Impact of the mentor relationship on entrepreneurs

What does the research tell us?

Ahsan et al. (2018) used the multiple case study approach to explore how the mentor relationship and affective (emotional) state of student entrepreneurs has an impact on their venture progress. They found that the mentor relationship is key to developing an entrepreneur’s identity (e.g. inventor identity, founder identity, developer identity) and that student entrepreneurs who engaged in self-reflection and gained feedback from mentors, were able to project positive affect and accumulate the resources they needed to move forward. Hence, they suggested that the most effective mentors were able to recognise and address the needs of student entrepreneurs and take actions that positively impact their affective state.

What are the recommendations for practice?

This study would suggest two implications for practice. First, that mentors should be aware of the impact they are having on an entrepreneur’s identity and could aim to develop a particular type of identity that would be most useful to the entrepreneur in their startup role e.g. inventor identity, founder identity, developer identity. Second, that mentors should be alert to the needs of student entrepreneurs, which could manifest themselves in different ways beyond the obvious such as verbal, non-verbal, or written, to understand their needs and take actions that will positively impact their affective state.

Read the full paper:

Cite the paper:

Ahsan, M., Zheng, C., DeNoble, A., & Musteen, M. (2018). From student to entrepreneur: how mentorships and affect influence student venture launch. Journal of Small Business Management, 56, 76-102.

DOI: 10.1111/jsbm.12362