Is the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program Right for You?
For small contractors, the SBA All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (mentor-protégé program) offers a range of benefits and tools to help you grow and develop your business. For larger firms participating as mentors, this program potentially offers access to government contracts that are otherwise only available to small business entities.
Qualifying for the mentor-protégé program requires firms to meet specific criteria established by the SBA. The firms must complete a tutorial and submit a detailed business plan that identifies the specifics of the proposed mentor-protégé relationship.
What Is the Mentor-Protégé Program?
This program partners small businesses (protégés) with larger, established firms (mentors) with the intent of helping the smaller firm achieve its business development goals — specifically by improving the protégé’s ability to compete for government contracts.
The mentor firm provides help for the protégé, including management assistance, education, administrative help or even financial assistance in the form of loans, bonding or equity investment.
The mentor and protégé firms can elect to form a joint venture for the purpose of pursuing government set-aside contracts.
What Are the Pros & Cons of the Mentor-Protégé Program?
Under this program, protégé firms can gain knowledge, increase their ability to compete for government contracts and potentially obtain critical financial assistance. If a protégé forms a partnership with the mentor, they may succeed in winning previously unavailable contracts.
Mentors also stand to benefit significantly in that, forming a joint venture partnership with the protégé, they will qualify as a small business entity for the purpose of access to government contracting opportunities.
Does Your Business Qualify for the Mentor-Protégé Program?
For protégés, the SBA requires that all participating businesses qualify as a small business and fit the criteria of either a Woman-Owned Small Business, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business or Historically Underutilized Business Zone Business. You must also have experience in your industry.
Protégés must identify a mentor business before you can apply for the program. You must submit a detailed written business plan that outlines the specific assistance to be provided by the mentor along with a proposed benchmark schedule.
Even if your business does qualify for the mentor-protégé program, it is important for you to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks for your firm. If you can identify specific opportunities that would benefit both partners, you may want to further explore participation in the program.
Meridian West Consultants can help you learn more about this and other business development opportunities. Our comprehensive suite of proposal management and business development services includes opportunity tracking, bid/no-bid analysis and proposal-writing assistance.
If you would like to learn more about how our experienced team of professional proposal management experts can help you grow your business, call us today and learn more about the SBA mentor-protégé program and other business development opportunities.