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How do fab-spaces enable entrepreneurship? Case studies of 'makers' - Entrepreneurs

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Parisot, N 


Fabrication spaces (fab-spaces), such as TechShops or FabLabs, 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 8 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 fabspaces 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.



FabLabs, Makespace, Hakerspaces, TechShops, fabrication spaces, Makers, Peer Production, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, barriers to entrepreneurship, crowdfunding, Knowledge Intensive Business Services, incubators

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International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management

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Inderscience Publishers
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K039598/1)
This project has been carried out within the UK – EPSRC - ESRC-sponsored project “Bit-by-bit: Capturing value from the digital fabrication revolution” (EP/K039598/1).