On November 8, 2019, the Small Business Administration published a proposed rule to combine the 8(a) Business Development (BD) Mentor-Protégé Program with the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. 84 Fed. Reg. 60,846 (Nov. 8, 2019) . The far-reaching SBA proposal also includes changes to the mentor-protégé programs, changes affecting joint ventures, changes for certain details in the 8(a) Program, and new requirements for certain multiple-award contracts, among others. Comments on the proposed rule are due January 17, 2020.
Combining the 8(a) BD and All Small Mentor-Protégé Programs
Although the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program seems to have been around forever, SBA started it relatively recently, in 1998. The purpose of the program is to enhance the ability of the minority-owned protégé to compete for government and commercial contracts, through business assistance for the protégé, such as technical or management training, financial assistance in either equity investments or loans, and subcontracts. But it also proved popular because it enabled large firms to form joint ventures with 8(a) protégés, which were then eligible to compete for any opportunity for which the protégé qualified.
In 2010 and 2013, in two separate legislative enactments, Congress created a similar mentor-protégé program, first for the other socioeconomic preference programs – the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern (SDVOSB) Program, the HUBZone Program, and the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program – and subsequently expanding it to cover all small businesses (the “All Small Mentor-Protégé Program”).
Since the purposes and benefits of the two programs are identical, SBA now proposes to eliminate the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program and allow 8(a) companies to continue to form mentor-protégé joint ventures through the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program.
Continue reading at: Miles & Stockbridge