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Optimizing University Acceleration Programs. The Case of NKUA’s Multistage Model

Antonios D. Livieratos () and Vasilis Siemos
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Antonios D. Livieratos: Department of Business Administratiom, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
Vasilis Siemos: Arcimedes Center for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), 2021, vol. 14, issue 2, 68-77

Abstract: Purpose: Business accelerators have rapidly emerged as prominent players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. A key strategic decision in designing acceleration programs is whether to customize or standardize the new venture development program (Cohen et al., 2019). Recognizing a trade-off between customization and standardization, the paper presents a multistage acceleration model aiming to harvest benefits of standardization while keeping several advantages found in tailor-made acceleration programs. Design/methodology/approach: The here-proposed 3-stage acceleration model was developed to serve the needs of the recently established business accelerator of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). As the authors have developed and are currently implementing the ‘Archimedes Multistage Acceleration Model’ they act as change agents aiming to solve practical problems. This enabled the adoption of an action research approach where the aim is to produce knowledge to change social reality rather than vice versa (Allard-Poesi and Perret, 2003). To that end, the Action Innovation Management Research framework (Guertler et al., 2020) constitutes the basis of this research. Findings: The ‘Archimedes Multistage Acceleration Model’ proposes a 3-stage acceleration program where each stage matches a different level of maturity. For those statups positioned in the first two stages the aim is to progressively (and selectively) assist them through to the next stages. This model may be regarded as a funnel where startups are initially supported in the framework of a highly standardized acceleration program, ending gradually to receive highly tailored-made services. This design serves the needs of university accelerators that target a subset of the local startup ecosystem and aim to foster an entrepreneurship culture. Research limitations/implications: ‘Archimedes Multistage Acceleration Model’ was developed for, and up to this point applied at NKUA for almost a year. It is widely accepted that effectively supporting startups is a long-term process and as such a model serving this purpose requires more time to demonstrate its full potential. Furthermore, the application of the model at other universities will provide further evidence on both its value for other business accelerators and its transferability. Originality/value: Despite the growing interest in business accelerators, university accelerators remain an overlooked topic in the literature. The paper proposes a new acceleration model and presents how this is applied in the case of the Archimedes Center of NKUA. The model that harvests benefits of standardization while keeping several advantages found in tailor-made acceleration programs, is especially designed to serve the needs and the objectives of university accelerators.

Keywords: Accelerator; Startup. National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Case study; Lean startup; University; Innovation; Action Research (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L26 L30 M13 O31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR) is currently edited by Christos Grose and Persefoni Polychronidou

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