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Does mentoring reduce entrepreneurial doubt? A longitudinal gendered perspective

Etienne St-Jean (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivieres, Canada)
Amélie Jacquemin (Louvain School of Management, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Mons, Belgium)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 27 May 2022

Issue publication date: 9 August 2022




Mentoring appears to be a good support practice to reduce entrepreneurial doubt, amongst other things. Although perceived similarity could foster the mentoring relationship, gender dyad composition may also influence doubt reduction for entrepreneurs because of the potential gender stereotype in entrepreneurship.


The authors performed longitudinal research based on an initial sample of 170 entrepreneurs supported by a mentor to investigate the evolution of entrepreneurial doubt.


This study demonstrates that doubt can be reduced with mentoring, but only temporarily for male mentees. Gender stereotypes may be at play when it comes to receiving the support of a female mentor as entrepreneurship is still, unfortunately, a “male-dominated world.” Receiving support from mentors perceived as highly similar within the dyad does not reduce entrepreneurial doubt. Trusting the mentor is an important aspect, besides gender, in reducing entrepreneurial doubt.


The research provides insights into the gendered effect of mentoring to reduce entrepreneurial doubt. It shows that gender dyad composition should be taken into consideration when studying mentoring or other similar support to entrepreneurs.



The authors acknowledge the collaboration of Réseau Mentorat to facilitate the data collection in providing access to mentees' email addresses.

Funding: This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


St-Jean, E. and Jacquemin, A. (2022), "Does mentoring reduce entrepreneurial doubt? A longitudinal gendered perspective", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 375-396.



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