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SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program

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SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program

By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: January 13, 2014

Is your small business part of SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program? Have you considered entering the Mentor-Protégé Program to develop your business and compete more successfully for federal government contracts? As either the mentor or the protégé, there’s a lot to be gained from participating. Here’s how it works and the requirements to participate.  

How does it work?

The Mentor-Protégé Program fosters private-sector relationships between small businesses. It’s designed to allow approved small businesses – as mentors – to provide various kinds of assistance to their protégés, which are other eligible 8(a) participants that are still in the developmental stage of the 8(a) Business Development Program.

What are the benefits?

The benefits go both ways in this program. As a mentor or protégé, you’ll have the opportunity to learn and grow as a small business and prepare for greater success in the realm of government contracting.

  • Technical and management assistance: Protégés can benefit from their mentors’ expertise, resources and capabilities. In passing along this knowledge, mentors can hone their skills and note potential areas for improvement.
  • Prime contracting: Mentors can enter into joint-venture arrangements with protégés to compete for federal contracts so they can sell their products or services to the government.
  • Financial assistance in the form of equity or loans: Mentors can own equity interest of up to 40% in protégé firms to help them raise capital.
  • Qualification for other SBA programs: Protégés can obtain other forms of SBA assistance as the result of good standing in the Mentor-Protégé program.

The Mentor-Protégé Program also expands SBA’s efforts to identify and respond to the developmental needs of 8(a) clients.

What are the protégé requirements?

To participate in the program, protégés must:

  • Be in the developmental stage of the 8(a) Business Development program
  • Have never received an 8(a) contract
  • Be less than half the size standard for a small business based on its primary SIC code
  • Be in good standing in the 8(a) Business Development program and current with all reporting requirements

Protégés can only have one mentor at a time.

What are the mentor requirements?

To participate in the program, mentors can be a business that have graduated from the 8(a) Business Development program, in the transitional stage of the program, or a small or large business. Mentor businesses must also:

  • Have favorable financial health, including profitability for at least the last two years
  • Be a federal contractor in good standing
  • Be able to provide valuable support to a protégé through lessons learned and practical experience gained from the 8(a) BD program (or through general knowledge of government contracting)
  • Make at least a yearlong commitment to the protégé

A mentor will usually have one protégé at a time, but may have more with SBA authorization.

Want to learn more or apply? Contact your district office to apply for the Mentor-Protégé Program, or call (800) 827-5722 with any questions.

Related Resources

About the Author:

Katie Murray

Contributor and Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the Community. I'll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Thanks for joining our online community here at!


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I like to register for mentor protégé program
is there a Mentor-Protégé Program for other small businesses, SDVOB
Hi, there is available mentor-protege program under the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program
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