The following is an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of the City Startup Labs Program Evaluation of “What Works” for the Class of 2017 (from Sept 2017 to March 2018). The entire assessment was prepared by Madison Multicultural Educational Solutions, LLC (led by Jordan Starck – CSL Class of 2014). The purpose of this study is to determine whether the approach/method that City Startup Labs deploys is effective in developing entrepreneurial talent.
City StartUp Labs participants accomplished many milestones to improve their ventures over the course of the program and have already experienced, by the program’s end, increases in the size of their firms. They have improved their ability to identify a good entrepreneurial opportunity and their effectiveness at obtaining key resources. Further, they have increased the extent to which they feel and believe that they have control over their business outcomes.
They have not only changed as individuals, but also in a collective sense. Their confidence in their teams has improved. Furthermore, they have come to identify more strongly with their communities, whom they see as increasingly valuing entrepreneurship and able to help them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. There are certain characteristics and experiences that seem to be associated with how industrious program participants are and how much they achieve throughout the course of the program.
A set of six variables appears to be associated with both of these factors. Being older, having a parent that was an entrepreneur, having started a business prior to the start of the program, having previous experience in a startup for which one wasn’t the founder, and having used financial advisors and/or tax consultants are all positively associated with how much time participants will spend on their ventures and how many milestones they will accomplish throughout the course of the program. Participants’ gender also appears to make a difference, as women reported working more hours than men did while men report achieving more than women did.
There were also several variables that were correlated with either participants’ industriousness or their achievement. Having more education as well as more general work experience and more work experience specific to one’s industry are positively associated with industriousness. Growing up in a family with higher levels of income and being married or living with a domestic partner are also positively associated with industriousness.
There is a known gender difference whereby men tend to tout their achievements more than women do, which may account for the gendered difference in self-reported achievement here reported.
There were several factors that appeared to predict participants’ achievement but not their industriousness. Participants who expressed the subjective feeling of not having enough growing up reported achieving more than those who felt their families were in a better position to provide for their needs. Additionally, those who reported being on a standard academic track in high school achieved more compared to those who were on a college preparatory track. Finally, living with a family member was positively associated with participants’ achievement. Throughout the course of the program, participants’ industriousness and achievement levels tracked each other closely. Participant productivity increased throughout the course of the program, with major increases in productivity occurring from December through January and from March through April. Participants reported greater increases in productivity as the program wore on.
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