Lean Mentorship: Fitting external support to entrepreneur needs over the startup development

Abstract Paper aims The present paper aims at exploring aspects of the mentoring process within the practice of technology entrepreneurship, also postulating a new concept, the lean mentorship. Originality Although literature examines the effects and nature of mentoring in a variety of contexts, this study pioneers by addressing the mentorship process from the lean startup perspective. Research method The study was structured as an exploratory research, drawing on extant literature and a focus group comprised of scholars and practitioners with key roles within an entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. The group’s discussion was analyzed along with extant literature. Main findings The paper further debates and provides insightful perceptions of the key characteristics of the mentorship process, such as the roles of mentors and mentees, the differences and similarities with coaching, and aspects mentorship providers should consider before exposing entrepreneurs. Implications for theory and practice The main practical and theoretical contributions of this research are exactly the pioneering nature with regard to the lean startup perspective concerning mentoring. Additionally, conclusions suggests that mentoring providers should engage in experimentations to identify the moment in which entrepreneurs will best benefit from the provision, also mitigating waste of resources, such as time and expenses.