SBA adds vets, women to mentor-protégé program

The Small Business Administration wants more firms participating in its mentor-protégé program beyond 8(a) companies.

The Small Business Administration will expand the reach of it mentor-protégé programs it was announced during testimony on Sept. 15 during the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce.

At a hearing titled "Helping Small Businesses Compete: Challenges Within Programs Designed to Assist Small Contractors," Joseph Jordan, SBA's associate administrator for government contracting and business development, testified that the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 gave the SBA authority to implement additional mentor-protégé programs for HUBZone, women-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. 

In the past the SBA's program was only open to disadvantaged businesses that participated in the 8(a) business development program. 

"We are in process of implementing these new programs," Jordan said at the hearing. "We conducted robust public outreach via a 13-city Small Business Jobs Act Tour and have held several meetings with various agency and public stakeholders to collect input and feedback on the implementation of these programs."

SBA is now drafting proposed regulations for public comment.

The mentor-protégé programs arranges relationships between experienced contractors and inexperienced small businesses to provide them business development assistance. The program provides incentives for mentor participation, such as credit toward subcontracting goals.

This hearing reviewed three recent Government Accountability Office reports including one that criticized the mentor-protégé programs for not tracking the results of the mentor-protégé relationships after they are formed.