Matchmaking and Mentoring: An Experimental Study of Entrepreneurial Mentoring

How do entrepreneurs connect with mentors online, and what strategies can help them find an appropriate mentor? What are the impacts of online mentoring on entrepreneurial performance?

Despite the fact that mentoring is generally considered useful, we know very little about how entrepreneurs actually find their mentors, and whether they have an impact on entrepreneurial performance.

This study will use a combination of experimental and quasi-experimental approaches to examine two research questions related to online mentoring for entrepreneurs. The randomised controlled trial is being conducted in partnership with a large international nonprofit organisation (MicroMentor, a programme of Mercy Corps) that facilitates mentor-mentee connections online. Specifically, we will test the effectiveness of two strategies designed to help entrepreneurs connect to mentors – building confidence or reducing information asymmetry. We will compare the impact of these two strategies (separately and combined) and a control group on connection rates and the quality of those connections. In a follow-up study, we will compare business performance for entrepreneurs that received mentoring compared to those that did not, using a quasi-experimental approach.