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Part Number: 619

Department of State Acquisition Regulation

619.202-70 The Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program.

619.202-70 The Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program.

(a) Purpose. The Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to motivate and encourage firms to assist small businesses with business development, including small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The program is also designed to improve the performance of DOS contracts and subcontracts, foster the establishment of long-term business relationships between small businesses and prime contractors, and increase the overall number of small businesses that receive DOS contract and subcontract awards. The program is limited to non-commercial item acquisitions.

(b) Definitions. The definitions of small business (SB), HUBZone small business concern (HUBZone), small disadvantaged business (SDB), women-owned small business (WOSB), veteran-owned small business (VOSB), and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) are the same as found in FAR 2.101.

Mentor means a prime contractor that elects to promote and develop small business subcontractors by providing developmental assistance designed to enhance the business success of the protégé.

Protégé means a small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, veteran-owned small business, or service-disabled veteran-owned small business that is the recipient of developmental assistance pursuant to a mentor-protégé program.

(c) Non-affiliation. For purposes of the Small Business Act, a protégé firm is not considered an affiliate of a mentor firm solely because the protégé firm is receiving developmental assistance from the mentor firm under the program.

(d) General policy.

(1) Eligible business prime contractors not included on the “List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement and Nonprocurement Programs” that are approved as mentor firms may enter into agreements with eligible protégé.

(2) A firm's status as a protégé under a DOS contract shall not have an effect on the firm's ability to seek other prime contracts or subcontracts.

(e) Incentives for prime contractor participation.

(1) Under the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)(E)), DOS is authorized to provide appropriate incentives to encourage subcontracting opportunities for small businesses consistent with the efficient and economical performance of the contract. This authority is limited to negotiated acquisitions.

(2) 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 in:

(i) Evaluating the quality of a proposed subcontracting plan under FAR 19.704–5; and,

(ii) Assessing the prime contractor's compliance with the subcontracting plans submitted in previous contracts as a factor in determining contractor responsibility under FAR 19.705–5(a)(1).

(3) A non-monetary award may be presented annually (or as often as appropriate) to the mentoring firm providing the most effective developmental support of a protégé. The Mentor-Protégé Program Manager will recommend an award winner to the Operations Director, OSDBU.

(f) Measurement of program success. The success of the DOS Mentor-Protégé Program will be measured by:

(1) The increase in the number and dollar value of contracts awarded to protégé firms under DOS contracts from the date the protégé enters the program;

(2) The increase in the number and dollar value of contracts and subcontracts awarded to the protégé under other Federal agencies and commercial contracts; and,

(3) The developmental assistance provided by the mentor firm and the resulting increase in the technical, managerial, financial or other capabilities of the protégé firm, as reported by the protégé.

(g) Eligibility of mentor firms. A mentor firm:

(1) May be either a large or small business;

(2) Must be eligible for award of U.S. Government contracts;

(3) Must be able to provide developmental assistance that will enhance the ability of protégé to perform as subcontractors; and,

(4) Will be encouraged to enter into arrangements with protégé and firms with whom they have established business relationships.

(h) Eligibility of protégé firms.

(1) A protégé firm must be:

(i) A SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, or SDVOSB as those terms are defined in FAR 2.101;

(ii) Small in the NAICS code for the services or supplies to be provided by the protégé to the mentor; and,

(iii) Eligible for award of U.S. Government contracts.

(2) Except for SDB and HUBZone firms, a protégé firm may self-certify to a mentor firm that it meets the requirements set forth in paragraph (h)(1) of this subsection. Mentors may rely in good faith on written representations by potential protégé that they meet the specified eligibility requirements. SDB status eligibility and documentation requirements are determined by FAR 19.304. HUBZone status eligibility and documentation requirements are determined by FAR 19.1303.

(3) Protégé may have multiple mentors. protégé participating in mentor-protégé programs in addition to DOS's program should maintain a system for preparing separate reports of mentoring activity for each agency's program.

(i) Selection of protégé firms. (1) Mentor firms are solely responsible for selecting protégé firms. The mentor is encouraged to identify and select a broad base of protégé firms whose core competencies support DOS's mission.

(2) Mentors may have multiple protégé.

(3) The selection of protégé firms by mentor firms may not be protested, except that any protest regarding the size or eligibility status of an entity selected by a mentor shall be handled in accordance with FAR and SBA regulations.

(j) Application and agreement process for mentor-protégé teams to participate in the program.

(1) Firms interested in becoming a mentor firm shall apply in writing to OSDBU. The application (Form DS–4053, Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program Application), shall be evaluated by the nature and extent of technical and managerial support proposed as well as the extent of financial assistance in the form of equity investment, loans, joint-venture support, and traditional subcontracting support proposed.

(2) A proposed mentor shall submit the application form and associated information to OSDBU.

(k) OSDBU review of application.

(1) OSDBU shall review the information to ensure the mentor and protégé are eligible and the information provided is complete. OSDBU shall consult with the contracting officer on the adequacy of the proposed mentor-protégé arrangement, and its review shall be complete no later than 30 calendar days after receipt of the application by OSDBU.

(2) Upon completion of the review, OSDBU will advise the mentor if its application is acceptable. The mentor may then implement the developmental assistance program in accordance with the approved agreement.

(3) The agreement defines the relationship between the mentor and protégé firms only. The agreement itself does not create any privity of contract between the mentor or protégé and the DOS.

(l) Developmental assistance. The forms of developmental assistance a mentor can provide to a protégé include:

(1) Management guidance relating to:

(i) Financial management;

(ii) Organizational management;

(iii) Overall business management/planning;

(iv) Business development; and,

(v) Technical assistance.

(2) Loans;

(3) Rent-free use of facilities and/or equipment;

(4) Property;

(5) Temporary assignment of personnel to protégé for purpose of training; and,

(6) Any other types of permissible, mutually beneficial assistance.

(m) Obligation.

(1) A mentor or protégé firm may voluntarily withdraw from the program. However, in no event shall such withdrawal impact the program mission and contractual requirements under the prime contract.

(2) Mentor and protégé firms shall submit to OSDBU annual reports on program progress of the mentor-protégé agreements. Large business mentors may submit these reports as part of their SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB plan submission in accordance with the due date on the SF–295. DOS shall consider the following in evaluating these reports:

(i) Specific actions taken by the contractor, during the evaluation period, to increase the participation of protégés as suppliers to the U.S. Government and to commercial entities;

(ii) Specific actions taken by the mentor, during the evaluation period, to develop the technical and corporate administrative expertise of a protégé as defined in the agreement;

(iii) To what extent the protégé has met the developmental objectives in the agreement; and,

(iv) To what extent the mentor firm's participation in the Mentor-Protégé Program resulted in the protégé receiving contract(s) and subcontract(s) from private firms and agencies other than the DOS.

(3) The DOS OSDBU shall submit the annual reports to the cognizant contracting officer regarding participating prime contractor(s) performance in the program.

(4) Mentor and protégé firms shall submit an evaluation to the OSDBU at the conclusion of the mutually agreed upon program period, the conclusion of the contract, or the voluntary withdrawal by either party from the program, whichever comes first.

(n) Internal controls.

(1) OSDBU shall oversee the program and shall work with the cognizant contracting officer to achieve program objectives.

(2) DOS may rescind approval of an existing Mentor-Protégé agreement if it determines that such an action is in the Department's best interest. The rescission shall be in writing and sent to the mentor and protégé firms after approval by the OSDBU Operations Director. Rescission of an agreement does not change the terms of the subcontract between the mentor and the protégé or the prime contractor's obligations under its subcontracting plan.

(o) Solicitation provision and contract clause.

(1) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 652.219–72, Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program, in all unrestricted solicitations exceeding $650,000 ($1,500,000 for construction) that offer subcontracting opportunities.

(2) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at DOSAR 652.219–73, Mentor Requirements and Evaluation, in all contracts where the prime contractor has signed a Mentor-Protégé Agreement with the Department of State.