Best practices for measuring the impact of acceleration and incubation include:

  • Clearly define success. Success looks different for every accelerator and incubator program. Programs should aim to find a common set of metrics that indicate success across the enterprises in their cohorts. For example, does your program see increased investment, attaining profit, or job growth as success? Clearly define these factors, which will then inform your data collection practice.
  • Streamline data collection. Many accelerator programs mandate financial disclosures, along with other types of data sharing. Consider the natural points of interaction where data collection will be least burdensome. For example, consider adding baseline performance questions to an accelerator application form rather than requesting this information through a separate survey.
  • Cultivate your alumni network. Enterprises that “graduate” from accelerator or incubator programs will move on and continue to grow – and many accelerators fail to stay in contact with these businesses. This lack of engagement translates to poor survey response rates. Brainstorm ideas on how to cultivate and maintain contact with your alumni network, which can include webinars, further education, or networking opportunities.  
  • Consider ways to support enterprises in their IMM journeys. For impact oriented enterprises, IMM may be hard to practice while in startup mode because of resource constraints.  Accelerators or incubators could consider trainings, providing access to impact management platforms, or access to 1:1 consulting in order to build capacity for impact measurement and reporting.

Resources about IMM for accelerators and incubators