Embracing the Power of SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program

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22 January 2021

At its core, the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Mentor-Protégé Program is a platform that connects experienced companies (“mentors”) with aspiring small businesses (“protégés”) to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships.

Through this collaboration, mentors provide guidance, support, and opportunities for protégés to develop their capabilities and navigate the intricacies of government contracting. There are currently more than 1,500 of these relationships across the United States.

The program sets the stage for an extraordinary journey of learning and collaboration. Mentors provide assistance with internal business management systems, marketing, strategic planning, and finances, and assist with federal contract bidding and acquisition processes.

By embracing the Mentor-Protégé Program, small businesses can break down silos, tap into additional resources, and foster a culture of collaboration and growth. The program encourages joint ventures, enabling protégés to pursue set-aside contracts tailored to specific small business categories.

Numerous small businesses have secured significant government contracts, while protégés have triumphed over obstacles with the help of their mentors. These stories exemplify the program’s ability to foster knowledge transfer. Below are two examples of the program in action:

  • OnFrontiers expert, Jerry Paulsen, founder of The Paulsen Group, built three small businesses with his mentor’s advice, unlocking new opportunities with the U.S. government and major corporations. Engaging with the SBA refined his marketing and connected him to relevant conferences and events. Today, he has 56 global employees, attributing 15-20% of revenue to SBA engagement.
  • Miguel Solórzano, an OnFrontiers expert in El Salvador, established a Cashew Nut Butter business with his SBA mentor’s support. The mentor assisted with revenue planning, production, cost itemization, and marketing. Miguel attributes an additional 35-40% of revenue to the SBA program.

To participate in the Mentor-Protégé Program, small businesses must meet the program’s eligibility criteria and complete the application process. This involves identifying a suitable mentor and submitting an application through certify.SBA.gov. Once approved, the mentor-protégé relationship can last up to six years, with annual evaluations to assess progress and benefits.

At its essence, the Mentor-Protégé Program embodies the power of collaboration and the spirit of entrepreneurship. It breaks down barriers, fosters partnerships, and propels small businesses towards uncharted horizons of success.

Could the Mentor-Protégé Program be the catalyst that propels your business forward?

Interested in learning more about the SBA’s Mentor-Protege program? Our experts can help.