Contractors now have 50 billion reasons to pursue the SBA Mentor-Protege program, thanks to CIO-SP4.

The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) has posted the long-awaited solicitation for the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). The new vehicle appears to be a not-so-subtle endorsement of the SBA’s Mentor-Protege Program’s joint venture teaming arrangement, which is one of the program’s focus points. Contractors of all sizes in practically every industry will be affected by the RFP. The goal of the SBA’s Mentor-Protege Program is to boost involvement among small business contractors, according to the RFP. Large firms have their own awards, but if they have a protégé, they can participate on a small business CTA team. 

Small Business CTAs: To be considered a small business, the CTA’s other members must all be small businesses, some other socioeconomic category of a small business, or a non-small business with an SBA-approved mentor-protégé agreement with the eligible socioeconomic business whose status the CTA is relying on to compete for award. A FAR 9.601(1) CTA that is not a joint venture must show that at least half of the human costs incurred for contract performance will be spent on employees of the prime contractor/team lead. 

The SBA Mentor Protege Program (MPP) is a business development agreement under which one business provides another business with developmental assistance, with the approval of the SBA. The benefits for the mentor are the ability to bid on contracts that have different set asides, greater work share (up to 60% in the joint venture), and exclusion from affiliation. 

The protege gains from being able to pursue and win larger initiatives that it would not otherwise be able to pursue and win on its own by leveraging the mentor’s past performance and capacity. It can also accelerate a smaller company’s success in the federal market by allowing them to collaborate closely with a larger, more experienced federal firm. 

Small businesses can now inherit the capabilities and resources of the larger partner, making them significantly more competitive. The program is also growing more popular as more companies recognize the significant advantage that it can offer both the mentor and the protege. Last month, Ogilvy had its MPP relationship with the woman-owned small business EFK Group highlighted in MSN 

By: Mariatu Alale