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How to measure

Incubators &


The brief

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, commissioned S4S to develop an accurate, objective and empirical means of measuring, assessing and improving the effectiveness of business support through incubators and accelerators. The issue was that Innovate UK was unsure how much money and resource to allocate., S4S’s work was informed by its experience of 12 years of programs, over 30,000 companies trained, over $65 Million USD invested, across 3 continents.

The activities

S4S developed a robust

methodology that captures 50+ measurable data points. The measures include: entrepreneur identity (2), enterprise accomplishment (9), program value creation (10) including measurements for social enterprises, Evaluation of services and selection advantage.

This was further expanded upon to create a focussed version for developing countries.

The result

S4S’s method was used successfully by Innovate UK to assess the quality of Incubators and Accelerators across the UK who received funding from the Agency. They were provided remedial support to improve their effectiveness.

S4S was then able to use the robust methodology to assess incubators and accelerators in developing countries taking into account the differing context of those locations.

“There are over 7,500 business incubators around the world, and, most of them fail.”


Harvard Business Review Article, The Problem with Incubators

“The problem with [copying Silicon Valley], however, is that emerging market entrepreneurs, and ecosystems can be quite different. Therefore, the same kind of program run in two different contexts might produce very different results.”


Roberts, P. and Eden, G. (2018). Accelerating Startups in Emerging Markets

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