Research review: The business benefits of mentoring entrepreneurs
Updated: Aug 15, 2019
Kandu knows #mentors can help #entrepreneurs in a myriad ways. They can provide inspiration and support motivation by being positive role models. They can help guide and connect mentees into local or complex ecosystems. They can raise awareness of opportunities or information. They can help mentees grow or make better use of their own networks. And they can provide supportive challenge, helping mentees to reflect on the best courses of actions to take.
But what does all of the above mean? What are the tangible outcomes that mentoring can bring to the business leader and their business?
This week we deep dived into a great piece of research published in 2018 by Youth Business International that helps to make clear the impact #mentoring can have on business operations and bottom line. The research - Exploring the impact of voluntary business mentoring on young entrepreneurs is useful reading for organisations creating a business case for setting up a mentoring programme within a business growth accelerator or incubator.
Youth Business International (YBI) is a global network of 56 organisations in 52 countries supporting young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses. To explore the impact of its member's mentoring programmes, YBI’s research team* distributed 1068 surveys to mentoring programme participants across 42 countries within the YBI network between February and March 2016 (Phase 1) and again as a follow-up between July and October 2017 (Phase 2).
By surveying the same participants 18 months later, the team were able to assess how the mentoring model and mentor-mentee relationships had evolved and improved over time.
So what tangible business benefits did their surveyed mentees associate with mentoring?
Increased Turnover: 65% of the entrepreneurs being mentored directly attributed turnover growth to their mentoring relationship by Phase 2. “This demonstrates the tangible impact voluntary business mentoring makes on economies.” said the report.
Business Growth: In Phase 1, 60% of mentees reported that their businesses were growing as a result of the accelerator role that mentoring played. In Phase 2 this increased to 74%.
Business Improvements: 57% of mentees during Phase 2 said their business improvements would not have happened at the same speed or scale – or at all – without their mentoring relationship.
Improved Decision Making. YBI found that by Phase 2, 72% of mentees reported better business decision making thanks to working with their mentor, compared to 56% in Phase 1.
Greater Confidence. 58% of mentees reported that they had greater confidence about running their business in Phase 1, growing to 74% in Phase 2.
Improved Development Awareness: 71% of mentees reported a better understanding of their personal strengths and areas of development by Phase 2, compared to 56% in Phase 1.
The research summarised: “The value of voluntary business mentoring as a catalysing incubation space cannot be underestimated.”
*The research in YBI’s report was conducted by Middlesex University, which was commissioned by YBI in 2015. The university is home to the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), an academic research centre specialising in entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and also the Department of Management, Leadership and Organisations (MLO), which has a group of academics who specialise in mentoring, coaching and leadership development.
Thinking of setting up a mentoring programme? Get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org. Kandu's networks collect benchmarking data from mentees on which mentors are them achieve key tasks, such as understanding complex ecosystems, widening their networks and helping them solve problems.