The ESHIP Summit is a convening that brings together entrepreneurial ecosystem builders — leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship.

At the 2019 Summit we built on our work at past events to continue to push the emerging field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building forward, towards solutions to the ESHIP Goals – a set of collective objectives for the field to prioritize, organize, and collaborate, as we work together.

We explored many existing ecosystem building tools some showcased publicly for the first time. This will include field-tested approaches to inclusive ecosystem building, best practices for fostering collaboration across a community,  measurement approaches for ecosystem metrics and more.

  • 50+ national resource organizations shared ecosystem building tools, programs, and practices that participants could take back to their community.
  • We spent time working in small groups to activate more teams building new ecosystem building tools –  where solutions don’t yet exist.
  • We also collaborated to refining and building further consensus around the mission, values, and vision of our emerging field.
  • All the while, connecting attendees to a growing national network of peers and resource providers who can help ecosystem builders move their own work forward.
  • We made lots of new friends supporting and learning about each other’s work.
  • And we ate good food while exploring the sights and sounds of Kansas City.



Since its inception in 2014, Sankalp Africa has become one of the region's leading events for social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

The Africa summit witnesses hundreds of game-changing social entrepreneurs interact with investors and ecosystem builders every year.

Join us for the Sankalp Africa Summit 2020 Edition!

Festival for the Future 2019

Be part of New Zealand's most inspiring event.

Festival for the Future is an action-packed weekend of inspiring speakers, future-focused panels, workshops and a marketplace for great ideas. People come from every region nationwide, and increasingly the Asia–Pacific region.

Where did the Festival come from?

The Festival is a New Zealand innovation that started way back in 2011, and has grown every year since. More than 5,000 people have now attended. The Festival is run by Inspiring Stories, and was founded by Guy Ryan, who went on to be awarded Young New Zealander of the Year in 2015.

Who's behind it?

Festival for the Future is run by Inspiring Stories, the Kiwi charity backing young New Zealanders to change the world.

Inspiring Stories has built an impressive track record of programmes and partnerships, that have now supported thousands young New Zealanders to build their entrepreneurship and leadership capability, and their ideas to make a difference. Learn about Inspiring Stories >>

Get Tickets. Join the future!

There’s a handful of tickets available at the SUPER Early Bird rate, which are on sale now til the end of March, or until sold out. Get in quick!

Bigger ticket deals, marketplace or sponsorship?

Whether it’s a prestigious development opportunity for your staff, or increasing the visibility of your organisation – there’s some great ways to get involved in the Festival. Contact our sales team to learn more.

Contact – // 021 222 7810

ANDE SGB Orientation Training: Intro to SGB Investing

The ANDE SGB Investing Orientation Training is a two-day comprehensive overview of the small and growing business sector with a focus on how to make impact investments in emerging market enterprises. The agenda will include sessions on: financial models, doing deals, impact investing, sector analysis, business plans, case studies, social entrepreneurship 101, and more!

Geared towards new hires, summer associates, and those new to the sector, 300+ individuals have participated in this training over the past five years.

For questions related to this training, email

SEED: Gathering the Impact Ecosystem

A reprise of the successful 2018 gathering, the founders of SOCAP and Impact Hub SF are coming together to join a wide array of leaders for a conference on the seed stage funding and acceleration ecosystem, for a deep dive into what’s working and what’s next; locally, regionally and around the world. Seed stage impact investing and entrepreneurship tend to live in silos across technology, financial inclusion, housing, consumer goods, health, cryptocurrencies, agriculture and food systems …and in geographic regions. We will break down the industry and geographic boundaries that tend to compartmentalize our selective and collective efforts.

This deep practitioner convening will allow for the exchange of winning strategies, and sharing of near and long-term development plans. Together, we will discuss gaps and opportunities in the sector, and push forward actionable concepts to evolve and augment the ecosystem that supports seed stage ventures.

WARM UP EVENING - Sunday May 19 - 5-9pm | Networking, Meet Ups and Registration

DAY ONE - May 20 - 9am to 9pm | The Now: What’s Working and What’s Not + Party

DAY TWO - May 21 - 9am to 5pm | The Next: Taking the Seed Stage Ecosystem Into the Future

Expert ‘fish bowl’ assessments, design labs, short form keynotes and plenaries, as well as product and practice demos, will be mixed in to ensure collaborative exchanges that honor that every attendee has expertise to bring to the convening, and that info delivery must be varied, creative and interactive. Space is limited to ensure high-quality idea exchange.

SISTER CONFERENCE: Also join us at TRANSFORM, to see what lies beyond sustainability, and beyond impact as usual, taking place starting 5pm May 22 through 5pm May 24 2019 right after SEED. Interested in coming to both conferences? Sign up for our Transform newsletter for information on discounts!

In collaboration with Impact Hub San Francisco

Produced and hosted by GatherLab

Beaches, Bonding, and Businesses with purpose: OC 2018

In his newly published blog post, Pratik shares his takeaways and observations from attending the annual Opportunity Collaboration Global conference in Cancún, Mexico. 

I was one of the 440 delegates selected to attend the Opportunity Collaboration gathering in Cancun, Mexico in October this year. OC 2018 brought together 400+ nonprofit executives, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers, impact investors, corporates, media and academics building sustainable solutions to poverty and injustice.

Being in Cancun to attend the gathering meant taking a 30-hour flight from India and skipping work for a week; considering the opportunity cost, I had pretty high expectations from the convening. (Here are the possibilities I expected to unleash prior to OC 2018 published in Medium —

Being back in Delhi now, I can comfortably say that OC not only exceeded my expectations, but also gave me a family of extraordinary people spread across the world.

OC 2018 created productive and meaningful connections through the combination of leaders, purpose-businesses, policy, and technology.

Co-creating solutions to poverty with 400+ impact leaders by the Caribbean

The adventure began when I entered the location of the conference, Club Med, in Cancun — It immediately appeared to be a beautiful and heavenly place. Built on a private peninsula and lined by three spectacular beaches alongside the world’s second-largest coral reef, Club Med offers everything: gorgeous beaches, delicious local and global cuisine at various restaurants, and water-based adventures. It is both an ideal place to relax and to put your thinking hat on to co-create solutions to world’s most pressing challenges.

With Topher, CEO of Opportunity Collaboration and Avary, Exec Director of

My 5-day roller coaster OC journey kicked off with meeting two of my favorite superhumans: Topher Wilkins, CEO of Opportunity Collaboration, and Avary Kent, Executive Director of We had an energising discussion exploring possible collaborations to take our current projects to the next level in order to better the world. Sipping a fancy mocktail at Club Med’s Soluna bar, I walked amidst the breeze towards the “Adventure Zone” and decided to try archery for the first time. Avary was kind enough to be my guide and I managed to learn enough tricks from her to even hit a bullseye.

Tried Archery for the first time

After archery in the afternoon, I headed from the Adventure Zone to the La Hacienda restaurant (I discovered there were 3 restaurants serving different cuisines) for dinner and caught up with a few fellow OC delegates. Every person I met was leading incredible efforts to change the world, had lots of energy and passion, and was also so encouraging, kind, and generous. Receiving so much warmth from fellow delegates made me feel at home and I felt blessed to be a new member to the OC Family!

I decided to eat dinner with fellow members of the community, whose mission states : “We are conveners for common good, coordinating, cooperating, and collaborating to advance our individual impact and collective impact in the social sector.” Over a 5 course delicious meal, I had an interesting conversation with a delegate and she offered to launch INY leadership movement — the social enterprise I run, in her home state in Washington.

After dinner at around 10pm, another delegate suggested we take a dip in the pool. While enjoying the warm Mexican evening weather in the pool, we conversed about the importance of climate change. The delegate was a Climate Scientist at UC Berkeley and we decided to collaboratively host Climate Change convenings in India. (A few months ago I was selected as one of the 75 Global Shapers to receive training in Climate Reality by former US Vice President Al Gore in Los Angeles. Here are my reflections also published by the World Economic Forum —

At OC’s signature seminar — Colloquium for the Common Good

Early in the morning the next day, all the delegates gathered for an energising yoga session. I was very excited to attend my first Colloquium for the Common Good with 20 fellow delegates. The Colloquium is Opportunity Collaboration’s signature seminar on executive leadership, economic justice and the good society. Brilliantly moderated by Zohra Zohri, the Colloquium addressed the principles that drive poverty alleviation and asked us to think pragmatically about the nature of our leadership. We bonded very well over 4 colloquiums; it was definitely one of the best and unique seminars that I have attended. Also, it is the only seminar where I was able to sport a tee shirt and shorts — not bad, right?

A typical day at the OC included attending a colloquium, having conversations for change, capacity building clinics, and lunch/dinner salons. Conversations for Change are two-hour work sessions in which delegates intensively describe missions, strategies and common challenges around a central question, policy issue or theme. Salons are delegate-led mealtime discussions on a relevant topic of interest. Capacity-Building Clinics are delegate-inspired and organized professional development sessions in which delegates intensively coach each other.

Co-catalysed a Conversation for Change on Harnessing Youth Leadership to Shape the World with Erina McWilliam-Lopez and Annie Makela

Not only did I attend these amazing sessions, I also had the honor to co-catalyse a Conversation for Change on “Harnessing Youth Leadership to shape the world”. We spent 2 hours deliberating on the future of education and the classroom of 2050! By the Atlantic ocean, folks brainstormed curriculum, physical spaces for learning, faculty and mentors in 2050 and how we can make education more relevant for the future generations. I sincerely enjoyed co-hosting the session and it was a fantastic experience! 

I spent a lot of time during the next 4 days over 1:1 networking appointments with notable attendees. These meetings were very unique and special. Over pool, bar or beach, I ended up making great friends through these appointments. I have already collaborated with 3 folks from 3 different countries to take the INY (India Needs You) leadership movement to the next level. The details of this process will make for an independent story soon.

Other charming vignettes of the OC included bonding with fellow delegates over adventure activities like trapeze, snorkeling, kayaking, water boating, and water skiing. While learning the many trapeze tricks with interesting names such as the Knee Hang, Gazelle, Straddle Whip, and the Splits, we continued our deeper conversations regarding cryptocurrency and Universal Basic Income. While exploring the Atlantic ocean, we also ended up exploring so many possibilities that exist to expand our work and amplify our impact. I even ended up learning a new favorite hobby: adventure water sports!

At the end of long days, carefree beach parties seemed a need of the hour. Donning our respective cultural attires (folks came from over 30 countries), we all hit the beach dancing. While the party was happening, we tried our hands at acrobatics. I never in my life thought I would have such an experience with such awesome humans from around the globe, and I am still in awe of the events that transpired at OC 2018.

Birthday Night Beach Party with superhumans

Back in India as a more socially-conscious and purpose-driven leader with so many new friends, I write this as I continue to miss the OC adventure and extraordinary people I met. Blessed to be a part of the OC family, I am amazed and look forward to the array of opportunities that will open as I explore the friendships and connections forged at OC 2018.

PS: I am still overwhelmed with the support I have received from the OC family. I am very excited to dive deep into the OC community of 2000+ hard-working people making differences to create even more friendships and collaborations.

Post PS: I also happened to share my birthday during OC 2018; It was the best birthday week I could have wished for!


Pratik Gauri is the Founder of India Needs, is an Asian Youth Inspiration Awardee, a Global-Shaper of the World Economic Forum, a Climate Reality Leader, SLP Fellow, and  GAP Changemaker. The original posting of this article is on

ONE WORLD: Innovations in Corporate Social Impact Summit

A fantastic line-up of corporate professionals will offer insight into the various initiatives underway at their organizations geared at increasing corporate social and environmental impact. With many activities now extending far beyond traditional corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, the primary goals of this event are to educate participants about the practical programs and initiatives achieving success and generating maximum impact through an in-depth program of talks, panel discussions and peer-to-peer networking.

Focus - This program is focused on corporate initiatives where both financial and social goals are achieved simultaneously.
Participants - Attendees across a variety of corporate functions: Executive Office, Product and Service Line Leaders, Finance, Marketing & Sales, HR and Operations.
Local - The program is designed for companies based in the Bay Area to build the community of local professionals working toward a common cause.

COHERENCE COLLABORATIVE: Wisdom Quest for Leaders: A Retreat to Connect, Regenerate, and Create Impact

Now more than ever, business leaders and professionals are choosing to make financial, social and environmental accountability a priority at work and at home. Whether you are someone who is already an active part of this shift or looking for the inspiration and support to begin to take those first steps, Wisdom Quest for Leaders is about creating a foundation to help leaders implement change in their organization, industries, and/or communities.

Join like-minded business leaders and professionals at the beautiful Garrison Institute for two and a half days of group convening, peer-to-peer interactive activities, networking, discussions, gentle physical movement, relaxation, writing, contemplation, and time spent in nature during Hudson Valley's peak foliage color season. Conducted by leading experts, the goal of this journey is to share with you the tools to align your day-to-day performance and that of your organization with your socially conscious priorities.

As a business leader, you are in a unique position to effectuate significant change in your business and your community. Be inspired, create positive social impact, and inspire others!

Whether you are an entrepreneur, CEO, COO, impact investor, activist, public servant, director of a for-profit or nonprofit organization, or of an economic development agency, this retreat is for you.

Early Stage Entrepreneurship Support Programs

Early entrepreneurship support programs come in various forms, however, there are four main types: accelerators, incubators and coworking spaces, events and competitions, and formal degree or educational programs. They exist across multiple sectors (e.g., public, private, social) and vary widely in quality and scope, which contributes to a mix of research findings about how they impact entrepreneur formation and startup outcomes.


Early stage entrepreneurship support programs are increasingly popular, with thousands of programs existing across the U.S and abroad to support entrepreneurs and startups. Many of these programs are relatively new and hail from a range of sectors, including federal, state, and local governments. Universities play an increasing role, with most colleges having some form of entrepreneurial support program, and many larger universities hosting several. Non-profits and for-profit corporations alike also create programs to support startups and their founders. A whole industry now exists around supporting entrepreneurs with varied business models including fee-for-service, rent-for-workspace, equity-for-seed investments, philanthropic donations, and more. Entrepreneurial support programs have become ubiquitous, however they come in several types. Four main categories of early stage entrepreneurship support programs are outlined below.



The accelerator is a new form of financing and early stage entrepreneurship support program that was pioneered by Y Combinator in 2005. While the number of privately-funded accelerators has increased rapidly in the United States and worldwide, university-based and government-sponsored accelerators are growing in numbers as well. The typical accelerator consists of a time-boxed program with a combination of education, mentorship, and funding, often culminating in a demo day, but the exact structure and terms continue to diversify.

  • Privately-funded accelerators such as Y Combinator, Techstars, and 500 Startups operate primarily as early-stage investors in startups. Similar to venture capitalists and angel investors, accelerators invest in startups in exchange for equity, but the investment amount is much lower. Applications to this type of accelerator are typically open to any founder, and they are followed by a rigorous screening process to narrow down to the final cohort of startups. During the program, founders learn more about building a company through educational workshops, and are connected with various mentors affiliated with the accelerator. The large number of mentors is one of the distinguishing features of accelerators. Oftentimes, these accelerators also offer coworking spaces for the cohort, so founders are also able to learn and receive feedback from their peers. The end of the program is marked by demo day, which is an opportunity for founders to pitch their company in front of an audience with the goal of raising additional funding and awareness. Corporate-sponsored accelerators operate similarly, but usually with a focus on a specific industry sector or technology platform (such as Windows Azure).The academic literature has largely focused on privately-funded accelerators, specifically, on how participation affects performance and learning outcomes Hallen, Bingham, and Cohen, 2014; Winston and Hannigan, 2015; Yu, 2015. While the findings on fundraising have been mixed, research consistently finds that companies that participate in accelerators go out of business faster—potentially a positive “fail faster” situation.
  • University-based accelerators such as StartX tend to emphasize education and entrepreneurial experience over financial returns. Moreover, often founders have to be affiliated with the university. The main difference between university and privately-funded accelerators is that founders receive grants rather than having to dilute the company in exchange for seed financing. In the handful of instances that university accelerators do extract equity, they tends to take lower percentages than non-university accelerators (~2-3%). These arrangements are also found more often in biotech and life science university incubators than more open tech incubators. Furthermore, many university accelerators are built around a structured curriculum such as Lean Launchpad and offer students their first exposure to entrepreneurship.
  • Government-sponsored initiatives such as Start-Up Chile and the Growth Accelerator Fund generally invest in accelerators rather than companies themselves. The primary goal is to encourage economic growth, which in turn attracts accelerators and startups focused on specific aspects of regional impact, such as job growth and education. While government-sponsored accelerators are still growing in numbers, there is some evidence that certain aspects of the accelerator, such as schooling services, can increase the performance of companies Gonzalez-Uribe and Leatherbee, 2016.
  • In addition to different sponsoring entities, accelerators may also differ by their technology focus. For example Y Combinator is industry-agnostic while QB3 admits only startups in life sciences. Furthermore, several accelerators focused on underrepresented groups, such as MergeLane, have also emerged as a vehicle to increase diversity in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Incubators and Coworking Spaces

Incubators have overlapping functions with accelerators—namely mentorship, technical assistance, and often some form of seed funding—yet they can be differentiated from accelerators in a few key ways as well. Incubators tend to be longer in duration, usually around two or three years, compared to the multi-month accelerator timeframes. The impact of Incubators on their portfolio companies is difficult to untangle, but research has suggested that incubation has mixed results: decreasing survival rates but improving sales growth in companies that "graduate" out of the space (Amezcua 2010) Incubators tend to have a broad range of local companies rather than cohorts of industry-specific companies. And incubators tend to provide physical infrastructure more often than the culminating demo day approach found more commonly in accelerators (Dempwolf, Auer, D’Ippolito, 2014). Coworking spaces share this emphasis on providing physical infrastructure with incubators, often with educational opportunities as well. Coworking spaces differ in that many allow freelancers or branches of small companies to occupy space, in addition to startup ventures.

  • Incubators themselves have different strategies and practices. In terms of selection strategies, some are idea-focused while others are entrepreneur-focused. Concurrently, some select earlier stage ventures with a “survival-of-the-fittest” approach, while others carefully vet already promising teams for a “picking-the-winners” approach. The range of business support and innovation exist along a continuum from laissez-faire to strong intervention. Some have an emphasis on certain technology or regional innovation area clusters (e.g., life sciences, hardware, social ventures), while others tend to be more open (Bergek and Norrman, 2008).
  • Different types of incubators tend to have different kinds of outcomes. Private and basic research incubators tend to outperform economic development incubators at achieving their goals, while university incubators appear somewhere in the middle (Barbero et al., 2012).
  • University incubators are a rapidly growing part of the incubator landscape, claiming about a third of the share of incubators in the U.S. (Torrance, 2013). Like incubators outside of the academy, they also display a wide range of quality and industry foci. More recently, incubators targeting student entrepreneurs have emerged and are spreading at a range of institutions, including lower-ranking universities and community colleges (Mars and Ginter, 2012).
  • Coworking spaces have many of the elements of incubators, however they are not always exclusively for startup ventures. They often include individual freelancers and small staff teams that may function as a satellite site of a larger company headquartered in another city. Most provide open floor plans with drop-in desks for a few hundred dollars a month, and with more expensive plans for designated desk space or private offices (Spinuzzi, 2012). Their effectiveness in spurring synergy, productivity, and knowledge sharing are still under review, but it does appear that proximity to colleagues has modest benefits (e.g. Parrino, 2015). Coworking spaces are a growing phenomenon in most U.S. cities in part because of rising interest in startups, but also because of the steady increase in alternative work arrangements in the new economy (e.g., freelance, independent contract, contingent, and part-time).

Prize Competitions and Events

Prize competitions have a long and storied career in the history of innovation and entrepreneurship, including the solution to the calculation of longitude by English clockmaker and entrepreneur John Harrison (Sobel, 2007). Since the Longitude Prize, policy-makers have attempted to facilitate the entry and success of new innovative ideas through the creation of prize competitions for both the ideas themselves and new businesses that incorporate them. Prizes excel at inducing entry (especially heterogeneous) of new participants in an innovation ecosystem, but prize competitions also redirect labor and attention toward competition (potentially at the cost of useful work) so that prize competition design can have surprising consequences. Early theoretical work on the mechanism behind prize competitions has stressed monetary rewards, but the empirical work in prizes has suggested that non-monetary incentives seem to dominate monetary in the actual operation of prizes. The emerging empirical evidence on prize competitions has stressed the non-monetary impacts of competitions such as the signal value obtained by winning a competition (Brunt et al., 2012). Thus, prize competitions are one of the ways in which entrepreneurs can improve their capacity to gain access to critical resources. Another set of institutions that facilitate the process of resource acquisition are networking events which improve an entrepreneur's social capital. Taken together, competitions and prizes are critical institutions in an innovation ecosystem that facilitate the improvement of the capacity of early stage firms to gain resources.

  • Much of our understanding of prize competitions comes from the innovation literature that has focused on comparisons to other funding mechanisms. In his analysis of patents, prizes, and procurement, Wright shows that each of these mechanisms can be the optimal funding mechanisms in his model under different parameter conditions (Wright, 1983). Gallini and Scotchmer (2002) use patent design to explore the impact of institutions on how information aggregation shapes cumulative innovation, suggesting that critical information and capacity/willingness to pursue a new opportunity are not always housed in the same firm (Gallini and Scotchmer, 2002). A similar theme is echoed in Kremer and Williams (2010) who sketch out the trade-offs of a range of incentive mechanisms for innovation, stressing the importance of demand uncertainty as a main driver in market failures for products like vaccines (Kremer and Williams, 2010).
  • Other researchers have noted that there is a significant discrepancy between the theoretical motivation for prizes developed in the economics literature, which stresses the incentive effects of monetary reward, and the rationale for competition participation put forward by participants, who stress the importance of additional non-pecuniary receipts including novel information on customers, media attention, and a certification effect of winning (Murray et al., 2012). These non-monetary incentives evoke previous discussions by economists about the signaling rationale for participating in open source software development (Lerner and Tirole, 2002), but otherwise economic theory has remained relatively blind to the importance of non-monetary rewards.One of the few empirical attempts to characterize the impact of prize competitions on innovation is Brunt et al. (2012) on the agricultural prizes in England where they find that the value of monetary rewards was not as important as the medals that were given out (Brunt et al., 2012). The participants in the agricultural prizes benefitted more from the credentialing effects of prizes as a signal of the quality of their innovation than from the direct resources provided. The importance of non-monetary rewards in prize competitions has also been found in modern prizes such as the X-Prize and Northrop Grumman’s Lunar Lander prize (Kay, 2011). Similarly, the benefit of SBIR grants by entrepreneurial firms is more in the signal value to other external funders than the dollar value of the grant (Lerner, 1999; Howell 2015). In that sense, prize competitions operate in much the same way as other status mechanisms that operate to enable entrepreneurs to acquire resources more easily (Stuart, Hoang, and Hybels, 1999; Waguespack and Fleming, 2009). Relatedly, participating in prestigious accelerators and incubators can have a similar status signaling effect on startups, providing nonmaterial value that goes beyond the seed money or physical space these programs offer. This effect contributes to the mixed results in the literature on the effectiveness of such programs.
  • Formal networking events also increase the capacity of entrepreneurs to acquire critical resources to build their new ventures. A plethora of studies have noted the importance of entrepreneurs’ initial social capital in determining the survival chances of a new company (Shane and Stuart, 2002; Shane and Cable, 2002; Hallen, 2008). At a more macro-level, regional studies have found that geographies with higher levels of social capital produce more successful startups (Laursen, Masciarelli, and Prencipe, 2012; Samila and Sorenson, 2013; Kwon, Heflin, and Ruef, 2013). Fewer studies have explored the mechanisms whereby startup founders can improve their social capital. The likelihood that entrepreneurs seek outside advice is moderated by the provision of networking events and the level of entrepreneurship in their area (Davidsson and Honig, 2003), but their ability to capitalize on these networking events is highly influenced by their status characteristics (e.g., race and gender) (Abraham, 2014).

Degrees and Education

Entrepreneurship education programs have become widespread in U.S. colleges and universities, numbering more than 5,000 thousand courses on entrepreneurism nationwide as of 2008, with continued growth since (Torrance, 2013). Nearly every accredited school of business in the country hosts at least one class if not several, and hundreds offer formal certificates and degrees in entrepreneurship. Nor are entrepreneurship programs limited to business schools, with programs springing up in engineering and computer science schools, medical schools, law schools, and more. Beyond post-secondary programs, entrepreneurship education programs are offered in a variety of contexts from secondary and vocational schools to students enrolled as part of an unemployment relief program (Valerio, Parton, and Robb, 2014). Indeed, internationally, entrepreneurship education has been deployed as part of an effort at poverty reduction in a large number of contexts (McKenzie and Woodruff, 2013). Yet despite the huge number of programs, the literature on entrepreneurial education programs offers less than straightforward answers on how effective they are at increasing entrepreneurial intention, rates of startups, and long-term venture success.

  • Part of the lack of clarity comes from conflicting research reports. Some of the contradictory findings, however, can be explained due to entrepreneurship education research that suffers from: (1) a lack of theoretical grounding; (2) lack of methodological rigor; (3) lack of examination of moderators—or confounding variables, like family exposure to entrepreneurism, race, class, gender, immigration status, nationality, etc.; and (4) and lack of longitudinal tracking (Honing and Martin, 2014).
  • A meta-analysis shows that despite some of these contradictory outcomes, overall a modest net positive influence exists between entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurial knowledge and skill, positive perceptions of entrepreneurship, intentions to become an entrepreneur, and to a lesser degree on startup creation and performance outcomes. Academic entrepreneurship education environments appear to be slightly more effective than training or non-academic environments (Martin et al., 2013).
  • Another review of the literature on entrepreneurial education outcomes—this one exclusively in higher education settings—similarly finds modest positive relationships between entrepreneurship education and various entrepreneurial outcomes, especially the subjective outcomes (e.g., intention to startup, inspiration, knowledge) over the objective outcomes (e.g., actually starting up, long-term venture survival, financial outcomes). Notably, the relationships were stronger where the education included an emphasis on experiential learning rather than primarily classroom-based pedagogies (Nabi et al., forthcoming).

Future Research

  • Accelerators: While academic research related to accelerators has increased in recent years, there are still open questions surrounding the role of accelerators in the entrepreneurial process and their impact on the ecosystem as a whole. For example, do accelerator cohorts encourage founders or create competition? Do accelerators enable more entrepreneurship in a region? Furthermore, collecting data on nascent firms and having good counterfactuals for comparison remains a challenge. Quasi-experimental techniques and randomized controlled trials would be beneficial for establishing causal linkages between accelerators and performance outcomes.
  • Coworking Spaces: Future research on coworking spaces should look at the differences between spaces made up mostly or exclusively of entrepreneurs compared to those with varying proportions of freelancers and independent contractors. Do these groups share enough similarity in culture to benefit each other, or not? More work also needs done on the impact of spatial layout on synergy, information sharing, and productivity.
  • Incubators: Future research on incubators will benefit from attention given to the rapidly growing share of incubators found in universities. How do university-sponsored incubators compare with non-university sponsored incubators? Further, some evidence exists that startups may move between incubators, sometimes moving from less to more prestigious programs as the startup develops. Does this “fish-ladder” approach to moving between incubators enhance startup outcomes (by nurturing startups in evolving stages of development), or potentially hinder them (by putting unviable startups on “life support” for longer than they perhaps should be)?
  • Prize Competitions and Events: Future research on the impact of prize competitions and events should attempt to dissect the impact of the design of these institutions. In terms of prize competitions, researchers should focus on how the structure of judging impacts the startup firms that are selected and how the changes to prize terms vary the startups that apply to the competition. In terms of events, researchers can use the institution itself to understand better the mechanism whereby startup founders accrue and mobilize social capital in order to acquire the resources necessary to build their firms.
  • Educational Programs: Future research on the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education should improve by comparing several institutions (avoiding single institution studies), gaining a longitudinal over cross-sectional emphasis, drilling into the actual differences of course content and pedagogical styles (not all education is equal), as well as taking seriously variables related to the students (e.g., race, class, gender, previous entrepreneurial exposure). In addition, some evidence suggests that certain types of entrepreneurial education (e.g., a single course in business plan writing) actually can decrease the likelihood of the student attempting entrepreneurship. How do one or two courses, compared to a certificate, compared to a formal major or minor, and/or master’s degrees in entrepreneurship impact outcomes? Is it possible that undergraduates at the traditional age (18-22 years old) are not served well by an emphasis on the rigors of entrepreneurism, which detracts from their academics as well as more traditional internship experiences (nor appears to lead to high rates of sustainable venture creation)?

Data Sources


This post originally appeared on the Kauffman Foundation site and is republished here with permission. Daniel Davis of the University of California, San Diego; Daniel Colin Fehder of the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business; and Sandy Yu of the University of California, Berkeley contributed to this article.

C2 Montréal

Welcome to the three-day immersive event that will transform the way you do business.

C2 brings together commerce and creativity to explore trends, opportunities, disruptions and major shifts on the horizon. Each year, in a collaborative environment specifically designed to provoke collisions and spark new ideas, C2 Montréal inspires 5,000 executives across continents and industries to challenge their biases, shift their perspective and explore completely new ways of doing business.

• Getting your hands dirty:
C2 brings together talented creatives, young entrepreneurs, and high-level executives across industries, disciplines and countries. A broad variety of workshops encourage the collision of ideas and approaches. Together, participants examine case studies, experience new processes, and prototype creative solutions to real business problems.

• Meeting the right people:
Each year, C2 Montréal gathers 5,000 of the most innovative people from around the world. When you’re in such good company, you could potentially learn more from the person sitting right next to you than from the person on stage. Online and offline connection mechanisms help participants find their match and plan ‘braindates’, as baptized by peer-learning pioneers E-180.
Every element of the event is also designed to maximize meaningful connection opportunities that appeal to all participants – from terrified introverts to avid hand-shakers.

• Celebrating our successes and failures:
Participants are invited to connect on a whole other level through a series of spectacle-filled evenings showcasing leading international and promising local artists and performers. C2 festivities have involved artistic partners including the world-renowned talents of Cirque du Soleil, Moment Factory, Centre Phi, Circo de Bakuza, James Murphy, Cirque Éloize, Win Butler of Arcade Fire, and Moby.

• Blending influences and ideas:
C2 was created in Montréal, and that is no coincidence. Montréal mixes cultures and languages, bridges America and Europe, flirts with the old and the new. Much like this natural hub for creativity and innovation, C2 is a blend of influences, a cross between disciplines, a hybrid creature that pulls together divergent trends to turn them into exciting opportunities.