University of Twente Student Theses


Understanding the entrepreneurial decision-making behind the choice to join a start-up accelerator

Said, Mirna (2021) Understanding the entrepreneurial decision-making behind the choice to join a start-up accelerator.

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Abstract:Problem: Startup accelerators have become an increasingly important part of entrepreneurial ecosystems since the first accelerator, Y Combinator, was established in 2005 (Hochberg, 2016). Ever since, their popularity has increased, with more than 3000 programs existing as of 2016 (Hausberg & Korreck, 2020), leading to significant investments into startups, which positively impacts economies around the globe. Despite their significance, research on startup accelerators is still rare and even today, some entrepreneurs still do not have a clear understanding around the concept of these programs. Research has particularly investigated the ability of accelerators to efficiently accelerate startups. However, until today, we do not yet understand the thought process behind entrepreneurs’ choice to take part in such a time- and (sometimes) financially consuming support program. Purpose: This study aimed to close exactly this gap by investigating the decision-making of entrepreneurs who chose to join an accelerator program during the development phase of their startup. Particularly, the main influencing factors in their decision-making during this time are aimed to be explored and described. Methodology: An inductive, qualitative approach was chosen for this study, in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the entrepreneurs’ perspectives during this decision-making process. Semi-structured interviews were held with 18 globally scattered accelerator graduates. The accelerator programs from which the entrepreneurs were recruited were chosen based on a set of criteria for the definition of a startup accelerator. The interview data was analysed using the Gioia method. Conclusions: Three main influencing factors were identified as central dimensions of the grounded theory model of influencing factors affecting entrepreneurial decision-making in this context. First, prior personal and business-related experiences appeared to be influencing different motives for joining the program and shaped the founders’ expectations of these programs. Second, the entrepreneur’s perception of external circumstances was also found to affect their decision-making. The final influencing factor was found in the approach and mindset that the entrepreneur had during the decision-making process. Dynamic relations between the three factors were proposed as well as a typology which distills three different types of entrepreneurs who chose to join accelerators, based on the data collected within this study.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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