University of Cambridge > > IfM Seminars > Will Makerspaces Ever Make It Big? The Emergence of Maker Entrepreneurs and Maker Ecosystems

Will Makerspaces Ever Make It Big? The Emergence of Maker Entrepreneurs and Maker Ecosystems

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“Capitalist economies are experiencing technological and institutional changes that some have described as potentially as important as a second Industrial Revolution and others, somewhat more modestly, as a development as important as the rise of the commercial Internet in the 1990s. Optimists point to the growth of the maker movement as a key development, claiming that it facilitates user driven innovation and the emergence of bottom-up entrepreneurship. Moreover, they cite the emergence of crowdfunding, facilitating the funding of small-scale entrepreneurship outside the usual funding channels. Proponents assert that these technological and institutional changes in the past decade have substantially lowered the threshold for entrepreneurs wishing to start their own businesses, across a variety of industries. But, skeptics claim that most makers, affiliated with local makerspaces, will never amount to more than tinkerers and locally-oriented producers, with corporations co-opting the best of open-sourced innovation. Critics say, for example, that makers will have problems scaling up of prototypes to producing enough to create a business. Over the last five years, however, many new organizations and institutions have arisen within entrepreneurial ecosystems of cities and have given hope to advocates of the maker movement.

In my talk, I will share what I have learned so far and speculate on what their results mean for theories of entrepreneurship, community development, and the emergence of new industries.”

This talk is part of the IfM Seminars series.

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