SBA Moving Closer To “Universal” Mentor-Protege Implementation

The SBA is moving toward implementing its proposed “universal” mentor-protege program for all small businesses.

According to testimony presented by the SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting Business Development at a recent Congressional hearing, the SBA has put together a Mentor-Protege Program Expansion Project Team to oversee the implementation of the new program.

On October 27, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business held a hearing on “Maximizing Mentoring: How are the SBA and DoD Mentor-Protege Programs Serving Small Businesses?”  At the hearing, the Small Business Committee took testimony from A. John Shoraka, the SBA’s Associate Administrator, Government Contracting Business Development.

In his written testimony, Mr. Shoraka stated that the SBA is moving ahead with the implementation of its proposed universal mentor-protege program:

On February 5, 2015, SBA issued a proposed rule to establish a Government-wide small business mentor-protege program, and the comment period for that proposed rule has officially closed.  We are currently drafting a final rule that will then be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for interagency review.  SBA has begun planning for implementation and has stood up a Mentor-Protege Program Expansion (MPP) Project Team to oversee the expansion and implementation of its new Government-wide mentor-protege program.

For prospective mentors and proteges, it is good to hear that the SBA is progressing with the implementation of its new universal mentor-protege program.  But companies wishing to take advantage of the new program as soon as possible will have to be patient–given that SBA is still in the process of writing the final rule, the program likely won’t take effect until sometime next year.

Mr. Shoraka’s testimony, and that of his DoD counterpart, Kenyatta Wesley, also revealed a few other interesting (at least to me!) nuggets about the current SBA and DoD mentor-protege programs:

  • There are 389 active 8(a) mentor-protege agreements in SBA’s portfolio.
  • Although there are 389 active 8(a) mentor-protege agreements, there are only 141 SBA approved 8(a) mentor-protege joint ventures.
  • On average, those 141 mentor-protege joint ventures are doing quite well.  Collectively, the joint ventures were awarded $1.42 billion in 8(a) and non-8(a) contracts in Fiscal Year 2015.  That’s more than $10 million, on average, for each joint venture.
  • The DoD mentor-protege program is lagging behind SBA’s 8(a) program in terms of participation.  The current program has 49 mentors and 64 proteges.
  • Among DoD mentor-protege participants, 18 are operating under agreements providing subcontracting credit, 44 under agreements providing reimbursement, and two under agreements providing both credit and reimbursement.

In addition to the written testimony, the Committee staff prepared an excellent, thorough memorandum on the current status of federal mentor-protege programs.  It is well worth a read.

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