Accelerator Programmes: the New Innovation Engine

ISSUE #59 – ASA Advisory assists companies in complex innovation, business transformation and organisational change challenges by designing, implementing and operating fi t-for-purpose solutions / capabilities.

Accelerator Programmes encourage entrepreneurship, spur business development and stimulate the local ecosystem

Singapore has recently been ranked the 10th best start-up ecosystem in the world. It has also become the preferred place for large corporations to launch their innovation or digital hubs in Asia.

Currently, corporations and start-ups are beginning to leverage a new type of innovation engine: Accelerator Programmes. This trend is not confined to Singapore: we are witnessing the global emergence of Accelerator Programmes as an effective mechanism for accelerating the growth of start-ups and corporate innovation.



What makes accelerator programmes so effective for start-ups and corporations?

Accelerator Programmes are a new form of co-innovation model. They connect key stakeholders – start-ups, corporations and the government – through symbiotic partnerships.

Through Accelerator Programmes, startups are able to access the resources they need to accelerate their growth without giving away too much. Specifi cally, they enjoy some level of funding, a conducive environment for development, targeted training, coaching and access to mentors, and strategic partners to help them tackle most of the challenges that they will face.

Last but not least, they are also able to capitalise on the established markets and distribution channels of their large corporate partner.

In contrast, corporations use Accelerator Programmes to meet multiple business objectives: targeted investment (invest in promising start-ups through a venture capitalist model), strategic innovation (scout for start-ups and technology aligned with the corporation’s strategy and operating model, drive business model innovation, etc), cultural transformation (help initiate an internal shift towards a more agile, innovative and entrepreneurial culture), talent detection (scout for talent among up-andcoming start-ups, as well as in the broader ecosystem), positive branding /marketing (promote the corporation as an innovative, entrepreneurial and adaptable entity) and many others depending on the programme’s structure and purpose.

From the government’s perspective, Accelerator Programmes encourage entrepreneurship, spur business development and stimulate the local ecosystem by involving relevant stakeholders and mediating private and public interests in a structured manner to drive economic growth while making a positive societal impact.

What makes accelerator programmes successful and is it for everyone?

Accelerator Programmes are effective because they are time-pressured environments that force start-ups and large corporations to:

  • Be extremely customer-centric. By focusing on problems faced by their customers and creating products and services to solve them, these companies continuously meet needs and build desirability for their offerings;
  • Clearly articulate the unique value proposition embedded in their sustainable business models to verify viability;
  • Build products using the latest technology in an iterative manner and based on validated learning, i.e. demonstrate feasibility;
  • Gain traction and stimulate growth in a well-defined and sizeable opportunity space, i.e. offer scalability;
  • Augment the skills and experience of teams involved to ensure that they are equipped with what it takes to realise their vision i.e. team building;
  • Facilitate connections between the broad range of critical stakeholders (customers, distributors, partners, investors, etc), i.e. connecting the dots.

Start-ups and large corporations alike should, therefore, seriously consider adopting this form of co-innovation model. When planned and designed properly, Accelerator Programmes create tremendous value in a short amount of time and demonstrate that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.


By Eric Saint-André, Managing Director, ASA Advisory Pte Ltd


Article published in the FOCUS Magazine “The Enterprising Spirit” – Issue #1 2016

PHOTO: An Accelerator networking event at BASH, the heart of the start-up ecosystem in Singapore