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Secretary LaHood Announces DOT Mentor Protégé Pilot Program

On April 10, 2012 US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the launch of a DOT Mentor-Protégé Pilot Program during DOT’s Small Business Day: Moving Forward.  This pilot program was created to enhance the capability of minority and small business owners to successfully compete for and perform in federal procurement opportunities. Managed by the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), the program will provide an opportunity for small businesses to create strategic alliances with successful large or prime contractors to receive technical assistance and move their businesses to the next level.

Secretary LaHood delivers keynote remarks during the opening session of Small Business Day. SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns details her agency’s efforts to improve access to capital for small businesses as well as SBA’s ongoing partnership with DOT.

Joined onstage with SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, Secretary LaHood remarked, “This new program is an important part of President Obama’s plan to create an America that’s ‘built to last’ – an America where everyone has a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We want every company, no matter how big or small, and no matter who owns it; to have a chance to do the work America needs done; and we’re fighting every day to put people to work rebuilding our transportation network.”

By encouraging and supporting private-sector relationships, DOT is expanding its efforts to identify and respond to the developmental needs of small and minority owned businesses. Through the pilot program, large and prime contractors will establish an agreement with small businesses to provide developmental assistance in areas such as project management, financial assistance, technical support, marketing techniques, cooperation on Joint Venture projects, and rent-free use of facilities among others. Mentor-Protégé agreements can be established for a maximum of 24 months.

The mentor can be a business that has graduated from the 8(a) Business Development program, a firm in the transitional stage of the program, or a small or large business. In addition, the mentor should be able to show that it is currently eligible for Federal contracting opportunities, is not under a suspension or debarment action, and is not in the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) database.  The program will strengthen the mentor’s strategic alliances within their industry and provide them with a greater network of potential partners.

Felice Gorordo from the White House Office of Public Engagement leads a workshop on the Administration’s efforts to increase opportunities for small businesses.

A protégé can be a Small Business (SB), HUB Zone, Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), including Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB); Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). The protégé should be able to show that it is currently eligible for Federal contracting opportunities, is not under a suspension or debarment action, and is not in the EPLS database.

“As part of our commitment to small businesses, it is our goal to find ways to increase small business participation in DOT and the federal market place. We are thrilled to launch this pilot program to provide small businesses with developmental assistance, increasing their ability to compete for and perform in federal procurement opportunities. We encourage business owners to take advantage of this program, gain procurement and marketing techniques, and foster long lasting strategic alliances,” remarked OSDBU Director Brandon Neal.

Mentor and protégé firms are responsible for selecting their counterpart. The mentor is encouraged to select from a broad base of Small Businesses including SB, SDB, WOSB, EDWOSB, VOSB, SDVOSB, and HUBZone firms whose core competencies support DOT’s missions.

The Small Business Day event also included workshops led by Felice Gorordo from the White House Office of Public Engagement and Camille Hazeur, Director of DOT’s Office of Civil Rights.  During the Networking Session, participants had an opportunity to meet with over 40 representatives from government and large contractors about procurement opportunities through state and Federal agencies.

Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013