Intermediaries for Entrepreneurial Methods: How Makerspaces, Hackathons, and Accelerators Support Founders’ Uncertainty Coping

Paul Sterzenbach, Jonatan Pinkse, Jakob Edler

Research output: Working paper


Entrepreneurial methods such as effectuation, design thinking, and lean start-up have become ubiquitous in practice and education. At the same time, new models of start-up incubation such as makerspaces, hackathons, and accelerators can be found in many ecosystems. Both entrepreneurial methods and new incubation models are concerned with entrepreneurial uncertainty. Entrepreneurial methods offer tools for founders to cope with their perceived uncertainty and incubation models offer resources and opportunities to implement these tools. It remains nevertheless unclear how participants in makerspaces, hackathons, and accelerators deal with uncertainty, what roles these new incubation models play for uncertainty coping, and how founders’ approaches to uncertainty correspond with entrepreneurial methods. This paper investigates these questions in building on theories of entrepreneurial uncertainty and strategy. We apply an inductive, qualitative approach that relies on a longitudinal dataset of Twitter interactions and interviews from participants and managers of incubators. We find that founders approach different types of uncertainty with the development of individual & communal endurance, with active learning & ideation, and with scientification of processes. The coping approaches differ significantly across incubation models. We propose that these approaches correspond with different elements of entrepreneurial methods and are thus an indicator of the adoption of methods. Based on our analysis, we finally suggest a sequencing model of incubation models and entrepreneurial methods that adds to discussions on the purpose of new incubation models and the implementation of entrepreneurial strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Innovation Research


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