The Mentor-Protégé program is designed to motivate and encourage large business prime contractor firms to provide mutually beneficial developmental assistance to small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns. The program is also designed to:
- improve the performance of contracts and subcontracts,
- foster the establishment of long-term business relationships between large prime contractors and small business subcontractors, and
- strengthen subcontracting opportunities and accomplishments through three incentives. (see Section 1.5 of Program Details)
All firms must be in good standing in the federal marketplace. The program excludes firms that are on the Federal List of Debarred or Suspended Contractors.
Mentor Firm – open to any large business firm that demonstrates the commitment and capability to assist in the development of small business protégés.
Protégé Firm - All small businesses that meet the definition of small business concern at FAR 19.001, based on their primary NAICS code, are eligible to be protégé firms. This includes small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns.
Mentor – For acquisitions that contain the requirement for a subcontracting plan, mentors are eligible to receive credit in the source selection/evaluation criteria process for mentor-protégé participation. Additionally, a post-award incentive for subcontracting plan credit is available by recognizing costs incurred by a mentor firm in providing assistance to a protégé firm and using this credit for purposes of determining whether the mentor firm attains a subcontracting plan participation goal applicable to the mentor firm under a Homeland Security contract. See Section 1.5 of Program Details.
Protégé – In addition to the benefits available to mentors, protégés may receive technical, managerial, financial, or any other mutually agreed upon benefit from mentors including work that flows from a government or commercial contract through subcontracting or teaming arrangements. The assistance could result in significant small business development.
Homeland Security – Benefits of moving from the traditional large business prime contractor/small business subcontractor model to a mentor-protégé relationship model based on mutual agreement, trust, and meaningful business development. Additionally, mentor-protégé arrangements may provide Homeland Security with greater assurance that a protégé subcontractor will be able to perform under a contract than a similarly situated non-protégé subcontractor. Further, protégé firms gain opportunities to seek and perform government and commercial contracts through the guidance and support of mentor firms that may not have been available to them without the mentor-protégé program.
Other benefits, which help support the Homeland Security mission, include:
- Acquiring an expanded base of qualified small businesses
- Mitigating the effects of necessary and justified contract bundling,
- Strengthening subcontracting opportunities, and
- Achieving a potential increase in small business program goal accomplishments.
Through self-identification, small business events, networking, marketing and other means, the mentor-protégé team jointly submits an agreement to the Homeland Security Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization for review and approval. This agreement must demonstrate the mutually beneficial relationship of the two parties.