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Accelerators as start-up infrastructure for entrepreneurial clusters

Abstract

Infrastructure is commonly conceptualized as a set of facilities that play a critical role in facilitating activities by individuals and organizations. Conventionally, infrastructure is tightly linked to publicly funded projects that facilitate access to key resources and enable diverse activities. Within entrepreneurial clusters research, infrastructure includes universities, research institutions and telecommunication technologies that facilitate entrepreneurial activities. These capital-intensive investments seek to facilitate start-ups emergence by aiding access to markets and development of ideas. Accelerators facilitate the same activities and have only recently been conceptualized as start-up infrastructure. This study builds upon this research stream by elaborating on how accelerators can play this meaningful role at the cluster level. Specifically, and by relying on the analysis of empirical evidence from three distinct studies, we uncover how accelerators provide tangible and intangible dimensions of start-up infrastructure to form a positively reinforcing cycle of entrepreneurial activities. Additionally, our findings allow us to push further the idea that start-up infrastructure development can be an endogenous process involving multiple actors within the cluster. Our empirical findings and the theoretical insights derived from them have meaningful implications for the aforementioned literature, as well as start-up practitioners and policymakers linked to the funding of entrepreneurial clusters.

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