Title: How do fab-spaces enable entrepreneurship? Case studies of 'makers' - entrepreneurs

Authors: Letizia Mortara; Nicolas Parisot

Addresses: Centre for Technology Management, Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Alan Reece Building, 17 Charles Babbage Road, Cambridge CB3 0FS, UK ' A.T. Kearney S.A.S., 23 rue de l'Université, 75007 Paris, France

Abstract: Fabrication spaces (fab-spaces), such as TechShops or Fab Labs, provide access to sophisticated digital manufacturing technologies to individuals. They could be a new institutional context which influences entrepreneurial behaviour. To understand how this might happen, we used a grounded approach to examine the experience of eight individuals who have benefitted from fab-spaces to push forward their entrepreneurial ventures. This examination led to the development of new hypotheses regarding the potential role of fab-spaces in the entrepreneurial journey. In particular, it has emerged that fab-spaces might affect the entry phase of a new venture by lowering the 'perception of performance' threshold. Fab-spaces also affect post-entry barriers, as they provide an opportunity to entrepreneurs for fast learning, and consequently, to establish effective routines. However, this paper also shows how these positive effects might be moderated by fab-spaces' institutional setup, chiefly their location and cultural characteristics.

Keywords: Fab Labs; makespace; hackerspaces; TechShops; fabrication spaces; makers; peer production; 3D printing; additive manufacturing; barriers to entrepreneurship; crowdfunding; knowledge intensive business services; incubators.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMTM.2018.089465

International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, 2018 Vol.32 No.1, pp.16 - 42

Accepted: 31 Jan 2016
Published online: 26 Jan 2018 *

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