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Mentoring functions and entrepreneur development in the early years of university

Nabi, Ghulam and Walmsley, Andreas and Akhtar, Iman (2019) Mentoring functions and entrepreneur development in the early years of university. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 0307-5079

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Abstract

At a time of growing interest in graduate entrepreneurship, this study focuses on the role of mentoring in developing students’ entrepreneurial careers in the Early Years of University (EYU). An integrated conceptual framework is presented that combines mentoring functions and entrepreneurial development (entrepreneurial intentions and nascent behaviour). Data from 18 student mentees who expressed an interest in starting their own businesses, and who were mentored by alumni entrepreneurs of a British University were analysed. Findings support the applicability of our framework in addressing the multifaceted nature of the mentoring functions, which include a range of knowledge development and socio-emotional functions such as entrepreneurial career development, specialist business knowledge, rolemodel presence and emotional support. The results contribute to understanding mentoring functions and entrepreneurial development in the EYU. Implications for the design of entrepreneurial mentoring programmes and avenues for future research are discussed.

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