Decoding the ABCs of Effective Enterprise Acceleration: 10 Lessons from SEAD

Like learning a new language, scaling an enterprise is full of unknowns, imperfect attempts and lessons for the future.  Enterprise accelerators often serve as translators between their participants and the outside world. In doing so, accelerators must decipher between what they assume will be effective and what the enterprises they serve want and need. How can enterprise accelerators crack the code?

During the five-year period that the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) co-led the  Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), we learned many lessons that we hope other accelerators can benefit from to increase their own effectiveness. Decoding the ABCs of Effective Enterprise Acceleration describes that learning journey through our top ten lessons, organized around the most common core accelerator functions:

A is for Aligning your cohort with your change theory 

  • Lesson 1: Refining Your Accelerator Theory of Change
  • Lesson 2: Evaluating Cohort Applicants in a More Iterative Process

B is for Building an effective and efficient enterprise support model

  • Lesson 3: Updating Content and Delivery
  • Lesson 4: Leveraging the Local Ecosystem
  • Lesson 5: Maximizing Peer Learning

C is for Championing the capital needs of your enterprises

  • Lesson 6: Supporting Enterprises in Fundraising
  • Lesson 7: Engaging Global Health Investors to Fill Gaps

D is for Deciphering and Disseminating enterprise performance

  • Lesson 8: Moving From Research to Consulting
  • Lesson 9: Demystifying Evidence Collection

E is for Evaluating and Improving Your Accelerator

  • Lesson 10: Benchmarking Change

Throughout this report, we explore these core functions in terms of the significant pivots we made during our program and the lessons they drove home for us. By sharing these lessons, we aim to help other accelerators accelerate themselves. In other words, help them get ahead of some of our pivots, and find ways to build in real-time learning. ‘

To dig into the key recommendations that grew out our lessons, read Decoding the ABCS of Effective Acceleration.  For more about SEAD, read Highlights from the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke.