Mentor/Protégé Program

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established an "All Small Mentor-Protege Program" (MPP). In the past, they only had a mentor-protege program for firms in the 8(a) program. Now they also have programs for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses, Woman Owned Small Businesses, Historically Underutilized Business Zones, and general small businesses. Due to the expansion of the SBA program, USAID is no longer accepting applications for the USAID program. The SBA program will allow small businesses to partner with other firms to gain experience, expertise, and additional capabilities in areas that are needed by USAID's program areas.

The purpose of the program is to develop strong protégé firms through mentor-provided business development assistance, and to help protégés successfully compete for government contracts. Mentor-provided assistance can be sought for any, or all of the following activities:

Management and Technical Assistance

Internal business management systems; accounting processes; marketing and business/strategic planning assistance; technology transfers; and manufacturing assistance.

Financial Assistance

In the form of equity investments and/or loans; and bonding.

Contracting Assistance

Contracting processes; capabilities; acquisitions; and performance.

Trade Education

International Trade business and strategic planning; finding markets; and learning how to export.

Business Development Assistance

Strategy; and identifying contracting and partnership opportunities.

General and/or Administrative Assistance

Business processes and support; human resource sharing; security clearance support; and capacity building.

To participate in the MPP, a Mentor Protege Agreement (MPA) is required. The MPA must outline the following items:

  • The business need (goal), as outlined by the Protégé, in one or more of the eligible categories for assistance.
  • The mentor’s plan to address that need (goal).
  • The timeline for a need (goal) to be met.
  • The measure by which SBA will determine the successful accomplishment of the goal.

Mentor-Protege participates have the option of entering into Joint Venture (JV) agreements. The advantage of doing so is that the JV may compete for federal contracts that are set-aside for small businesses, regardless of the Mentor firm's size.

I encourage small businesses that desire to work with USAID to consider applying for the SBA All Small Mentor Protege Proram with potential mentor firms that have expertise and capabilities in the focus areas sought by USAID to accomplish its missions.

For additional information about the SBA program can be found at Questions may be e-mailed to the SBA at