Frequently Asked Questions

1. What firms are eligible to be mentor firms?

USAID's Mentor-Protégé Program is open to any USAID prime contractor (large or small) that demonstrates a commitment and capability to assist in the development of a small business protégé(s). Although mentors can be large or small businesses, we anticipate the majority of the mentors will be large businesses.

2. How does a firm become a mentor or a protégé?

USAID does not match firms. Potential Mentor and Protégé are responsible for finding their own counterparts. Mentors should look for potential Protégé firms that have the potential to serve as prime contractors or subcontractors on USAID procurements. Protégé firms should look for potential Mentor firms that have experience as prime contractors for USAID.

3. What does a firm gain from being a mentor in meeting its subcontracting obligations?

Mentor-Protégé arrangements are a good business decision for the mentor because they may develop appropriate skills sets that can be used to complement or diversify their company while competing for USAID contracts. A good mentor-protégé relationship builds a trust and loyalty between the mentor and protégé.

Before awarding a contract that requires a subcontracting plan, the existence of a mentor-protégé arrangement, and performance (if any) under an existing arrangement, may be considered by the Contracting Officer.

Mentor-protégé arrangements may provide the Government with greater assurance that a protégé subcontractor will be able to perform under the contract than a similarly situated non-protégé subcontractor.

4. If I currently participate in another Federal agency Mentor Protégé Program, can I use that agreement for the USAID Mentor Protégé Program?

The agreement submitted for approval by USAID must conform to the USAID mentor Protégé regulations and guidebook.

5. Are there any other benefits to being a mentor?

Yes. As stated above, the contracting officer may also include Mentor-Protégé agreements as an evaluation factor in the source selection criteria of an RFP, providing for additional consideration to those participating in the program.

USAID OSDBU has established a non-monetary award to be given annually to the mentor firm providing the most effective developmental assistance.

6. What types of firms are eligible to be protégé firms?

All firms that meet the definition of a small business concern (Ref: FAR 19.001) based on their primary NAICS code, are eligible to be protégé firms. This includes small businesses, including very small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, Veteran-Owned and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.

7. How does a firm apply to become a protégé?

The mentor and protégé jointly submit an agreement to the USAID OSDBU for review. The application is available on theUSAID/Mentor-Protégé web site.

8. What does a firm gain from being a protégé in competition for government contracts?

Protégés gain opportunities to seek and perform government and commercial contracts through the guidance and support of mentors that may not have been available to them without the mentor-protégé relationship. The developmental assistance provided to the protégé often is a part of a subcontracting effort to the mentor.

9. Are there any other benefits to being a protégé?

Protégés may receive technical, managerial, financial, or any other mutually agreed upon benefit from mentors in addition to the work that flows from a government or commercial contract through subcontracting or teaming arrangements. The assistance could result in significant small business development.

Last updated: October 16, 2013

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