Mentorship Processes within Startup Accelerators
21 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 28, 2019
The last decade has seen the development of a new support infrastructure in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: the startup accelerator. Accelerators offer a structured developmental process that includes an educational component, a bundle of networks and intensive mentorship.
Despite the central place of mentoring in accelerators, current evaluation studies do not explicitly include its contribution to programs’ impact. Moreover, there are no comprehensive descriptions of mentor types, roles and practices within accelerators, and how these should be integrated in their operation. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature by presenting a comprehensive description and classification of mentors in accelerators and their roles, goals, characteristics and practices. Building on these characteristics, we suggest best practices in terms of mentoring style and mentor-mentee fit. Our review and suggestions are based on 64 in-depth interviews with accelerator managers, mentors, entrepreneurs and key agents that participated in accelerator programs in Israel during the years 2011-2018. It is also based on the open sections of structured interviews we conducted with over 300 entrepreneurs and 150 mentors that participated in accelerators in Israel. We believe this study has important implications for practitioners, researchers in the field and policy makers.
Keywords: accelerator; mentorship; entrepreneurship; startup; ecosystem
JEL Classification: L26; L31; M13; G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation