We've released a number of projects on Hypnos and HSS that fall into this category.
Tom Heasley - Where the Earth Meets the Sky (debut album, mastered by Robert Rich)
Chad Hoefler - Twilight in the Offing (debut album, mastered by Robert Rich)
Justin Vanderburg - In Waking Moments (debut album, produced/mastered by Steve Roach)
Nverxion - A Look Within (debut album, produced/mastered by Steve Roach)
There may be others I'm forgetting at the moment.
I think there are a number of factors here. In my experience, the degree to which the well-known artist's involvement implies actual endorsement is actually less that one might think, in that if a mediocre artist approached the "master" artist and said "I want your help with my project and I am willing to pay for your time," I think the more successful artist would help on a "work for hire" basis at least, whether or not they loved the newer artist's work. In other words, the involvement of a "big name" may tend to signify a worthwhile project, but this may not necessarily always hold true.
Having said that, I think when the experienced guy helps the beginner with a style of music close to what the "guru" is working on himself (in other words, we're talking about basically ambient music in every case here) it's inevitable that the assistance will result in a better outcome, which most likely (unless the younger artist is a hopeless case) will be something both of them feel good about.
In the case of the four albums of this type we've released, I know the album was to some degree "endorsed" by the better-known artist. I don't think Robert Rich would mind me saying that he was the one who sent Heasley and Hoefler in the direction of Hypnos, in fact I believe Robert contacted me first in both cases. Now, both Tom and Chad have released other music since their debut so you could say they had more than the usual amount of talent or creativity to bring to the table and Robert just helped focus that and improve the sound.
I do think these contacts were initiated by the novices, and Rich and Roach did not "scout" them, though I could be wrong.
I also believe more novices would be well-served by learning from a more experienced mentor or guru, if they could find such a relationship, even if they had to pay for it. As a record label owner, I know the pitfalls afflicting most of the beginners' work I hear (problems with levels, mix clarity, background noise/hiss, significant frequency balance problems that could have been fixed by basic EQ) and much of that can be demonstrated or taught. When an unknown artist contacts me and says "do you want to hear what I've recorded?" I usually assume a certain kind of flawed sonics, but when I know the album was recorded by someone like Rich or Roach (and they're not the only two who could do this, just the only two whose "mentor" output I've heard) I feel pretty certain the usual weaknesses will not obscure the project. And it's not just a matter of sonics, mixing, or mastering, but I also think a producer or expert engineer can help the artist make aesthetic choices regarding editing, maybe selecting tracks that should be re-worked or eliminated.
In case it's not already obvious, I wish more artists would work in this sort of master-apprentice relationship, and I think it would strengthen our genre's output if this kind of thing happened more often.