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The entrepreneurial support field has gained increasing attention from scholars and practitioners in recent decades (Bergman and McMullen, 2021; Chabaud, Messeghem, and Sammut, 2010; Degeorge, 2017). Structures such as incubators and accelerators have become instrumental in the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems, becoming a valuable source of support (Goswami, Mitchell, and Bhagavatula, 2018; Theodoraki, Messeghem, and Audretsch, 2020), integration (Messeghem and Sammut, 2010), and early-stage funding (Drover et al., 2017; Fehder and Hochberg, 2014). Whereas incubators have been around since the early 1980s (Allen and McCluskey, 1990; Bruneel, Ratinho, Clarysse, and Groen, 2012; Hackett and Dilts, 2004), accelerators are a more recent form of support (Messeghem, Sammut, Temri, and St-Jean, 2020; Mian, Lamine, and Fayolle, 2016), with unique organizational characteristics (Cohen, Fehder, Hochberg, and Murray, 2019; Pauwels, Clarysse, Wright, and Van Hove, 2016). Accelerators provide startups with organized training, mentoring, coworking space, and small amounts of capital but only for a short and limited duration (Cohen, 2013). Moreover, accelerators have a more exigent and competitive selection process than incubators (Cohen, 2013). In addition to the assistance that accelerators provide to startups, they have also become valuable curators of investment opportunities for business angels (BAs) and venture capitalists (VCs) (Kim and Wagman, 2014).
Among the different types of accelerators (Pauwel…


Corporate-sponsored accelerators have become an important source of support for entrepreneurial ventures, especially in Europe. One of their key challenges is selecting adequate ventures to support. We study in depth corporate accelerators’ selection process through a qualitative approach based on 34 interviews from seven accelerators in France and Germany. Our analysis identifies distinct practices and specific patterns in their selection process. By mobilizing agency theory, we propose theoretical explanations as to why specific selection approaches favor particular goals, whether co-development of innovations, financial upside, or diffusion of technology platforms. We contribute to extending entrepreneurial support and entrepreneurial finance literatures.

  • corporate accelerators
  • entrepreneurial support
  • selection process
  • entrepreneurial finance
  • case studies

Les accélérateurs corporatifs sont une importante source de soutien pour les startups, en particulier en Europe. L’un de leurs défis majeurs est de sélectionner des startups appropriées pour accomplir leurs objectifs. Nous étudions en profondeur leurs processus de sélection à travers 34 entretiens provenant de sept accélérateurs en France et en Allemagne. Notre analyse identifie deux approches de sélection distinctes. En mobilisant la théorie de l’agence, nos propositions expliquent pourquoi certaines approches de sélection favorisent soit le co-développement d’innovations, le retour financier, ou la diffusion de plateformes technologiques. Ainsi, nous contribuons au développement des littératures en accompagnement entrepreneurial et finance entrepreneuriale.

  • accélérateurs corporatif
  • accompagnement entrepreneurial
  • processus de sélection
  • finance entrepreneuriale
  • études de cas
Moyra Marval
Assistant Professor NEOMA Business School Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department, Rouen, France
Simon Nieschke
Ph.D. candidate ESCP Business School Entrepreneurship and Innovation department, Berlin, Germany
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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