About SBA’s All Small Mentor Protege Program

All Small program benefits Protégés can get valuable business development help from their mentors in several areas, including: Guidance on internal business management systems, accounting, marketing, manufacturing, and strategic planning Financial assistance in the form of equity investments, loans, and bonding Assistance navigating federal contract bidding, acquisition, and performance process Education about international trade, strategic planning, and finding markets Business development, including strategy and identifying contracting and partnership opportunities General and administrative assistance, like human resource sharing or security clearance support   Learn more information by listening to the podcast.     websites https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/all-small-mentor-protege-program Certificate:  https://www.sba.gov/course/all-small-mentor-protege-program/   Contact nancy   nancy@byerlyenterprises.com www.federalcontractingmadeeasy.com www.byerlyenterprises.com

The All Small Mentor-Protégé Program otherwise known as MPP is designed to provide small businesses with business development assistance and to enhance their ability to successfully compete for federal contracts.

About SBA's All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
About SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program


To be eligible to participate in the All Small Mentor-Protege program the protégé must be either a for-profit business or an agricultural cooperative that is considered “small” for the NAICS code in which you are wanting assistance from the Mentor-Protégé relationship.  Other requirements:


About SBA's All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
About SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program

Specific Rules

The following rules apply to the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program as well:

Types of Assistance

Your Mentor can provide the following SBA-approved assistance:

About SBA's All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
About SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program

Benefits of Mentor-Protégé Program

Mentors can help you grow your networks and challenge you in positive ways that will help your business grow and develop.  In order to meet the size standards required to get the set-aside, both businesses in the joint venture need to be small.  If either one of the businesses are not considered small in the NAICS code of the procurement the joint venture will not qualify to win the small business set-aside.  Why not?  Well that is because SBA’s rules related to “affiliation” that prohibit non-small businesses from entering into a joint venture to bid on small business set-asides.

The rules are intended to:

  1. Preclude a small business from leaning too heavily on a larger business in order to win a contract; and
  2. Protect a small business from being taken advantage of by a larger business.

One of the most tangible benefits of the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program is the ability to receive an “exclusion from affiliation”.  This allows a small business to leverage the experience and relationships of a larger more mature company.

The exclusion of affiliation allows a qualifying small business can enter a joint venture agreement with a business of any size.  That is, if SBA approves your Mentor-Protégé Agreement, you and your mentor may joint venture for any small business set-aside that you the protégé qualify for, regardless of your Mentor’s size.

Mentor-Protégé Agreement

In order to be considered for the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, you need to submit a document called the Mentor-Protégé Agreement (MPA) to SBA.  This document is a roadmap for the relationship between you and your Mentor.  The Mentor-Protégé Agreement should assess your business development needs, specify how your Mentor will address your needs, and set a developmental timeline for the delivery of assistance that your Mentor commits too.

An MPA may be approved for three years, with an option to renew for another three years.  For example, you may have two three-year MPAs with different Mentors, and each may be extended an additional three years provided the Mentor provided the agreed-upon assistance.

The Mentor Protégé Agreement must specifically address the following

SBA will not approve the MPA unless SBA can determine that the Mentor-provided assistance will promote real development gains for your business and is not merely a vehicle for the Mentor to receive federal small business set-asides.

About SBA's All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
About SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program

How to find a good Mentor?

Mentors can help you grow your networks and challenge you in positive ways.  As you look to identify a potential Mentor, it is critical that you do your research.  Make sure the potential mentor has a good reputation and are willing and able to coach and mentor you.  If you haven’t worked with them before, what do you know about them?  If they approached you about a potential Mentor-Protégé relationship, do you know why?  Be sure your prospective Mentor is not just looking for access to federal small business set-aside contracts.

I always tell my clients to test out a potential relationship before you go to all the work to establish the Mentor-Protégé Agreement.  It is best to work together will a potential mentor to see how well each business interacts with the other.  I have found that many businesses will agree to do work together but once money comes into play that they act differently.  I have seen this happen with both Mentors and Proteges.

Does your potential mentor have good supplier relationships and what experience do they have working with the federal government?  Be clear about what you need from the relationship and be sure it’s reflected in any agreement you work out.  Above all, make sure what they are offering matches your needs and that it fits with your growth plan.

Mentor Qualifications:

Your Mentor must qualify to participate in the All Small Mentor Protégé Program.  Below are the qualifications:

Joint Ventures:

Once your Mentor-Protégé Agreement has been approved by SBA, you then can formulate a joint venture agreement to go after set-asides that you the protégé are eligible for.  There are three points that the Protégé should be aware of.

  1. Each joint venture must be separately identified with the appropriate DUNS and CAGE numbers in SAM.gov.
  2. The entity “Type” in SAM.gov must be identified as a joint venture, with the individual joint venture partners listed.
  3. All joint venture agreements must be in writing, and you the Protégé must meet the program-specific requirements for the set-aside you are seeking.

While joint venturing is a great opportunity, there are risks that another business will protest your joint venture, and you could lose the bid if your joint venture agreement isn’t written or structure appropriately.  Although SBA does not review or approve joint venture agreements, there is statutory guidance that can help you know what should be included.

Joint Venture Agreement must state the following:

For additional guidance please review the Code of Federal Regulations otherwise known as CFR.


Applying to the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program.

If you meet the preliminary criteria and are ready to apply to the program you will need to gather the following:

Now that you have gathered these materials you need to ensure that your SAM.gov registration has the NAICS code listed under your profile that you are requesting business development assistance.  This is a very important step and SBA cannot approve any Mentor Protégé Agreements if the requested NAICS code is not listed as either your primary or secondary.

If you need to add or revise the codes in SAM please make sure to do so and wait at least 24 hours before entering that information into your Mentor Protégé program application to make sure the information has been updated.  Finally, you will need to know your Mentor’s DUNS number.

Now that you are ready to apply you will need to complete an online application through SBA’s certify.sba.gov system.  When you enter the site, you will be asked a series of questions to determine your program eligibility.  There will also be prompts asking you to upload electronic copies of all required documents.

Once you have uploaded and completed the application you need to wait to hear from SBA.  Unfortunately, I do not have any way to know the length of time that it is taking to process these applications.