On July 25, 2016, the SBA published its final rule establishing a government-wide mentor-protégé program for the benefit of all small businesses as protégés. This widely-anticipated rule, implementing provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, provides increased opportunity for small and large businesses to partner with one another. Effective August 24, 2016, this new program is expected to unleash a flood of new mentor-protégé agreements (MPAs) as well as joint ventures eligible to compete on set-aside procurements, and it could likely result in an increase in the number of set-aside procurements.
Below we discuss the benefits from participating in this program, the requirements for the mentor-protégé agreement (“MPA”), the eligibility criteria for mentors and protégés, and the requirements for joint ventures established pursuant to the MPAs. Given the numerous benefits to participating in this program, including the opportunity to joint venture, the SBA has layered into this final rule the requirement for numerous express certifications of compliance and severe consequences for violation of the SBA’s regulations, MPAs, and/or joint venture agreements. A separate blog post will address the changes that the SBA is implementing in the final rule to the SBA’s current regulations governing the 8(a) business development (BD) program.