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Increasing Mentor-Protégé Opportunities for all Small Businesses

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Created on March 3, 2015

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently published a proposed rule to amend its regulations to establish a government-wide Mentor-Protégé Program for all small businesses as directed by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA). As directed by the statute, the proposed small business mentor-protégé program is modeled on SBA’s existing 8(a) Business Development mentor-protégé program.

The expansion of the program will increase opportunities for small businesses to enter the federal marketplace as well as to pursue larger and more complex requirements. The mentor protégé program is designed to pair up nascent firms that are facing potential development gaps with larger, more experienced firms that can assist in filling those gaps.

Mentors typically provide support in areas such as managerial experience, past performance qualifications, project implementation know-how and the ability to manage larger and complex contracts.

The proposed rule also addresses other minor changes and provisions that could impact you if you’re an 8(a) participant or small business doing work with the federal government. Comments must be received on or before April 6, 2015 at and identified by RIN: 3245-AG24. Comments in the following areas will allow the SBA to draft a final rule responsive to the small business community’s needs:

  1. Should SBA establish one small mentor protégé program, or separate programs for 8(a), HUBZone, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Women-Owned and small business concerns?

  2. How is a joint venture defined? Should the SBA require separate entities for purposes of tracking? Should joint ventures be populated or unpopulated? Should joint ventures certify or report to the government on contract performance?

  3. What should the application process for the Mentor- Protégé Program look like, and how does a firm qualify as a mentor or protégé? How often can a concern qualify as mentor or protégé? How long should the relationship continue?

  4. Should other agencies’ mentor protégé programs continue?

The proposed rule also includes other 8(a) Business Development program changes, including revisions to rules governing a firm’s primary industry code, and the reporting of benefit distribution by entity-owned concerns.

For more information about the proposed revisions visit: