Makerspaces and Local Economic Development

Publication by Eric Joseph van Holm , , , , , , ,
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Abstract in English:

The maker movement has risen from a fringe hobby to a prominent lifestyle with important implications for economic development. In the past, tools have been available only to those working in firms and industry or those willing to pay for their procurement. The maker movement increases access to tools and training, potentially altering the capability of the general public to participate in product development. This study explores makerspaces and how they contribute to economic development through business generation and sustainment. Based on interviews with members and the management of makerspaces, along with local government officials in Georgia, the author finds four principal contributions to economic development: (a) creating a cultural change by encouraging entrepreneurship in the community, (b) supporting small business growth through the provision of services, (c) providing workforce training, and (d) increasing workforce retention. However, in part because of their recent development and small memberships, makerspaces are unlikely to launch many entrepreneurs into their communities anytime soon. As such, governments should avoid making excessive commitments to makerspaces before they provide greater evidence of tangible contributions, but allowing them an expanded role in formal education can enhance their ability to incubate a β€œmaker” mind-set.

Open Access? No

Journal Economic Development Quarterly
Publication Year 2017
Volume 31 issue: 2
Publisher SAGE Journals

DOI 1552-3543

English | Discipline Economics