Abstract

Entrepreneurs have a strong sense of self and they tend to see themselves as different from nonentrepreneurs. In the process of building one’s entrepreneurial career, entrepreneurial identity becomes a powerful motivator that can help explain why some individuals continue to engage in entrepreneurial activity while others do not (Farmer et al, 2009; Wry & York, 2015). Our study contributes to the emerging line of research on entrepreneurial identity by suggesting that improvisational activities and, specifically, bricolage, are central to the development of such an identity. We investigate the specific role of bricolage in strengthening the early development of an entrepreneurial identity over the course of participating in an accelerator program. Bricolage refers to “making do by applying combinations of the resources at hand to new problems and opportunities” (Baker & Nelson, 2005). In entrepreneurship, it involves creative manipulation of available resources to solve a problem at hand or to create new opportunities.

Accelerator programs have become widely popular as a way to speed up the early and “lean” development of startups. We expect entrepreneurial identities to strengthen over the course of an accelerator program, and engagement in bricolage activities to further support this development.

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