Early-Stage Venture Incubation and Mentoring Promote Learning, Scaling, and Profitability among Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs

Education and prior work experience (collectively termed human capital) are vital to entrepreneurial success. Many base-of-the-pyramid individuals, however, lack the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed as entrepreneurs owing to poverty, limited opportunity, and discrimination. What role does coaching these individuals play in improving their business performance?

This study evaluates coaching as an intervention during new business incubation and its relationship to entrepreneurial learning of core management skills and concepts and the ability to deploy this knowledge towards improving business scaling (revenue growth) and profitability (profit growth) following the intervention. It also examines the heterogeneity in the effects of coaching and incubation on entrepreneurs with different demographic characteristics, including age, race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and prior knowledge.