Small Business Economics
The benefits of entrepreneurial mentorship are well documented, but there is limited research on how entrepreneurs connect with mentors, especially in digital settings. We partnered with an online platform that connects entrepreneurs to potential mentors to conduct a field experiment in online mentoring. Drawing on literature on entrepreneurial mentorship and Social Cognitive Theory, we compared the effects of three interventions on the likelihood of reaching out and making a connection with a mentor in a digital setting. We find that showing entrepreneurs a video of a successful mentor–mentee relationship increases the chances that they will reach out to a potential mentor but does not improve their chances of making a connection. These findings are more pronounced for female entrepreneurs. While not all entrepreneurs adopt the offered interventions, those that make the effort to learn to navigate the online platform and craft a suitable introductory message are successful in establishing a mentoring connection. We discuss these implications for both theory and practice.
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Original Publication Citation
Lall, S. A., Chen, L.-W., & Mason, D. P. (2023). Digital platforms and entrepreneurial support: A field experiment in online mentoring. Small Business Economics, 61(2), 631-654. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-022-00704-8
Lall, Saurabh A.; Chen, Li-Wei; and Mason, Dyana P., "Digital Platforms and Entrepreneurial Support: A Field Experiment in Online Mentoring" (2023). Management Faculty Publications. 66.