Comments Sought: Proposed Rule To Establish Government-Wide Mentor-Protégé Program

February 11, 2015

By Sean Milani-Nia

On February 5, 2015, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a new proposed rule that would establish a Government-wide mentor-protégé program for all small businesses.

Under the current framework, entities that enter into joint venture agreements to perform federal contracts are, in most instances, considered “affiliates.”  In determining a company’s eligibility to compete for set-aside procurements, the SBA combines the offeror’s size with the size of its affiliated entities. Thus, an otherwise eligible small business may be deemed large due to its affiliation with another entity.

An exception to this general rule exists for participants in the SBA’s 8(a) mentor-protégé program.  Under the 8(a) mentor-protégé program, an 8(a) protégé can joint venture with an approved large business mentor without being deemed affiliated.

The SBA’s proposed rule seeks to extend the mentor-protégé program to all small businesses. The intent is to create parallel program for non-8(a) small businesses, including participants in the HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Business, and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business programs, that is identical to the 8(a) mentor-protégé program. Under the proposed rule, any small business would be able to enter into an SBA approved mentor-protégé relationship and joint venture with its approved mentor without being considered affiliated.

Expanded Protégé Definition

Note that the proposed rule would allow more businesses to qualify as protégés under both the 8(a) mentor-protégé program and the proposed small business mentor-protégé program. Currently, in order to qualify as a protégé under the current 8(a) mentor-protégé program, an 8(a) contractor must (1) have a size that is less than half the size standard corresponding to its primary NAICS code; (2) be in the developmental stage of its 8(a) program participation; or (3) have not received an 8(a) contract.

The proposed rule provides that any firm that qualifies as a small business for the size standard corresponding to its primary NAICS code would qualify as a protégé under either the small business mentor-protégé program or the 8(a) mentor protégé program. SBA proposes to remove the requirement that the small business protégé have a size less than half the size standard corresponding to its primary NAICS code.

Ownership Interest

Similar to the 8(a) mentor-protégé program, the proposed rule provides that a mentor may own an equity interest of up to 40% in the protégé. This could be a significant opportunity for small businesses that are looking to increase working capital.

If finalized in the current form, the proposed rule would create significant opportunities for the participants in the new mentor-protégé program, but could place those small contractors that do not participate at a competitive disadvantage. Contractors who are interested in participating should begin evaluating potential partners and even structuring their agreements. The SBA has recognized that once the proposed rule is finalized, the number of firms seeking SBA approval of their mentor protégé agreements may become “unwieldy.” SBA states that it may institute certain open and closed periods for receipt of mentor-protégé applications. SBA would only accept mentor-protégé applications in open periods. Contractors should be prepared to submit their applications as soon as possible to avoid missing the first open period.

Comments on the proposed rule are due on April 6, 2015.  Send your comments prior to April 6 to Federal Allies Institute Comments@FederalAllies.org 571-217-0823.


Register for Washington Days Conference, May 6-7, 2013

April 1, 2013

By Ralph E. Winnie, Jr.

As a national non-profit dedicated to small business and federal acquisition best practices, Federal Allies Institute is proud to host its annual Washington Days Conference from May 6th-7th, 2013 in the heart of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Federal Allies recognizes that business development and relationship building go hand in hand, especially for small and medium size enterprises.  Washington Days Conference is your opportunity to develop and maintain close personal relationships with DoD, the Agencies and Congress.

On May 6th we will focus on the Business Development opportunities important to you, plus will provide registrants with a tool kit to effectively understand and navigate current and pending changes to Mentor Protégé programs resulting from the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013.  If you would like a plain English explanation about Mentor Protégé, from this nation’s top experts, then attend Washington Days Conference on May 6.  We’ve got it covered.

A wide spectrum of people from diverse socio and economic backgrounds help to shape the conference agenda to ensure the event highlights their business sectors and objectives.   The results?  “Many discussions will be tailor-made, one-on-one education planned, and match-making sessions where informal question and answer sessions will explain the intricacies of federal contracting,” said David T. Boddie, Executive Director, Federal Allies Institute.

On May 7th Federal Allies extends those relationship building opportunities to Capitol Hill to your members of Congress and their staffs and to relevant committees of both Senate and House that impact how you do business.

On May 7th Federal Allies once again “marches” on Capitol Hill and carries with it banners for continuous improvement to Mentor Protégé and the many other small business issues Federal Allies is known to represent and champion such as Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act.  This is an excellent opportunity for all involved, and for those who would like to learn how to conduct your own pro-business Congressional Office Visits, to walk with us and underscore the year round work accomplished by FAI’s highly effective Government Relations Program.   Previous advocacy work on the Hill and with the Agencies, represent our calling card, and is the foundation on which we can offer you opportunity to advance your legislative and rulemaking agenda.  FAI’s relationship building plan for freshmen Senators and House representatives of the 113th Congress is best voiced by U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (OK-2).  “Thank you for all the work that you do. As a businessman myself, I know the difficulties businesses are faced with over regulation from the state and federal government. I hope that you enjoy your time in Washington and look forward to seeing you,” said Congressman Markwayne Mullin, (OK -2).

 
That said, the goal is for every registrant to come away from Washington Days Conference 2013 with a keener perspective of the inter-relationship between government and business and with a foundation for growth and business development in this challenging economy.

Federal Allies will actively encourage all registrants at Washington Days Conference 2013 to
establish and build personal and professional relationships to ensure your success in the future.  If you have not already done so, register now to attend Washington Days Conference 2013 by visiting FederalAllies.org.  Should you have any questions, please call (571) 217-0823.


Government Connections Network: Washington Days Conference, May 6-7, 2013 in D.C.

March 24, 2013

Government Connections & Network

How to sell to the federal government, large and small businesses nationwide.

 May 6-7, 2013 Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024

 www.FederalAllies.org

 

The 4th National Small Business Conference known as Washington Days Conference is for Federal agencies, DoD, Corporations, Small Businesses.

Government, Corporations, Small Businesses & Mentor Protégé Programs

Featuring Federal Agencies Matchmaking, Mentor-Protégé, National Defense Authorization Act, and Vetted SME Expertise.
For all Small Businesses including 8(a), HUBZone, SDVOB, SDB, WOSB, DBE, & MBE.

U.S. Department Homeland Security, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lockheed Martin MST Undersea Systems, and more.

20 Matchmaking Table Discussions

Many Federal Agencies & DoD

 

The National Defense Authorization Act & Mentor Protégé

Emily Murphy, Senior Counsel, U.S. House Small Business Committee                                        

 

U.S. Small Business Administration & Mentor Protégé Changes

Calvin Jenkins, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting & Business Development, U.S. SBA

 

Lockheed Martin Mentor Protégé Program & Diversity Program

Robyn H. Snyder, Supplier Diversity Program Manager, Lockheed Martin MST Undersea Systems

 

Mentor Protégé Programs:  A Legal Perspective & Update

Ralph C. Thomas III, Barton Baker Thomas & Tolle, LLP

 

Federal Agency Mentor Protégé Programs Panel Discussion

Anthony “Tony” Eiland, Program Manager, U.S. General Services Administration Mentor Protégé Program

Kevin Boshears, Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, U.S. Department of Homeland Security


National Defense Authorization Act Expands Mentor-Protégé beyond the 8(a) Program

March 4, 2013

By Ralph E. Winnie, Jr., Federal Allies News National Correspondent

On January 3, 2013 President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA).  The NDAA provides the US Government with new authority to create a Mentor-Protégé Program targeting thousands of non-8(a) small businesses so they will be able to participate in programs based on the current framework which was limited to businesses that were already accepted into the 8(a) Program.

“Expanding the Mentor Protégé Program beyond the 8(a) Program establishes a new dynamic among small businesses and federal agencies. It is a real investment in the future growth and dependability of small businesses,” said Frank Clay, Jr., Chairman, Federal Allies Institute, and President, The ClayGroup, Olathe, Kansas.

This will mean that more small businesses, including member companies associated with Federal Allies, will be eligible to benefit from the skills, training, and capital of large business mentors while, at the same time, gaining access to prime government contracts that were previously unavailable under the old system. Given that the expansion of the Mentor-Protégé Program is not mandatory its implementation is less that certain.  However, Federal Allies will be monitoring the status of the affiliation rules and the impact on federal contractors over the coming months to gauge its impact on small businesses associated with Federal Allies and make necessary recommendations.

“The good news is the door is open to recognize partnerships with small business that can make a difference. It is not essential that a Mentor Protégé Program be mandatory… what is important is that an opportunity is not missed because a small business is not 8(a),” said Clay.

Although the Act does provide for increased transparency in the sphere of small business contracting, it does not include major incentives for contractors to meet those goals. Construction contracts will be treated separately as SBA is planning to issue additional regulations as specified in the NDAA and these regulations can be difficult to comprehend at times. While the earlier regulations address the “cost of the contract” the new rules discuss the amount to be paid to a small business contractor which is the price and not the cost.

Federal Allies is closely monitoring the changes the NDAA is mandating, that SBA makes to its Women Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, and the impact this will have on our member companies. Federal Allies will work aggressively to make sure that its women owned small business members will be armed with the requisite knowledge, resources and skills to be able to effectively participate in SBA’s  Women’s Federal Contract Program and compete for and win federal contracts.  Prior to the new law, the anticipated award of a contract for a women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned minority small business could not exceed 6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and 4 million for all other contracts. The new law now removes the thresholds and allows women-owned small businesses greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations or restrictions as to the value of a contract.

“This one change will allow these best women-owned companies to become better by going after larger contracts that can grow their businesses,” said Clay.

NDAA also requires SBA to conduct another study to identify and report industries underrepresented by women-owned small businesses. Federal Allies applauds the implementation of the NDAA and will closely follow the implementation of this legislation to help women-owned small businesses which are members of Federal Allies get more federal contracts and help the Federal Government meet and exceed its statutory five percent women’s contracting goals.

Finally, the NDAA requires the Small Business Administration to establish a reporting mechanism to allow subcontractors to report issues of bad faith or fraud on the part of prime contractors. As a service to its member companies, Federal Allies, over the next few months, will be closely monitoring how this system will be implemented and what penalties will be used to enforce compliance.  Despite lingering questions, these new rules may increase the amount of money that gets into the hands of small businesses nationwide and also lead to greater diligence in administering plans on the part of prime contractors.

“All small businesses should follow the roll out of programs stemming from this legislation. FAI will do its part to communicate the policy specifics that will enable small businesses to take advantage of these new changes,” said Clay.


Federal Allies News March 2013

March 3, 2013

Washington Days Conference May 6-7, 2013, Washington, D.C. – You Are Invited!

The basic two-day framework for the annual national Washington Days Conference includes one full- day of federal contractor small business development including general sessions, workshops, one-on-one matchmaking, and reception,  followed by a second full-day touting the FAI Legislative Program on Capitol Hill with presentations, Congressional office visits, and Congressional reception.

We invite small businesses from across America and we invite decision makers from the federal government.  Once registered, both groups are welcomed to recommend additional speakers or participants to the conference whether from a specific government agency or a specific small business NAICS code, respectively, so register early to have the greatest impact on the conference agenda – topics, government personnel, set-asides, primes, and NAICS codes.

Since the conference is all about maximizing your results that includes maintaining a low ratio of government to small business registrants – even limiting attendance by one group or the other – which in these days of massive for-profit national federal procurement conferences may be considered heresy– but as Federal Allies is set up as a true non-profit our number goal is your results and not to see how many tickets we can sell, so register early.

We make every effort to connect registrants prior to the conference to get the ball rolling.  And then continue to build relationships with you for one year following the conference via the Federal Allies Network, our federal contracting community.  Add to it a vast network of experienced federal contractor experts who volunteer to answer your questions or to help you make that needed connection, the Washington Days Conference is ideal for your small business.

And an ideal way for Federal Allies to promote important small business legislation and regulatory flexibility which we work at year round, such as the National Defense Authorization Act, which bundled many pieces of small business legislation that you should know about.  Washington Days Conference registration begins 12:00 p.m. (ET), Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

U.S. House Small Business Committee Update

Federal Allies attended the February 27, 2013 U.S. House Small Business Committee meeting chaired by U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, Missouri, where they worked on improving the overall efficacy of U.S. Small Business Administration programs and the potential effect of the Sequester on SBA programs to make capital available, provide advice, and increase utilization of small businesses as federal contractors.  Ultimately, selective reductions in the SBA budget must reduce federal spending without undermining assistance to America’s best job creators – small businesses.  What are your thoughts?

Chapter Expansion

Federal Allies continues to meet about small business issues and programming, and bringing Washington Days Conference to your state, commonwealth, or territory.  Our current collaboration in Oklahoma is a Mentor Protégé Roundtable set for the Oklahoma City Marriott.

For more information, visit FederalAllies.org today.


Federal Allies News February 2013

February 1, 2013

Impact Federal Mentor-Protégé Rulemaking – Come to Oklahoma!

Small Business recommendations are being sought on federal Mentor Protégé Rulemaking.  The Federal Allies Institute Oklahoma Chapter is collaborating with a number of entities such as Mid America Government Industry Coalition that will sponsor Region VI Roundtable on Mentor-Protégé Agreements conference March 26-28, 2013 at the Oklahoma City Marriott.  “Key to the Federal Allies Network and the basis of FAI as an organization is grassroots collaboration,” said Mickey Thompson, FAI Oklahoma Chapter Chairman.

Small business representatives from the federal government will review the current status of the mentor-protégé program and meet with small businesses to explain the benefits of the program. Plenary sessions will be conducted to discuss the upcoming rulemaking in order to get input on different approaches to expanding and strengthening the mentor-protégé programs. These recommendations are to be presented in concert with the FAI Oklahoma Chapter to the national Federal Allies Institute Board of Directors for consideration, prioritization and adoption by the entire FAI membership.

“We know that federal contracting has no borders and input is critical to impacting the upcoming rulemaking process for the Mentor-Protégé Program.  We intend to be heard before the rules are published,” said Kay Bills, President, Mid America Government Industry Coalition, Inc.

Mentor-Protégé issues are on the agenda of Washington Days Conference, May 6-7, 2013 in Washington, D.C. to be held near Capitol Hill and close to the headquarters of most federal agencies.  “In this instance, the Federal Allies Network is able to add value to the small business federal contracting community by convening and facilitating direct communications between business and government at the conference, but our Washington presence enables FAI to take it a step further by enabling continual communications and in-person interactions year round on behalf of our members” said, Frank Clay, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Federal Allies Institute.  For more information, visit FederalAllies.org

Use the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013 to Succeed in Federal Contracting

Why tackle contracting alone?  Federal Allies invites Small Business entrepreneurs to take advantage of its special breakfast series on boot-strapping Small Business.   The February 5 NDAA breakfast seminar is made possible by FAI and U.S. House Small Business Committee and features presentations by Corey E. Cooke, Associate Counsel, U.S. House Small Business Committee and FAI Chairman Frank Clay, Jr.  It will be held in Vienna, Virginia at the Hilton Garden Inn – Tyson’s Corner.  In 2012 the FAI Board of Directors voted in favor of the NDAA and developed a three point outreach program to highlight the Act.  For more information on NDAA and to attend the event, visit FederalAllies.org.

Meetings with Newly-Elected Members of the 113th U.S. Congress

In preparation for Washington Days Conference 2013, Federal Allies Government Relations Committee continues with introductory meetings on Capitol Hill started immediately following the last election.  Meetings in February will include newly-elected U.S. Representatives Jim Bridenstine, OK (D-1) and Markwayne Mullin, OK (D-2).

Federal Allies Asked to Join SBA Leadership Group

U.S. Small Business Administration Chief Counsel Dr. Winslow Sargeant has enlisted Federal Allies Institute to participate in SBA Office of Advocacy policy-related meetings to strengthen the voice of small business by leveraging FAI’s nationwide small business membership and the Federal Allies Network.   Dr. Winslow provided the key-note address to small business at Washington Days Conference 2012.

David T. Boddie

Executive Director

Federal Allies Institute


Federal Allies News December 2012

December 2, 2012

Annual Survey and Organizational Structure for 2013

The Annual Federal Allies Membership Survey is distributed.  If you did not receive your copy, contact us immediately.  Surveys must be returned by December 14, 2012 to Membership@FederalAllies.org.

In 2013 Federal Allies continues development of our Contractor Network, Corporate Relations, Editorial Content, Government Relations, Membership, Programming, Washington Days Conference (May), Federal Allies Golf Open (June), and existing Chapters and Chapter Establishment.   Over 100,000 people across the United States are readers of FederalAllies.org, the Web site of the Federal Allies Institute.

The Federal Allies value proposition for both entrepreneurs and federal workers continues.  Programs and benefits include Affinity Program, Business Development Seminars, Congressional Office Meetings, Contractor Network for individuals and groups, Corporate Ethics Certification, Federal Agency Meetings, Federal Allies News and Reports, Golf Tournament, Legislative Roundtables, Networking Receptions, National and Regional Events, Ombudsman Services, Regulatory Hearings, Veterans Advocacy and White House Meetings.

Your Ally for Doing Business with the Federal Government

Entering the world of federal government contracting can seem daunting.  There is an entire industry of processes, regulations, and language to learn.  The value of having a guide, a mentor-company to walk you through the learning process, a ready-made network in Washington, D.C. and introductions to establish personal relationships, is priceless.  At Federal Allies, this is precisely what we offer.

How to Use U.S. Government Mentor-Protégé Programs to Succeed in Federal Contracting.

As we close out a very productive year for Federal Allies, we invite you to have breakfast with our board of directors who will be in attendance at the December 12th Mentor-Protégé event at Tysons Corner, Virginia, part of a series on boot-strapping Small Business into profitable Federal and Military contracting using proven Government Mentor-Protégé programs.  Sponsored by Retirement Planners & Administrators, based in Falls Church, Virginia.  More information is published at FederalAllies.org.

2012 Federal Allies Membership Drive

We are thrilled with the participation and results achieved by 15 member volunteers during FAI’s first annual membership drive and total revenue campaign.   As the competition comes to a close, it is Federal Allies Institute’s Chairman of Corporate Relations, Rick Cutrera presently in the lead.   The No. 1 position has shifted each quarter among Gary Shumaker, C2 Consulting Group; Frank Clay, Jr., The ClayGroup, and Wayne Gatewood, USMC (Ret.), Quality Support Solutions.  Honorable mentions are Michael Matechak, Ardent MC; Marcus Stephens, Repax; and Patricia Driscoll, XcelHR, and Ralph E. Winnie, Jr., Eurasia Center.  Competition prizes to be awarded are from American Airlines, Golfsmith and restaurants, and all participants receive official FederalAllies.org coffee mugs produced by Classy Glass of Waynesville, NC.  The winner will be announced at the December 12 Board of Directors meeting to be held at Insperity offices in McLean, Virginia.

David T. Boddie

Executive Director, Federal Allies Institute