Our new report, The Multidimensional Impact of Entrepreneurial Support Programs: Key Takeaways for Program Development and Evaluation, highlights the interrelated impact of entrepreneurship training on individuals, ventures, and ecosystems.
why consider the multidimensional impact of entrepreneurial support programs (ESPs)?
Over the past decades, the number and types of ESPs have increased. But how do we know whether ESPs work? Do they help entrepreneurs grow, and effectively launch startups? While many organizations are implementing ESPs, it is often difficult to know whether we are making progress—and how to strengthen our efforts.
To date, much of the work describing the impact of ESPs, such as incubators and accelerators, has focused on stages after business formation, considering outcomes such as follow-on funding, employees hired, and revenue. While critical milestones, with such a narrow focus, ESPs miss an opportunity to measure—and support the development of—a variety of other impacts that they can have on early-stage innovators. This limits their ability to explain the breadth of program benefits to participants, promote their program to partners, and evaluate the effectiveness of their program.
In The Multidimensional Impact of Entrepreneurial Support Programs, we summarize three key takeaways that can be helpful for other ESPs:
- Structure the curriculum of the program to address the most relevant gaps and needs to support venture creation and development.
- Be intentional about how your program aims to impact program participants as individuals.
- Consider how the program supports development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Rooting our evaluation of the E-Team program in a three-level framework— individual, venture, and ecosystem—has helped us uncover insights that will support us in further developing our program, engaging program participants, and communicating the program’s value to funders,” said Lauren Gase, PhD, Senior Evaluation Analyst at VentureWell. “We hope these findings provide fodder for ESPs to consider when developing and evaluating programs, including what strategies to employ, evaluative questions to investigate, and success indicators to track.”
share your input
We are excited to hear from you about your work to support early-stage innovators. Please send your questions, comments, and insights to: Lauren Gase, PhD, Senior Evaluation Analyst at VentureWell: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete our download form to access The Multidimensional Impact of Entrepreneurial Support Programs.