The success of a startup in its early years depends largely upon the entrepreneur’s skills and knowledge. Since both of these assets are gained through experience, mentors can be one of the most valuable resources for an entrepreneur looking to take his or her business to the next level.
According to Cordelia Lonsdale’s research for the Mowgli Foundation, “mentoring appears to be particularly suitable for entrepreneurs, fitting with their preferred learning styles, meeting specific needs and delivering targeted benefits to their businesses.”
Entrepreneurs tend to need more flexibility in their learning in order to fill their specific knowledge gaps. Mentors encourage reflection and self-awareness, which can prove more effective than skill-based learning and more conducive to entrepreneurial learning styles.
Evidence of the value of mentorship has appeared in several studies:
- A 2011 study by the Startup Genome found that in Silicon Valley, startups with mentors raise 7 times more money than those without. Mentors are more influential than investors in a company’s performance and ability to raise capital.
- A 2008 Gallup survey in 83 countries discovered that adults with mentors are three times as likely to plan to start a business than those without mentors (see graph below).
- A 2003 study of U.S. mentoring programs for female entrepreneurs shows that owners of growth stage businesses benefit significantly more from mentorship than from peer networking or entrepreneurial skills training
To read Cordelia Lonsdale’s full report, please click here.
Contributed by Caroline Pringle.