Accelerators are a recent yet rapidly growing phenomenon within entrepreneurial ecosystems. The distinctive characteristics exhibited by accelerators, relative to previous incubation models, imply that accelerators may play a different role and have a different impact on the survival rates of participating firms. In this study, we explore the relationship between participation in an accelerator program and firm survival using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) with key variables related to firm survival. We analyze 38 accelerated startups from five Italian accelerators and a control group of 38 non-accelerated Italian startups. Our findings support the business accelerator literature that regards accelerators as a new and distinct generation of business incubators. Our results suggest that participation in accelerator programs on its own does not influence firm survival. However, we found a relationship between firm survival and accelerated technology-based firms that do not export and between firm survival and accelerated firms in the service sector with a small team that do not export. We conclude that factors affecting the survival of accelerated firms are different from factors affecting the survival of incubated firms, providing further evidence of the characteristics that distinguish accelerators from incubators.

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Sprott School of Business

Del Sarto, N. (Nicola), Isabelle, D, & Di Minin, A. (Alberto). (2019). The role of accelerators in firm survival: An fsQCA analysis of Italian startups. Technovation. doi:10.1016/j.technovation.2019.102102