Congress has authorized the SBA to create a mentor-protege program for all small businesses, not just socioeconomically disadvantaged companies.
This major change was included in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and signed into law by President Obama on January 3. The 2013 NDAA also addresses the recent proliferation of agency mentor-protege programs (and, by extension, the SBA’s refusal to acknowledge an exception from affiliation for participants in most other agencies’ mentor-protege programs) by requiring most procuring agencies to obtain SBA approval for their mentor-protege programs.
The 2013 NDAA amends the Small Business Act to state that “[t]he [SBA] Administrator is empowered to establish a mentor-protege program for all small business concerns.” The new mentor-protege program for small businesses “shall be identical to the mentor-protege program of the [SBA] for small business concerns that participate in the program under section 8(a) . . . except that the Administrator may modify the program to the extent necessary given the types of small business concerns included as proteges.”