This paper explores how nascent entrepreneurs make sense of venture ideas and the circumstances through which those ideas are translated into opportunities. To do so, we draw on case study evidence from student entrepreneurs working with venture ideas in a university incubator. In addition to providing a framework of the sensemaking processes inherent in the entrepreneurial process, specifically between ideation and opportunity recognition, we present a typology of key sensegivers that the entrepreneur draws upon to co-construct the idea and enact it into an opportunity. In so doing, we make three contributions; first, we extend the application of the concept of sensemaking to the entrepreneurial process literature, which does not analytically interrogate the strategic use of sensemaking in the transition from idea to opportunity. Second, we identify how entrepreneurs draw upon specific sensegivers to legitimate their entrepreneurial enactments. Finally, we highlight the novel and important connection between sensemaking, the successful enactment of an idea into an opportunity and the failure to enact an idea into an opportunity.
- opportunity enactment