15 U.S. Code § 657r. Mentor-protege programs

(a) Administration program
(1) Authority

The Administrator is authorized to establish a mentor-protege program for all small business concerns.

(2) Model for program

The mentor-protege program established under paragraph (1) shall be identical to the mentor-protege program of the Administration for small business concerns that participate in the program under section 637(a) of this title (as in effect on January 2, 2013), except that the Administrator may modify the program to the extent necessary given the types of small business concerns included as proteges.

(3) Puerto Rico businessesDuring the period beginning on August 13, 2018, and ending on the date on which the Oversight Board established under section 2121 of title 48 terminates, the Administrator shall identify potential incentives to a covered mentor that awards a subcontract to its covered protege, including—
positive consideration in any past performance evaluation of the covered mentor; and
the application of costs incurred for providing training to such covered protege to the subcontracting plan (as required under paragraph (4) or (5) of section 637(d) of this title) of the covered mentor.
(b) Programs of other agencies
(1) Approval requiredExcept as provided in paragraph (4), a Federal department or agency may not carry out a mentor-protege program for small business concerns unless—
the head of the department or agency submits a plan to the Administrator for the program; and
the Administrator approves such plan.
(2) Basis for approvalThe Administrator shall approve or disapprove a plan submitted under paragraph (1) based on whether the program proposed—
will assist proteges to compete for Federal prime contracts and subcontracts; and
complies with the regulations issued under paragraph (3).
(3) RegulationsNot later than 270 days after January 2, 2013, the Administrator shall issue, subject to notice and comment, regulations with respect to mentor-protege programs, which shall ensure that such programs improve the ability of proteges to compete for Federal prime contracts and subcontracts and which shall address, at a minimum, the following:
Eligibility criteria for program participants, including any restrictions on the number of mentor-protege relationships permitted for each participant, except that such restrictions shall not apply to up to 2 mentor-protege relationships if such relationships are between a covered protege and covered mentor.
The types of developmental assistance to be provided by mentors, including how the assistance provided shall improve the competitive viability of the proteges.
Whether any developmental assistance provided by a mentor may affect the status of a program participant as a small business concern due to affiliation.
The length of mentor-protege relationships.
The effect of mentor-protege relationships on contracting.
Benefits that may accrue to a mentor as a result of program participation.
Reporting requirements during program participation.
Postparticipation reporting requirements.
The need for a mentor-protege pair, if accepted to participate as a pair in a mentor-protege program of any Federal department or agency, to be accepted to participate as a pair in all Federal mentor-protege programs.
(J) Actions to be taken to ensure benefits for proteges and to protect a protege against actions by a mentor that—
may adversely affect the protege’s status as a small business concern; or
provide disproportionate economic benefits to the mentor relative to those provided the protege.
The types of assistance provided by a mentor to assist with compliance with the requirements of contracting with the Federal Government after award of a contract or subcontract under this section.
(4) Limitation on applicabilityParagraph (1) does not apply to the following:
Any mentor-protege program of the Department of Defense.
Any mentoring assistance provided under a Small Business Innovation Research Program or a Small Business Technology Transfer Program.
Until the date that is 1 year after the date on which the Administrator issues regulations under paragraph (3), any Federal department or agency operating a mentor-protege program in effect on January 2, 2013.
(c) Reporting
(1) In generalNot later than 2 years after January 2, 2013, and annually thereafter, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate a report that—
identifies each Federal mentor-protege program;
(B) specifies the number of participants in each such program, including the number of participants that are—
small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; or
small business concerns owned and controlled by women;
describes the type of assistance provided to proteges under each such program;
describes the benefits provided to mentors under each such program; and
describes the progress of proteges under each such program with respect to competing for Federal prime contracts and subcontracts.
(2) Provision of information

The head of each Federal department or agency carrying out a mentor-protege program shall provide to the Administrator, on an annual basis, the information necessary for the Administrator to submit a report required under paragraph (1).

(d) DefinitionsIn this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) MentorThe term “mentor” means a for-profit business concern, of any size, that—
has the ability to assist and commits to assisting a protege to compete for Federal prime contracts and subcontracts; and
satisfies any other requirements imposed by the Administrator.
(2) Mentor-protege program

The term “mentor-protege program” means a program that pairs a mentor with a protege for the purpose of assisting the protege to compete for Federal prime contracts and subcontracts.

(3) ProtegeThe term “protege” means a small business concern that—
is eligible to enter into Federal prime contracts and subcontracts; and
satisfies any other requirements imposed by the Administrator.
(4) Covered mentor

The term “covered mentor” means a mentor that enters into an agreement under this chapter, or under any mentor-protege program approved under subsection (b)(1), with a covered protege.

(5) Covered protege

The term “covered protege” means a protege of a covered mentor that is a Puerto Rico business.

(e) Current mentor protege agreements

Mentors and proteges with approved agreement in a program operating pursuant to subsection (b)(4)(C) shall be permitted to continue their relationship according to the terms specified in their agreement until the expiration date specified in the agreement.

(f) Submission of agency plans

Agencies operating mentorprotege programs pursuant to subsection (b)(4)(C) shall submit the plans specified in subsection (b)(1)(A) to the Administrator within 6 months of the promulgation of rules required by subsection (b)(3). The Administrator shall provide initial comments on each plan within 60 days of receipt, and final approval or denial of each plan within 180 days after receipt.

(Pub. L. 85–536, § 2[45], as added Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title XVI, § 1641(2), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 2077; amended Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title XVIII, § 1813(e), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2653; Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title VIII, § 861(d), (e), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 1896, 1897.)
Prior Provisions

A prior section 2[45] of Pub. L. 85–536 was renumbered section 2[49] and is set out as a note under section 631 of this title.


2018—Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 115–232, § 861(d)(1), added par. (3).

Subsec. (b)(3)(A). Pub. L. 115–232, § 861(e), inserted “, except that such restrictions shall not apply to up to 2 mentor-protege relationships if such relationships are between a covered protege and covered mentor” after “each participant”.

Subsec. (d)(4), (5). Pub. L. 115–232, § 861(d)(2), added pars. (4) and (5).

2016—Subsec. (b)(3)(K). Pub. L. 114–328 added subpar. (K).