DOT's Mentor-Protégé Program enhances the capability of disadvantaged and small business owners to compete for federal procurement opportunities. The program encourages private-sector relationships and expands DOT's efforts to identify and respond to the developmental needs of small and disadvantaged businesses. The program is administered by the DOT Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).
Small business concerns include small disadvantaged businesses (SDB), 8(a) firms, women-owned small businesses (WOSB), HUBZone small businesses, veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB) and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB). The program is also designed to improve the performance of DOT contractors and subcontractors, foster the establishment of long-term business relationships between small businesses and prime contractors, and increase the overall number of small businesses that receive DOT contract and subcontract awards.
Mentor-Protégé Program Goals
- Motivate and encourage mentors to provide developmental assistance to protégés.
- Maximize small business access to DOT’s procurement programs.
- Foster long-term business relationships.
- Enhance small businesses core capabilities.
- Increase subcontracting opportunities.
Benefits to Mentor
- Goodwill and corporate responsibility (mentors receive no financial incentive for participation).
- Long-term relationship with a potential subcontractor.
- Develop innovative approaches and technology.
- Potential Joint Venture with small business.
Benefits to Protégé
- Business and/or financial management.
- Business planning and projections.
- Business Development.
- Long-term relationship with a potential prime contractor.
- Develop innovative approaches and technology.
- Potential Joint Venture with large business.
- Develop strong business capabilities to compete and perform in federal government contracts.
Throughout this web page the term "small business" includes all categories of small firms on whose behalf OSDBU is chartered to advocate, including a) small businesses, b) small disadvantaged businesses, c) 8(a) firms, d) women-owned small businesses, e) veteran-owned small businesses, f) service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and g) small businesses located in HUBZones. The following definitions are intended to be consistent with those used in Small Business Administration (SBA) and other Federal procurement programs:
- A 8(a) firm is a small business concern participating in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program.
- A HUBZone business is a qualified small business concern located in historically under-utilized business zones that are in an area located within one or more qualified census tracts, a qualified non-metropolitan county, or lands within external boundaries of an Indian reservation.
- A mentor is a prime contractor that elects to promote and develop small business subcontractors by providing developmental assistance designed to enhance the business success of the protégé. 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, and/or a small or large business.
- The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was created as part of the Small Business Act (SBA) to ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses are provided maximum practicable opportunity to participate in the agency's contracting process. Pursuant to Public Law 95-507, every federal agency is required to have an OSDBU. The Director of the OSDBU is the primary advocate within DOT responsible for promoting the maximum practicable use of all designated small business categories within the Federal Acquisition process. The goal of the OSBDU is to advocate for and manage the small business utilization programs for their organization.
- A protégé is a small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business; HUB Zone small business; veteran-owned small business, or service disabled veteran-owned small business that is the recipient of developmental assistance pursuant to a Mentor-Protégé arrangement.
- A Small Business (SB) is a concern, including its affiliates, that is independently owned and operated. It is not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding on government contracts, and is qualified as a small business in its primary NAICS code under the criteria and size standards in 13 CFR Part 121.
- A Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) is small business owned by a veteran with a service-related disability as defined by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
- A Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) is a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals as defined by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 19.001.
- A Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) is a small business that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more veterans; or, if a publicly owned business, at least 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more veterans. Also, one or more veterans control management and daily business operations of the firm.
- A Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) is a small business that is at least 51 percent owned by a woman or women as defined by FAR 19.001, including economically disadvantaged women owned small businesses (EDWOSB).
- Eligible business prime contractors (not under a suspension or debarment action and not in the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) database) approved as mentor firms may enter into arrangements with eligible protégés. Mentors provide appropriate developmental assistance to enhance the capabilities of protégés to perform as contractors and/or subcontractors.
- Eligible small business prime contractors (not under a suspension or debarment action and not in the EPLS database) capable of providing developmental assistance may act as mentors.
- Protégés may participate in the program in pursuit of a prime contract or as subcontractors under the mentor's prime contract with the DOT.
- Mentors and protégés are solely responsible for finding their counterpart. Therefore, we strongly encourage firms to explore existing business relationships in an effort to establish a Mentor-Protégé relationship.
- Mentor-Protégé arrangements should be for up to thirty six months.
Measurement of Program Success
The overall success of the Mentor-Protégé Program will be measured by the extent to which it results in:
- An increase in the quality of the technical capabilities of the protégé firms.
- An increase in the number, dollar value and percentage of contracts or subcontracts awarded to protégés since the date of entry into the program.
- An increase in the number and dollar value of contract and subcontract awards to protégé firms since the time of their entry into the program.
We anticipate requesting participants to provide an annual report and a program evaluation report at the conclusion of their agreement that addresses the following:
- Detailed actions taken by the mentor, to increase the participation of protégé as seller to the Federal Government.
- Detailed actions taken by the mentor, to develop the technical capabilities of a protégé as defined in the arrangement.
- The degree to which the protégé has met the developmental objectives in the arrangement.
- The degree to which the mentor firm's participation in the Mentor-Protégé Program resulted in the protégé receiving contract(s) and subcontract(s) from private firms, DOT or any other federal agency.
Eligibility: 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 and/or debarment action, and is not in the EPLS database. Mentors may have multiple protégés. For this program, mentors will consist of DOT prime contractors.
Eligibility: a protégé should be a Small Business (SB), HUBZone, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, veteran-owned small business, or service-disabled veteran-owned small business. In addition, 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. Protégés may have multiple mentors.
Selection of Mentor or Protégé Firms
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, VOSB, SDVOSB, and HUBZone firms whose core competencies support the Department of Transportation’s mission.
Firms interested in entering into a Mentor-Protégé relationship should provide written documentation of their arrangement to DOT OSDBU. This will provide OSDBU the opportunity to evaluate the nature and extent of technical and managerial support, and traditional subcontracting support involved in the Mentor-Protégé relationship, enabling OSDBU to provide advice and assistance to the parties. OSDBU will accept a limited number of arrangements for review during the following months in order to establish consistent internal processes.
The Mentor-Protégé arrangement should contain:
- Name, address, phone, and email of mentor and protégé firm(s) and a point of contact within both firms who will oversee the arrangement.
- A description of the type of developmental program that will be provided by the mentor firm to the protégé firm, including a schedule for providing assistance, and criteria for evaluation of the protégé's developmental success.
- Program participation term.
- Other terms and conditions, as appropriate.
- Procedures for the mentor’s voluntary withdrawal from the program including notification of the protégé firm and the OSDBU. The mentor should provide at least 30 days’ written notice to OSDBU before withdrawing from the program.
OSDBU will review a Mentor-Protégé arrangement no later than 30 days after receipt. Following OSDBU review, the mentor may implement the developmental assistance program.
OSDBU Review of Mentor-Protégé Arrangements
- The arrangement defines the relationship between the mentor and protégé firms only. The arrangement itself does not create any privity of contract between the mentor or protégé and DOT.
- OSDBU will review the information to ensure the mentor and protégé are both eligible for the program and provide appropriate advice and assistance to the firms concerning the arrangement and its implementation.
- OSDBU will notify the parties if changes in the arrangement are advisable in order to make the arrangement meet the objectives of the Mentor-Protégé Program. The mentor and protégé should incorporate OSDBU recommendations before implementing the arrangement.
- Upon completion of the review, the mentor may implement the developmental assistance program.
The forms of developmental assistance a mentor may provide to a protégé include:
- Management or technical assistance.
- Overall business management/planning.
- Cooperation on joint venture projects.
- Rent-free use of facilities and/or equipment.
- Temporary assignment of personnel to protégé for the purpose of training.
- Any other types of mutually beneficial assistance.
- The OSDBU will oversee the program to achieve program objectives.
- OSDBU will review and evaluate Mentor-Protégé arrangements for practicality, and accuracy of provided information.
- OSDBU can perform site visits where Mentor-Protégé activity is performed.
- OSDBU will Review annual reports to measure protégé progress against the established developmental assistance included in the approved arrangement.
- If OSDBU determines that the objectives of the arrangement are not met, OSDBU may conclude the existing Mentor-Protégé arrangement if it determines that such actions are in the best interest of the agency. The OSDBU will communicate this decision in writing that will be sent to the mentor and protégé after approval by the Director of OSDBU or representative.
US DOT Contact Information for the Mentor-Protégé Program
For general information about the Mentor-Protégé Program please please contact our Procurement Assistance Division:
OSDBU, Procurement Assistance Division
Phone number: 202.366.1930
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
1. What types of Small Business firms are eligible to participate in the Mentor-Protégé Program?
Firms eligible to participate in the Mentor-Protégé Program include those certified as small business, HUBZone, 8(a), small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, veteran-owned small business, or service-disabled veteran-owned small business.
2. What are the requirements for a protégé?
The protégé can be a small business, small disadvantaged business, 8(a) firm, women owned small business, HUBZone, veteran owned small business or service disabled veteran owned small business, and a federal contractor in good standing.
3. What are the requirements for a mentor?
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, it should demonstrate that it is a federal contractor in good standing. For this program, mentors will consist of DOT prime contractors.
4. How many mentors can a protégé have?
Protégés may have multiple mentors.
5. How many protégés can a mentor have?
Mentors may have multiple protégés.
6. What are the benefits/incentives to the mentor for participating in the program?
The mentor is solely responsible for selecting a protégé with whom they believe they can develop a successful relationship. Thus, mentors should consider the following attributes or characteristics when selecting a protégé:
- Mentors can develop long-term relationships with potential subcontractors that have critical skills. These skills can be used to complement or diversify their company while competing for federal contracts.
- A good mentor-protégé relationship builds trust and loyalty between the mentor and protégé.
- Mentor-Protégé arrangements may provide the Government with greater assurance that a protégé subcontractor will be able to perform better under the contract than a similarly situated non-protégé subcontractor.
- Develop innovative approaches and technology.
- Potential Joint Venture with protégé.
- Goodwill and corporate responsibility.
7. Are there certain times of year that companies can submit Mentor-Protégé arrangements for approval, or can they be submitted at any time during the year?
There’s no time limitation to submit Mentor-Protégé arrangements.
8. What should a mentor consider when selecting a small business protégé?
- A previous, established association is highly recommended between the mentor and protégé.
- How the assistance aligns with the protégé’s strategic vision.
- Commitment to the relationship by both parties.
- Capabilities of the protégé and how they interface with the mentor.
- Stability of the protégé’s management and financial status.
- Protégé’s past performance.
- Results of any contract/subcontract work between the mentor and protégé.
- Subcontracting expectations.
Below is a list of Mentor Protege program participants.
|Indus Corporation||Miracle Systems|
|Advanced Systems Technology and Management (ASTM), Inc.||Qi Tech, LLC|
|Engineering & Software Consultants, Inc.||EG Management Services, Inc.|
|Millenium Services 2000+, Inc.||The District Communications Group, LLC|
|The Burns Group||Louise Carter and Associates, Inc.|
|Parsons Brinckerhoff, P.C.||Symmetra Design|
|Colom Construction||Strategic Enterprise Group|
|The Media Network||Bixal Communications|
|TranSystem Corp||Landworks Studio|