblage of borrowed knowledge, internalized accelerator forms, diffused networks and shared resources between near and far ecosystems. The findings emphasize a global context for accelerators with transnational resource channels between ecosystems. The study also demonstrates a two-way recursive relationship between regional entrepreneurial contexts, symbolizing the accelerator’s co-creating and co-evolving nature.