Entrepreneurship Database program at Emory University

Despite the explosion of programs around the world that aim to stimulate the growth of entrepreneurs, there is little empirical research into the effectiveness of these programs. Do these support programs work? Are certain types of programs more effective in certain situations?  These kinds of questions are difficult to explore without rigorous data.

The Entrepreneurship Database program at Emory University is designed to collect this kind of data. We partner with accelerator programs (and other support organizations) around the world to track the entrepreneurs that apply to these programs. A consistent set of questions are integrated into the application process of each accelerator partner, and then all applicants to these programs (both those who are eventually selected for support, as well as those who are not selected) are resurveyed every six months. As of July 2015, the program has collected information on more than 3,000 enterprises and partnered with more than 50 accelerator programs. 

By collecting rigorous longitudinal data across multiple accelerators, we are able to explore how the growth of “supported” entrepreneurs differs from those who do not receive support. For each of our accelerator partners, this information can help drive internal strategy and M&E processes; for the sector at large, this allows us to explore how effective support programs are in different circumstances, and where there may be gaps in support for emerging ventures.

In addition to our focus on accelerators and support programs, the broader goal of the Entrepreneurship Database program is to establish a comprehensive dataset for the much-needed study of issues and challenges faced by early-stage entrepreneurs around the world.  By collecting data in the way that we do, we’re able to identify and track entrepreneurs at stages earlier than has previously been possible. These data are intended to be a resource to academic and practitioner researchers around the world, to enable the exploration of a wide variety of issues related to early-stage entrepreneurship. We release an anonymized version of our dataset in Q1 each year to researchers interested in pursuing this kind of analysis.

To spur academic interest in the data that we are collecting, Emory University hosts an annual colloquium for doctoral students and established professors whose research focuses on early-stage ventures and entrepreneur accelerator programs.

The Entrepreneurship Database program is housed within Social Enterprise @ Goizueta at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In 2015, Emory University partnered with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) to form the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI), the world’s largest public private partnership aimed at exploring the effectiveness of accelerators around the world.

The Entrepreneurship Database program is financially supported by Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Global Development Lab at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Omidyar Network, The Lemelson Foundation, the Argidius Foundation, and the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE).

Analysis and Publications:

In March and September of each year we produce Data Summaries that describe insights that are emerging from the data.  We also produce quarterly Data Briefs that answer questions posed to us by our sector partners working in the field:


  • Forbes "$2.3M Partnership Will Study Startup Accelerators"
  • The Wall Street Journal "Aren’t Accelerators Great? Maybe..."
  • Forbes "Women-Led Businesses: The Underserved Opportunity"
  • Newsweek "Women Entrepreneurs Fight for Their Piece of the Pie"
  • The Globe and Mail "Why the Garage Startup is Quickly Becoming a Thing of the Past"
  • Huffington Post "3 Big Reasons Why Venture Capitalists Should Invest More in Women"