Business Models for Accelerators: A Structured Literature Review

Carlo Bagnoli, Maurizio Massaro, Daniel Ruzza, and Korinzia Toniolo


Business model, Accelerator, structured literature review, start-up, performance


Purpose: This paper aims to provide a better understanding of accelerators’ phenomenon, developing a business model framework for these organizations. The proposed framework aims to offer helpful guidance for practitioners and policymakers, together with various research opportunities for scholars. Design/Methodology/Approach: The study employs a structured literature review methodology, which guarantees the repeatability of the research and the validity of the outcomes. Additionally, to further test the results of our analysis, we interviewed ten practitioners from some accelerators located in Italy and Slovenia. Findings: Findings show that the literature on accelerators is still fragmented and under-investigated. The presented framework for an accelerator business model provides insights about the activity and the role of such organizations. The study offers fruitful avenues for future research on accelerators’ business models. Research limitations/implications: Given the fragmented nature and the novelty of the literature on the topic, there may be relevant papers and reports missing in our analysis. Further research should investigate the role of accelerators in the ecosystem they operate in and provide a clear and shared definition in collaboration with all stakeholders. Practical implications: The presented framework provides practitioners with useful insights for understanding an accelerator activity and valuable recommendations for managing these organizations in the future. Social implications: Since we consider society among the key stakeholders of an accelerator’s business model, this study provides significant insights into the social impact of accelerators in the ecosystem they operate. Relevant implications may be useful, especially for policymakers. Originality/Value: The main contribution of this study is the extent analysis of a new topic in the entrepreneurial literature, providing a clear and broad perspective of the phenomenon. Furthermore, this study provides relevant insights into the role of accelerators in academic research as well as for practitioners and policymakers.