Abstract

In this study we ask the following questions: 1) Are the most-publicized benefits of social accelerators also the ones most valued by social entrepreneurs? 2) Does the social entrepreneur human capital – such as education, professional background, and experience – shape the attractiveness of value propositions of different social accelerator benefits? Our study extends two streams of research – social entrepreneurship and social accelerators. We assume that as social entrepreneurs strive to establish their start-ups, supportive ecosystems can complement and supplement their entrepreneurial efforts. Within these ecosystems, social accelerators are an important entity. We develop study hypotheses in two steps. First, we delineate the value propositions of social accelerator firms by drawing upon population ecology theory and the theory of sponsorship. Next, we use human capital theory to hypothesize relationships between different types of human capital resources and the value propositions of social accelerators. The underlying assumption is that all aspects of the social accelerator value proposition are neither equally attractive to social entrepreneurs nor relevant to their social ventures. Instead, we argue that social entrepreneurs’ competencies and deficiencies – their strengths and weaknesses – determine which social accelerator services are attractive.

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