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    If a small business AE is in a joint venture with a large business AE, they must be in a mentor-protégé arrangement in order for the JV to be considered a small business set aside?


    Answer

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    Reference: Article issued by the SBA Entitled “The All Small Mentor-Protégé Program; Joint Ventures in the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program” (https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/articles/All_Small_Mentor_Protege_Program_Joint_Venture_Final_508.pdf )

    Answer: As a Protégé in the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP), you are eligible to form a joint venture (JV) with your SBA-approved Mentor. The joint venture may compete for Federal contracts and subcontracts based on your size and status. For example, the joint venture can compete for a small business set-aside contract, if you are small for the contract and regardless of your Mentor’s size.

    The ASMPP allows any small business–not just an 8(a) participant–to be a protégé.  And like the 8(a) mentor-protégé program, the ASMPP regulations allow small protégés and large mentors to form joint ventures to pursue set-aside contracts.

    Background

    The All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP) was established in 2016 to extend SBA approved mentor-protégé relationships to every small business. This dynamic program seeks to develop strong protégé firms through mentor-provided business development assistance, and to help them successfully compete for government contracts. Rather than creating separate programs for each constituency (Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses, Women Owned Small Businesses, Historically Underutilized Business Zones) the SBA created one all-inclusive program. This new program was modeled after the successful SBA 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program

    As a Protégé in the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, you are eligible to form a joint venture (JV) with your SBA-approved Mentor. The joint venture may compete for Federal contracts and subcontracts based on your size and status. For example, the joint venture can compete for a small business set-aside contract, if you are small for the contract and regardless of your Mentor’s size. The joint venture could qualify for award of a HUBZone contract, if you are certified HUBZone firm.

    If you and your approved Mentor form a JV to compete for a Federal contract or subcontract, you should be aware of the following:

    1. The JV will only qualify for the contracting set-asides that you are eligible for. The JVs must be separately identified with its own name, DUNS number, and CAGE number in SAM.gov.

    2.  The entity “Type” in SAM.gov must be identified as a JV, with the individual JV partners listed.

    3.  All JV agreements must be in writing, and you must meet the program-specific requirements for the particular set-aside.

    4.  The Protégé must certify to SBA and the contracting officer that the JV complies with SBA requirements. SBA provides a template certificate.

    5.  The JV must satisfy the limitations on subcontracting that apply to the contract, and you must perform at least 40%of the total work performed by the JV partners. A legal entity JV may not have its own employees perform contracts. You must annually submit reports to SBA and your contracting agencies explaining how the performance of work requirements are being met for each contract performed.

    6.  SBA does not review or approve JV agreements prior to award for non-8(a) contracts. If the JV is seeking to win an 8(a) contract, SBA will follow the 8(a) program rules for reviewing and approving the JV agreement.

    7.  If your JV is selected for award and a size or status protest is filed against it, SBA will review the JV agreement to determine eligibility. You must allow SBA access to the JV’s files and records.

    Please contact your local area SBA office for additional information on the mentor-protege program.

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