Abstract

Entrepreneurship studies suggest that the success and growth of startups can be determined by the founding team members’ prior experience in functional and market domains and by their social capital (Hsu, 2007; Shane & Stuart, 2002; Zhang, Soh, & Wong, 2010). However, for inexperienced entrepreneurs who have very good technical ideas and skills, can their limited initial organizational endowments be supplemented by the experience and social capital from others such as serial entrepreneurs or venture capital investors? In the market, there are experts experienced in managing or nurturing startups who are willing to play mentor and provide guidance to novice entrepreneurs with novel ideas. We are interested to study whether novice entrepreneurs who benefit from startup mentorship and guidance are more successful in growing their early-stage ventures than those who do not. The research context we choose to address the question is startup competitions in a regional economy. In such competitions, individuals with experience in startups from a local community are often invited to participate as mentors, judges, and sponsors in order to help early-stage ventures or novice entrepreneurs refine and pitch their creative business propositions, which in turn enhance their chances of acquiring further resources.

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