Building Application Pipelines
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Chapter 5 described three broad categories of work that must be completed before an accelerator can have any systematic effects on the NFF. The first two categories relate to building pipelines of entrepreneurs and then selecting the most promising ones into program cohorts. The third category relates to the specific interventions that ensure that participating entrepreneurs are able to identify and close their knowledge and network gaps so that they can effectively address their capital gaps. This chapter leverages information gleaned from the EDP program surveys to explore pipeline building. It begins by addressing and then setting aside the simple strategies of pumping up application numbers or looking for low-hanging fruit. Then, several specific observations indicate how differences in the number of applicant sources that are tapped, and in the extent of a program’s focus, help to explain which accelerators are more effective when it comes to driving new funding into early-stage ventures. At the end of the chapter, we pay special attention to programs that prefer to work with marginalized entrepreneurs, like women and minorities.