The purpose of this research is to study what helps entrepreneurial mentoring programs be most effective and to gain insight into mentee-mentee relationship dynamics. This research project began when the Kauffman Foundation partnered with the University of Michigan and EFN to bring together a group of partners to conduct a large scale study on Entrepreneurial Mentoring. 33 partners advised the team and sent out the surveys including universities, the National Science Foundation’s i-Corps™ programs, and private accelerators including Techstars. The 2016-2017 survey resulted is the largest U.S study to date on entrepreneurial mentoring – “Mentoring in Startup Ecosystems” -that examines success factors in mentoring. Respondents included 820 people from university and private accelerator programs: entrepreneurs, founders, students, researchers, mentors, investors, company executives, university faculty and staff and program directors. Engage with the team and research on Twitter and LinkedIn. Read articles, testimonials, and see the full list of universities and accelerators that participated. The 2018 surveys update the 2016-2017 instruments. The 2018 research has engaged several hundred respondents so far from more than a dozen universities and private accelerators. Please contact EFN to inquire about using the surveys. The big takeaway from the 2017 study is clear! Mentoring is fundamental to entrepreneurial success but founders must be committed to the process and mentors must be highly qualified and fit well with entrepreneurs. The vast majority of entrepreneurs believe that mentorship has contributed to their ventures’ success. However, entrepreneurs benefit commensurate with their perspective and commitment to learning (i.e., growth mindset) and capacity to establish and sustain mentoring relationships including frequent interactions and meetings. The study addresses several key questions.
- What is mentoring and what value does it contribute?
- What constitutes an effective mentoring program and who is qualified to be a mentor?
- What kinds of assumptions and expectations do the participants have?
- What are the critically important success factors that contribute to valuable outcomes?
- How can the mentoring process be further improved?
- How can mentoring and coaching be learned?
- How can entrepreneurs and mentors be trained so they can benefit more from mentoring programs?