Theme
Mentorship

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"Building on Youth Business International's policy recommendations to date, this report compiles a series of case studies that each illustrate how the finance gap can be closed for young and other underserved entrepreneurs through providing non-financial support, such as training and mentoring. This integrated approach reduces the risk of lending to youth and other underserved demographics, and the value of the non-financial support substitutes for collateral and other types of guarantee."

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"We examine whether the likelihood of entrepreneurial activity is related to the prior career experiences of an individual's coworkers, using a unique matched employer-employee panel data set. We argue that coworkers can increase the likelihood that an individual will perceive entrepreneurial opportunities as well as increase his or her motivation to pursue those opportunities. We find that an individual is more likely to become an entrepreneur if his or her coworkers have been entrepreneurs before. Peer influences also appear to be substitutes for other sources of entrepreneurial influence: we find that peer influences are strongest for those who have less exposure to entrepreneurship in other aspects of their lives."

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"This study draws on social learning theory and research concerning role model effects to understand how exposure to female entrepreneurial role models influences the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, attitudes and intentions among female students. In our study, we find that exposure to female entrepreneurs particularly boosts the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and attitudes towards entrepreneurship of female students. We explore five mechanisms to explain role model effects as an emergent outcome of a reciprocal relationship between student and entrepreneur. We find that if entrepreneurs signal high levels of supportiveness and interest in the student's project outcomes, the importance of working with an entrepreneur of the same-gender decreases.

This study provides evidence that role model effects do not only occur by chance, but can be purposefully triggered in an educational setting. Hence, exploiting female role model effects may serve as an effective mechanism to foster female entrepreneurship."

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"Peer networks are seen as important for stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship, but little is known about how the structure and composition of networks affect innovation performance. Researchers compared the effects of face-to-face and virtual peer interaction on the submission and quality of business proposals by individuals from 49 African countries enrolled in an online entrepreneurship course. They found that face-to-face networks and the virtual interaction of groups of entrepreneurs of the same nationality increased the submission of business proposals to a funding competition, but that virtual interaction had no effect when groups were formed with entrepreneurs of different nationalities. Virtual interaction among entrepreneurs of the same nationality was also found to increase the quality of submitted business proposals."

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"While management styles and practices have been found to be important determinants of firm performance, there is far less evidence on the extent to which management matters for entrepreneurial ventures and whether founders can learn to be more effective managers. Using a randomized field experiment with 100 high-growth technology firms, we show that founders who received advice from other founders with more "hands-on" management styles were more likely to reorient their own management activity, and subsequently experience lower employee attrition and higher rates of firm survival eight months after the intervention. For founders who already had a more hands-on management style themselves, these interactions also increased their rate of hiring. Our study demonstrates management skill can be learned by young firms via networks and subsequently influence performance."

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"Recent field experiments demonstrate that advice, mentorship, and feedback from randomly assigned peers improve entrepreneurial performance. These results raise a natural question: what is preventing entrepreneurs and managers from forming these peer connections themselves? We argue that entrepreneurs may be under-networked because they lack the necessary social skills- the ability to communicate effectively and interact collaboratively with new acquaintances-that allow them to match efficiently with knowledgeable peers. We use a field experiment in the context of a business training program to test if a short social skills training module improves who the participants choose to learn from within the program. We find that entrepreneurs who were exposed to the social skills training formed 50% more relationships with peers. These relationships exhibited more matching based on managerial skill and were more ethnically diverse. Finally, the training also substantially increased entrepreneurs' business performance. Our findings suggest that social skills help entrepreneurs build relationships that create value for both themselves and their peers."

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"How do different sources of social influence impact the likelihood of entrepreneurship? We examine this question in the setting of an entrepreneurship class in which students were randomly assigned to receive mentorship from either an entrepreneur or a non-entrepreneur. Using a longitudinal field experiment with a pre-test/post-test design, we find that randomization to an entrepreneur mentor increases the likelihood of entrepreneurial careers, particularly for students whose parents were not entrepreneurs. Additional analysis shows the mentor influences the decision to join an early-stage venture, but not to become a founder. Performance data suggests that entrepreneurial influence is not encouraging "worse" entrepreneurship and may have helped students in joining or founding better-performing ventures. We contribute to the literature on social influence in entrepreneurship by examining the interaction between multiple sources of social influence and by using a randomized field experiment to overcome the endogenous process of tie formation."

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"While business accelerators remain understudied in the academic literature, there is growing interest in understanding how accelerators work and where they provide value to entrepreneurs. In this paper, we focus exactly on this question – we examine how mentorship and investor ties, two key aspects observed across accelerators in general lead to positive accelerator outcomes and through them, to longterm firm success outcomes for the start-ups participating in accelerators. Using the full cohort (n=105) of an international accelerator, we follow the progress of the startups during the accelerated period and continue to follow these startups for 15 months. We find that startups that participate more in mentorship events have higher likelihood of achieving short-term outcomes during the accelerator, such as the release of a prototype and generating revenue for the first time. Similarly, startups that develop more investor ties during the accelerator survive and raise capital at a higher rate. Finally, we find evidence that certain short-term accelerator outcomes also increase the chances of survival and investment. On the basis of these results, we provide practical implications for start-ups as well as managers of accelerator programs, in addition to theoretical contributions to entrepreneurship research."

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"Spring Impact's new report, generously supported by the Argidius Foundation, shares recommendations on creating effective mentoring programs for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). This report is designed to provide immediate support to practitioners, funders and other champions of mentoring by sharing essential good practices to strengthen or build effective programs."

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"This report investigates the role of SGBs in economic growth and the key success factors of business networks for SGBs. It also spotlights the impact of two organizations - Enablis Senegal and CEED Moldova - on SGB growth. Finally, the report outlines implications for funders, ecosystem builders, SGB-support organizations and SGBs."

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