Networks are recognized as a central component of the entrepreneurial process, in particular with regard to opportunity identification and exploitation. In this study, we specifically analyze the role of mentors who are in business as opportunity brokers and enablers among university students with entrepreneurial intentions. Our investigation on 1022 students from 13 French-language universities based in Canada, France, Belgium and Algeria indicates that mentors in business, contrary to other mentors, support opportunity identification and exploitation among university students. Although student gender, entrepreneurial experience and education have a more pronounced effect, mentoring is the only element that can be controlled for through the creation of formal support programs. These results call on public authorities, and universities in particular, to implement formal mentoring programs to support students who are interested in starting their own business, and who would not otherwise have access to business mentors in their environment.
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St-Jean, É., Tremblay, M., Janssen, F. et al. May business mentors act as opportunity brokers and enablers among university students?. Int Entrep Manag J 13, 97–111 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-016-0397-4