“Pacers” Help Entrepreneurs in Emerging Economies Stay in the Race
Small- and medium-sized businesses in Africa and India need ongoing support to keep growing.
Like pacers who help world-class marathon runners win races, pacemaker organizations help entrepreneurs achieve their goals. | iStock/ZamoraA
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) create and sustain a substantial portion of jobs in emerging economies, contribute to innovation, and drive social impact. Entrepreneur support organizations such as incubators, accelerators, and fellowship programs play an important role for SMEs in emerging economies by closing entrepreneurs’ gaps in knowledge, capital, and networks; providing guidance to reach targets; and fostering entrepreneurship ecosystems.
Research has shown the positive effects of entrepreneurial support on revenue growth, employment, and financing. However, upon completion of these programs, entrepreneurs are often back on their own unless they participate in another support program.
In reviewing the field of entrepreneur support organizations across Africa and India, our research has uncovered a novel type of organization that we call a pacemaker organization, or pacer, which offers an alternative for emerging-market entrepreneurs. Like pacers who help world-class marathon runners win races, pacemaker organizations help entrepreneurs achieve their goals in the marathon of scaling up an enterprise. The pacer model extends services over a longer time horizon than traditional support models, enabling SMEs to attain more social and economic progress.
Read the full article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
For media inquiries, visit the Newsroom.