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Mentor-Protégé Program

GSA’s Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to encourage and motivate GSA prime contractors to assist small businesses and enhance their capability of performing successfully on GSA contracts and subcontracts. The goal is to increase the overall number of small businesses receiving GSA prime contract and subcontract awards, resulting from mentorship and refined business practices.

The mentor firms also benefit from their collaboration with small businesses. The mentors receive exposure to new business ideas and technology, a higher profile within the GSA community, as well as the satisfaction of helping mentors to reach their subcontracting goals.

History and Success Stories

Since September 2009, the GSA Mentor-Protégé program has been helping connect prime contractors with small businesses. As with the other agencies’ mentor protégé programs, it is focused on small business growth and development and encouraging subcontractor partnering relationships. (Please note that GSA’s program differs from the Small Business Administration’s in several substantive ways. Review SBA’s program on their website to learn more.) GSA’s regulatory structure can be found in the General Services Administration Acquisition Manual.

The number of GSA-based Mentor-Protégé relationships continues to grow. On April 11, 2011, GSA held its first annual mentor-protégé award ceremony to recognize outstanding mentor-protégé relationships.

Mentor-protégé relationships are as varied as the companies themselves. Businesses that have taken part in the Mentor-Protégé program include: software, construction, consulting, facility maintenance, architecture, and professional services.  Review this list to learn more.

Who Is Eligible to Participate in the Mentor-Protégé Program

Mentor Eligibility: To be eligible to apply as a mentor, your firm must be a prime contractor on a GSA Schedule or GSA contracting vehicle, such as a BPA, IDIQ, or GWAC. If your business is large, that vehicle must include an approved subcontracting plan as required by Federal Acquisition Regulation 19.7. A small business prime contractor is NOT required to have an approved subcontracting plan in place to qualify as a mentor.

As a mentor, you must be able to guarantee that you can provide developmental assistance to enhance the capabilities of protégés to perform as

  • Contractors,
  • Subcontractors, and /or
  • Suppliers.

Protégé Eligibility: To be eligible for selection as a protégé, your small business can qualify by simply being a small business.  Small businesses in these categories also qualify:  

  • disadvantaged
  • women-owned 
  • HUBZone
  • veteran-owned
  • service-disabled veteran-owned

Your business must meet the definition of a small business concern outlined at Federal Acquisition Regulation 19.001. Per this regulation, it is the Small Business Administration that establishes small business size standards on an industry-by-industry basis. Refer to the Small Business Administration web site for more guidance on establishing whether your business qualifies as “small.” A protégé must be either a current subcontractor or a newly selected subcontractor for the prime contractor’s GSA contract.

Finding a Mentor or a Protégé

Small businesses can view the GSA Office of Small Business Utilization Subcontracting Directory or the GSA eLibrary to find potential mentors. (OSBU recommends attending the Mentor-Protégé training webinar to learn how to search for mentors more effectively. They may also find them at networking or professional events. Mentors are encouraged to select from a broad base of small business concerns, as described above.

Once a Mentor/Protégé connection is made, the relationship must be formalized and defined. This is a three-step process. First, the prospective mentor and protégé must team to create an application, in tandem with executing a needs assessment for the protégé firm. If, after submitting both documents to OSBU’s Mentor-Protégé manager they are accepted, the mentor-protégé team jointly drafts a Mentor Protégé Agreement Application. Details on this process and document can be found on the Mentor Protégé Agreement Application page.

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Mentor-Protege Program Assistance

Office of Small Business Utilization
1-855-OSBUGSA (672-8472)

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