Alert: SBA Issues Final Rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs and Other Contracting Rules

As we discussed, in late 2019 the SBA issued a proposed rule that would make a number of significant changes to the mentor-protege programs and other small business contracting rules. Well, the SBA will soon issue its final rule on these changes, so make sure you are aware of the new rules.

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Clean-Up on Aisle “FAR”: Joint Venture and Subcontracting Plan Rules Get Modernized

Joint ventures and small business subcontracting are two issues near and dear to the hearts of many small business federal contractors. Well, the Federal Acquisition Regulation will soon be updated with respect to both of these topics. The new rules will align with SBA’s rules and remove any inconsistencies. Let’s dive in!

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SBA Adds Affiliation Questions to Revised All Small Mentor-Protege Template

With little fanfare, the SBA has updated the template for agreements under the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP). The new template adds a series of check box-style questions, mainly about potential affiliation between the mentor and protege.

Be sure to check out the new template if you are working on a mentor-protégé agreement.

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SBA OIG All Small Mentor-Protégé Program Evaluation Reveals Concerns and Suggests Improvements

In 2016, SBA established the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, or ASMPP, enabling mentors of any size to provide business development assistance to small protégé businesses to enhance the protégé’s ability to compete for federal contracts. Since then, the ASMPP has served as a powerful tool for many businesses and, as of August 1, there were 885 active mentor-protégé agreements.

Recently, however, the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General released a report highlighting some opportunities to improve the program and recommending SBA take additional steps to ensure compliance with the program’s requirements.

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SBA Mentor-Protégé Joint Ventures: Even GAO Appears a Tad Confused

The SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program offers a tremendous opportunity for participants to pursue set-aside contracts as joint venture partners.  But misunderstandings and misconceptions about how SBA mentor-protégé joint ventures work are pervasive.

One very common misconception is that the SBA must pre-approve a mentor-protégé joint venture.  In most cases, that’s not so.  In a recent bid protest decision, even the GAO appeared a little confused, repeatedly mentioning SBA approval of a joint venture even though no such approval was required for the contract in question.

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All Small Mentor-Protege: SBA Confirms “Two Per Lifetime” Limit

A small business “can have no more than two [SBA] mentors over the life of the business,” according to the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protege Program website.

The SBA’s clarification of the lifetime limit provides important guidance for proteges, especially because the SBA’s mentor-protege regulations aren’t exactly crystal clear when it comes to this point.  The SBA’s limit ensures that small businesses don’t become permanent proteges–but is “two per lifetime” the best way to carry out that policy?

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SBA Plans to Consolidate All Small and 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Programs

The SBA plans to issue a proposed rule consolidating the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program and the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program.

According to a recent SBA publication in the Federal Register, the SBA has had a change of heart about whether it is necessary to run two similar mentor-protégé programs–one for everybody, and another only for 8(a) firms.

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