The role of mentorship in transference of entrepreneurial learning: Johannesburg exempted micro enterprises and practitioners' perspectives

Mhlahlo, Lumka Precious
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Low levels of entrepreneurial activity and success have led to calls for mentorship as a support mechanism to increase the success rate of entrepreneurial ventures in South Africa’s economic landscape. Mentoring is a crucial aspect of entrepreneurial training and education (Sullivan, 2000; Regis, Falk, & Dias, 2007) and it is entrepreneurial education that is perceived as the solution that will transform South Africans from job seekers into job creators (North, 2002). It is also hoped that entrepreneurship education will contribute to the ideal of empowering as many people as possible in order to unleash the previously stifled human potential of all South Africans (Hanekom, 1995). Unfortunately, South Africans suffer from a ‘dearth of entrepreneurial acumen’, and this has resulted in the frequent lack of growth and high failure rates of businesses (Nieman, 2006; van Aardt & van Aardt, 1997). A two-phase qualitative research approach was utilised with semi-structured mentor and mentee interviews. This study found that mentorship was mutually beneficial to both the mentors and mentees. The latter experienced immense personal benefits on a business and emotional level whereas an increase in revenue and improved operational systems were identified as being positive impacts on business growth. Previous entrepreneurial experience, trust and empathy were stipulated as vital factors in the establishment of a successful relationship.
A research report submitted to Wits Business School May 2017
Mhlahlo, Lumka Precious (2017) The role of mentorship in transference of entrepreneurial learning :Johannesburg Exempted Micro Enterprises and practitioners' perspectives, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>