The SBA has long had a lifetime limit of two mentors for each protégé–and this limit was enforced very strictly. Say the mentor ghosted the protégé, or the two just never did any contracts together. Well, too bad, that still used up one of the two lifetime mentors that a protégé could have.
They say there are no second chances, but the SBA’s new rulewill allow for second chances on a mentor protégé arrangement in some circumstances, which should benefit protégés going forward.
The SBA’s “Certify” website, certify.SBA.gov, has fallen far short of meeting its objectives, according to an eye-opening report from the SBA’s Office of Inspector General.
The OIG concludes that, despite an investment of $30 million, Certify “does not have many of the essential search, analytical, and reporting tools it was supposed to have.” Additionally, Certify’s lack of functionality has forced SBA employees to use time-consuming workarounds, causing delays in screening and approving applications, among other things.
Speaking at the National 8(a) Association 2017 Small Business Conference, John Klein, the SBA’s Associate General Counsel for Procurement Law, confirmed that All Small mentor-protege agreements are being processed very quickly. I was in the audience this morning for Mr. Klein’s comments, which also included many other interesting nuggets on the SBA’s new All Small Mentor-Protege Program.
An 8(a) joint venture was unable to show that its mentor-protege agreement had been renewed by the SBA for a particular year–and the missing reauthorization caused the joint venture to be ineligible for a small business set-aside contract.
In a recent decision, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that an 8(a) joint venture could not avail itself of the mentor-protege exemption from affiliation when there was no evidence to show that the SBA had renewed the mentor-protege relationship for the year in which the joint venture’s proposal was submitted.