The Merging of Two Mentor-Protégé Programs
On 16 October, in response to President Trump’s executive Order 13711, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a final rule that merged the 8(a) Business Development Mentor-Protégé Program and the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program into a single program. Titled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” the executive order was created to control the costs related to regulations and lessen those that were burdensome and no longer needed.
Established 20 years ago, the 8(a) Business Development Mentor-Protégé Program was designed to assist protégé firms in being successful contenders for government contracts by providing them with key knowledge and best practices. In 2016, in an attempt to extend SBA approved mentor protégé connections to all small businesses, the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP) was created. Touted as an all-inclusive program rather than individual programs, like the 8(a) Program, it was designed to help protégé firms be successful competitors for government contracts.
Because both programs have the same purpose and provide identical benefits, SBA believes that having both programs is needless and causes unnecessary confusion for those in the small business community. Therefore, the rule joins the two programs “in order to eliminate confusion regarding perceived differences between the two Programs, remove unnecessary duplication of functions within SBA, and establish one, unified staff to better coordinate and process” the applications for the mentor-protégé applications.
While an individual 8(a) Business Development Mentor-Protégé Program is removed, 8(a) participants can still enter a mentor-protégé relationship through the ASMPP. Other changes under the rule include eliminating “Three” from the “Three-In-Two” rule for joint ventures; modifications to the limitations on subcontracting and the nonmanufacturer rule; revision of the 8(a) procurement process for contracts; adjusting the approval process for 8(a) contracts under the joint venture agreement; and also the time period for when a business must recertify its size and status for orders under a multiple award contract.
The Final Rule will go into effect on 16 November.