So what 4 trends do we anticipate seeing for Accelerator and innovation programs in 2020?
1: More Specialist v’s Generalist Accelerator Programs
Generalist Accelerator programs play a key role in early stage ecosystems. These programs educate the market, establish partnerships with the government, connect Angel networks with Founders and recruit the first wave of innovation leaders & mentors.
As ecosystems continue to mature we can expect to see an increase in the number of specialist innovation programs coming online. Specialist programs are symptom of market-maturity and focus exclusively on specific niches, delivering carefully calibrated journeys and curated networks to their Founder sets. Examples of specialist niches include energy, fintech, cybersecurity and IOT.
2: Greater Demand For Regional Programs
Regional areas are often at the greatest risk of being left behind in terms of investment in technology and innovation. Low population density combined with large geographies can make program delivery complex. However these challenges don’t alter the need for acceleration and incubation programs in regional areas. In 2020 we expect to see an increase in demand for regional programs. Many of these programs are delivered in partnership between local government and existing (city based) innovation hubs.
3: More Accelerators Using Innovation Specific Software
Accelerators have historically relied on a mixed bag of software to run their programs. This is a source of frustration for stakeholders, as well as a contributing factor to fragmented planning & execution. In 2020 we anticipate more programs will make the moved to dedicated Accelerator Software to streamline operations and improve Founder support. This is something we have seen first-hand with a sharp increase in software uptake in recent months.
4: A Bloom In Virtual / Pre-Accelerator Programs
In 2020 we are likely to see an increase in the number of ‘virtual / pre-Accelerator’ programs on offer. These programs tend to share a number of characteristics:
2020 promises to be another busy year for innovation programs. Over the course of coming months we will be sharing a series of interviews and news with you from Accelerator programs from around the world.